SCIENCE of
CLIMATE CHANGE

International Journal of Science and Philosophy

The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened

Author

  • Susan J. Crockford

Susan Crockford came from Canada to speak about The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened at the Oslo conference in 2019.

Since the start of this century, polar bears have been an icon for all that’s worrisome about human caused global warming. Polar bears are the most-used example to try and convince the public that burning fossil fuels already has had – and will continue to have – a harmful effect on the planet. As we are told the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, the polar bear is often called the ‘canary in the coal mine’ for climate change (Linden 2000; Richardson 2020; Siegle 2018).

Polar bears have gone from being threatened with (or ‘vulnerable to’) extinction by overhunting in 1973, saved in 1996, and threatened by climate change in 2006. The scientists who make up the Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) were pivotal to these conservation decisions (Crockford 2017, 2019).