As a retired polar bear biologist, I disagree with Gov. Palin, who says the threatened listing was based on highly speculative and uncertain climate and ice modeling. The listing was based on conservative sea ice loss projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world leader in analyzing and reporting on global warming. Nearly all climate, ice and polar bear experts along with Palin's own director of the Fish and Game marine mammal program and two state biologists with Arctic and marine mammal experience agree that a threatened listing is justified.
Palin has downplayed the significance of humans causing global warming, in contrast to the IPCC, which concluded that odds were better than 90 percent that humans caused the current warming.
She states that Alaska's Beaufort Sea polar bear population is stable. Animal condition and cub recruitment are declining as sea ice decreases. Other signs of instability include a shift toward land-based denning, abandonment of areas with high rates of ice degradation, and starved and cannibalized bears. Polar bear scientists agree that the Beaufort Sea population is not doing well.
-- Jack Lentfer