No bears for oil

“Why hasn’t the polar bear been granted federal protection? Maybe because the Bush administration plans a last-minute handout of oil leases on its habitat.” No Bears for Oil. By Katharine Mieszkowski. Salon Magazine (may require a subscription to read the full article on-line).

In a related matter, there has been some loss of interest by the oil companies in drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge despite 25 years of trying to get in. Drilling in that country requires frozen ground (permafrost in the summer under the couple feet of melted surface soil). With the rapid warming of the Arctic, the area is turning into a swamp/marsh for a large part of the year.




  1. Matt Avatar

    Ralph, I was interested in your comment on melting permafrost. I did a quick search and found an old (2004) but very informative article from the BBC:

  2. Monte Avatar

    What would make you global warming alarmists happy? An ice sheet covering Canada?

  3. kim kaiser Avatar

    i watched some of the hearing on cspan, what was interesting to me was how few commitee members were present, there was the commitee head, markey and a guy from washington state, that was it, seemed it and the oil lease situation doesnt get much ear, just a few token senators to hear the people speak, heck, its no wonder theres no action, theres no one there to hear it,,

  4. SmokyMtMan Avatar


    Every day I pray the Republican Party continues to ridicule climate change as you are doing. They are staking their very reputation upon this issue (what is left of it, anyway).

    As climate change increases in the future, and if it becomes undeniable and a fact in American’s minds, the Republican Party will be seen as the party that lacks the ability to prepare the U.S. for the future.

    If they are wrong on this issue, it will further shred their perceived ability to lead this country into the future. In other words, it will reinforce everyone’s opinion that they are out of touch with reality.

    Most of us know this to be true already, but the rest of America will catch up soon.

    And climate change will be the last nail in the Republican coffin.

    So, please, keep denying it, and keep denying it very loudly.

    On climate change, who is right in the end will determine which Party is the future, and which is the past.

  5. Matt Avatar

    It does seem that Republicans in general are out of touch with the climate change issue. Much of it seems to me to be related to an issue Ralph has discussed on this blog in the past – cultural resent. They seem to be denying the issue to a great extent because it is closely associated with environmentalist causes. To what extent human-caused emissions complicate climate change can certainly be debated. The fact that the earth is currently warming cannot be debated, as it is fact. There are too many things at stake outside of environmental change to ignore this issue. What happens when sea levels inundate major coastal cities like New York? Or when climate change prevents crop production in the Midwest due to drought?? We can debate the causes of climate change for generations, but one thing we can all work towards together is becoming better prepared for the consequences.

  6. jb Avatar

    “What would make you global warming alarmists happy? An ice sheet covering Canada?”

    I can’t answer for anyone else, but as to what would make me happy, for starts, would be a decrease in the political meddling with science and a stop to the administration’s use of “gray literature” reports (usually funded by oil & gas interests) that haven’t been rigorously peer-reviewed. At least then we could have a national debate with the best available information in hand, instead of all of this talk about global warming being a myth. If you don’t believe the globe is warming you’re letting your politics influence your ability to reason.

  7. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    One of the problems we face with listing the polar bear is that most North American bears are under Canadian jurisdiction, and given the opposition of northern Canadian First Nations to listing, it is highly unlikely that the Canadian governmenbt s will go along. This means that even if the United States lists the bear, bears will still be hunted in Canada, although trophies cannot be exported to the U.S.

  8. Matt Avatar


    Excellent point! Science, not politics, needs to guide us through this problem to its solutions.

  9. JB Avatar

    Not sure if anyone is still reading this post, but for those global warming skeptics, I was recently made aware of an excellent citation (circa 1970):

    “The most likely way the climate could be influenced by either natural or artificial means seems to be through a trigger mechanism that ultimately changes the radiation balance … the burning of fossil fuels would presumably lead to more absorption of long-wave terrestrial radiation in theatmosphere and consequently to greater heating.”

    Abraham Oort. (1970) “The Energy Cycle of the Earth,” Scientific American, September.

  10. Matt Avatar

    Thanks for the 1970 citation. The environmental science professors at Virginia Tech were talking quite a bit about the dynamics of global warming when I was an undergraduate there in the mid-90’s. This certainly is not a new subject, and us “alarmists” have been ringing the bell for LONG time.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan