Climate Expert: Kyoto Would Save Only One Polar Bear a Year

     Want to save the polar bear? According to one expert, don’t think you’re going to do it by making significant lifestyle changes in order to reduce your carbon footprint.

     In May, the Interior Department listed the polar on its threatened species list because of the risks of shrinking sea ice. But Bjørn Lomborg, a Danish author and professor at the Copenhagen Business School, told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on June 25 that the threat is exaggerated and wouldn’t go away even if every country in the world signed and followed the Kyoto Protocol.

     Lomborg, author of “Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming,” explained during the speech in Washington, D.C., how inefficient and ineffective it would be to try to improve the polar bear population via massively curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

     “The polar bear has become the icon of global warming and certainly [former Vice President] Al Gore was a part of doing that,” Lomborg said. “A lot of people think polar bears are threatened right now – actually that’s not the case.”

     According to Lomborg, global polar bear population was about 5,000 in 1960. Since then, the population has quadrupled. Now there are an estimated 22,000 polar bears. But, Lomborg warned the polar bear still eventually could be threatened by the effects of global warming.   

     “My point is simply: if we actually care about the polar bear, why is that we are so intent on only discussing one option – that is cutting carbon emissions?” Lomborg said. “Nobody ever talks about what would be the effect of cutting carbon emissions. Well, let me show you – if everybody did the Kyoto Protocol all the way through the century, which is very, very far away, but if everybody actually did that, we’d save one polar bear every year.”

      Lomborg said he was all for saving that one polar bear a year, but questioned the costs. He estimated the worldwide annual cost of the Kyoto Protocol to be $180 billion. Kyoto is a treaty supported by Gore and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He proposed a simpler solution:

     “It strikes me as odd, that in this conversation, nobody seems to mention the fact that every year, we shoot somewhere between 300 and 500 polar bear,” Lomborg said. “Wouldn’t it be smarter to first stop shooting the polar bear?”

     “Why is it we care about polar bears in the least effective way and the most costly way, rather than dealing with the issue where we would do a lot of good?” Lomborg added.

Related Links:

Polar Bear Scare Could Maul Energy Production

Washington Post Enlists Kids in Fight for Polar Bears

Time Magazine's Polar Bear Paradox: Curbing Global Warming ... To Hunt Polar Bears