The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published this Monday a report that warns how if climate change does not get the attention that needs, the polar bear population in the Arctic will disappear in the next years.
Investigations from recent years have shown how the Arctic zone of the Earth is the most affected by climate variations, as is the area that is warming the most. This area is the habitat for polar bear populations, meaning that deterioration of the polar ice caps has repercussions directly with the species’ life expectations.
The Fish and Wildlife Service stated that the decline of sea ice is a threat to the polar bear’s habitat and therefore its conservation. The federal office issued that the international community must address the Arctic warming urgently by reducing the human emission of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere.
The report came along with the Conservation Management Plan (CMP), that is oriented toward a more efficient action regime regarding the climate change in the Arctic zone.
“It (the CMP) calls for reducing human-bear conflicts, collaboratively managing subsistence harvest, protecting denning habitat, and minimizing the risk of contamination from oil spills. Most of these actions are already underway, in partnership with Alaska Native communities, nonprofit groups, and industry representatives who participated in the plan’s creation,” Andre Medeiros wrote in the official press release from the Fish and Wildlife Service.
This plan also contemplates an exhaustive monitoring that hopes to define if the actions that would be taken are being efficient, and if not, to redetermine the plan’s guidelines.
As this federal agency does not possess any jurisdiction regarding energy policies, the plan limits itself in less fundamental conflicts like overhunting of the species, the problems between the bear’s populations and humans, the dangers of the oil spills and the several diseases the species suffer because of marine changing conditions.
President-Elect Donald Trump and his concerns about global warming
The next President of the U.S., the Republican Donald Trump, has said that he isn’t sure about the veracity of climate change itself. He even published a tweet back in 2012, saying that the global warming was a concept made by the Chinese that hoped to make the United States less competitive in the manufacturer field.
Later, when he was campaigning for becoming President, he said that it could be a possible relation between human action and the climate changes reported by the scientific community through years. The current climate change connection with human activities is supported by 95 percent of recent scientific findings worldwide.
Trump has stated that his Administration will review the existing treaties regarding this issue and then decide if the U.S. will continue to them. Last year, President Obama, along with other 190 governments across the world, signed a treaty in Paris that hoped to address the climate change problem, while Trump has said that the U.S. will probably back out from it when he enters the White House.
Currently, the actions that include the conservation of the polar bear’s population in the Arctic would cost the U.S. about $13 million a year, and the Republican Congress is likely to disagree as the Republican Party has shown its disconformity with the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
In the ESA, issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service back in 2008, the polar bear’s population was considered as one of the most threatened species.
The polar bear’s population is higher, but so is its risk of disappearing
Distinct scientific reports show that the amount of polar bears in the world is greater when comparing with 1980 ciphers. Currently, there are about 25,000 to 31,000 polar bears worldwide, when adding up all populations. There is also a subpopulation in Alaska that has 3,000 bears.
However, according to recent investigations, the risk for these populations and subpopulations to disappear is higher every year, as 80 percent of polar bears face the possible collapse of their habitats. A report from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows how rising air temperatures affect mostly the Arctic area that causes the melting of the vital sea ice.
According to Shaye Wolf, climate science director for the Center for Biological Diversity, the plan presented by the Fish and Wildlife Service is toothless without governments internationally taken more seriously the global climate issue.
“This recovery plan is too risky for the polar bear. Recovery plans work, but only if they truly address the threats to the species,” she said. “Sadly, that simply isn’t the case with this polar bear plan.”
The U.S. Geological Survey research ecologist, Michael Runge, said that it would take an enormous indifference by the international community in order to this plan to have no effect. He stated that only with the absence of international action the polar bear’s population face danger.
Runge stated that if countries across the world commit to reducing greenhouse gasses, not even Trump’s refusal of working to fight climate change will be enough for the species populations to disappear.
Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service