The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Dan Carlson
Columnist Prairie Ponderings 

The Climate Fiasco - Part 2


As I said last week, I won’t dispute the global temperature has increased slightly in recent years. The climate has always changed and always will be. What is disputed by many atmospheric scientists shut out of the conversation by media is how much of a role human activity plays in global temperature change. In spite of this, we’re told sweeping overhauls of economic, government and social institutions are immediately required to avoid catastrophe.

To promote this view, emotions are played upon. When National Geographic released a video of a starving polar bear it declared, “This is what climate change looks like.” The video got more than 2.6 million views. Despite the videographer stating she could not directly attribute that bear’s condition to climate change, the narrative was set. Never mind other causes such as old age or illness were far more likely. Polar bears are cute and the climate change movement had their symbol. Therein lies a dirty secret. The climate change movement is all about symbolism and emotion.

Images of lone polar bears alone on floating chunks of ice have been used to raise money to stop climate change. Because the creatures live on polar ice, increased summer melting of the icecap would doom the species to extinction by drowning and habitat elimination – or so we were told. Huge sums of money rolled in to climate activist groups to “save the polar bears” because good-hearted people were duped.

You see, polar bears are excellent swimmers and can swim incredible distances. The Canadian Journal of Zoology published a study on polar bears from data collected between 2004 and 2009. By using tracking collars it found polar bears can swim more than 100 miles across open water. One bear was tracked swimming nearly 220 miles. Polar bears have a subcutaneous layer of blubber-like fat that makes them buoyant, and the natural buoyancy means less energy is needed to swim. It would be unlikely for polar bears to drown.

Alarm was raised about melting icecaps damaging the polar ecosystem and eliminating wildlife food sources. Wrong. We now know that less ice in Arctic summers has resulted in dramatic increases in plankton and phytoplankton, the base-level food sources for most marine life, due to photosynthesis. Fish and whales eat the plankton, seals eat the fish and polar bears eat the whales and seals. Even the “State of the Polar Bear Report 2020,” published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation concedes that the narrative about polar bear populations declining due to reduced sea ice is not supported population surveys and scientific literature. Today’s estimated polar bear population of 30,000 has recovered nicely from a low of 5,000 – 10,000 between 2005 and 2010.

You’ll find activist organizations are swift to say, “follow the science,” but don’t themselves when it conflicts with a narrative. Melting polar ice won’t flood the coasts. It melts every summer with no real impact on sea levels. Why? Because the northern ice cap has no land mass beneath it.

Do this science experiment with your kids. Fill a glass with ice and add a favorite beverage. Let it sit so the ice melts completely. Did the glass overflow? Nope. Get the idea?

Look. No one wants to pollute the earth. If we can develop energy alternatives to fossil fuel, great. But do so with careful, reasoned approaches and switch from fossil fuels when and only when alternatives are just as reliable. There’s no climate crisis, no tipping point and no cause for alarm compelling radical short-term action that could have dire long-term consequences.


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