Saturday, April 7, 2012

Contract with the Earth 7

I have two items for my write-up today on A Contract with the Earth, by Newt Gingrich and Terry Maple.

1. On pages 54-55, Newt and Maple talk about the decline in the polar bear population. In the process, they dispute what they consider to be alarmism about global warming. Here are some lines:

"A 21 percent drop in the polar bear population was recorded in Canada from 1997 to 2004 in part due to weight loss in females and concomitant changes in reproductive rates and cub mortality."

"Many environmental groups that have pushed for an endangered species listing promote doomsday scenarios, when, in fact, no one can accurately predict the fate of polar bears----or any other species."

"It isn't necessary to link the receding ice to human activity to conclude that polar bears are in trouble if the ice disappears. We know that, in some locations, ice is receding; the facts are in, and no one disputes the phenomenon. However, whether this trend is precipitous or gradual, the time remaining to correct the problem is surely debatable."

I'm not sure what the point is, here. As we saw yesterday, Newt and Maple tout a certain form of ethanol because it can reduce CO2 emissions. Why do that, if humans do not cause at least part of the global warming, which is melting the ice on which polar bears depend?

2. Something that I appreciated about my latest reading of this book is that Newt and Maple talk about the advancements that have been made in terms of the environment. More people are recycling. Fishing is increasingly being done in a manner that does not threaten the survival of whales. I think it's important to highlight that not everything about the environment is about doom-and-gloom, as much as doomsday scenarios may have to contribute to the debate.

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