The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
The real threat isn't a changing climate upsetting the foundation of human civilization. The real threat is polar bears: At least that's the real threat according to many attendees at the recent Heartland Institute conference on global warming. And let's not forget, as physicist and noted contrarian S. Fred Singer told the conference: "Polar bears like to eat tiny little seal pups." In fact, the only animal that came in for more frequent condemnation was Al Gore. Lurking behind the polar bear, of course, is that most nefarious foe: government bureaucrats. And they are what really drives contrarians like Singer in their anti-climate change crusade. It's not necessarily a passionate belief that global warming isn't happening but a passionate belief in the fact that no government (or, at least, less government) is good government. The present administration seems to share this belief, running afoul of the law while trying to run out the clock on a pending decision as to whether the polar bear should be listed as an endangered species or not. The government has missed two deadlines, including one during the Heartland conference itself, to make a decision. In many ways, as the Washington Post reported this weekend, the current government is opposed to endangered species, for example shifting the definition of a species' range from where a given animal or plant has historically been found to the far more restricted areas in which it presently exists. The polar bear is threatened by climate change, according to the U.S. Geological Survey if not yet the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. And the climate contrarian is threatened by those agencies scientists and bureaucrats--and Al Gore. -- Edited by dbiello at 03/24/2008 12:44 PM -- Edited by dbiello at 03/24/2008 1:33 PM