Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WWF Advert on Polar Bears

Two words:



When I lived in the UAE I saw a commercial talking about how the extinction of some tiger would happen in ten years. This was after the Internet came to the UAE so I got the website and visited and left a note. I complimented them on the use of that old and sure play — to claim a disastrous event is going to happen between five and ten years from now. Soon enough to lend urgency but distant enough people will forget to check on the accuracy of the predictions. I got a testy note back claiming X tigers were being killed/year and the population of tigers was 10X, I quite distinctly recall the "zinger" "You do the math".

One thing people learn if they keep with math & science long enough is that discovery lays in exploring assumptions. I did not take my correspondent's word on both tiger mortality & population. Not saying tiger populations are booming, but they are not extinct. Seems to me I have not heard of any tiger species going extinct lately and I have been away from the UAE for nearly 11 years now.

This polar bear ad the WWF put out is making the same play (the language is even more slimey than normal — most could be gone within our children's lifetimes). Now, it seems to me most reports on polar bear numbers is they are on the uptick: the Skeptics Society passes on a report that polar bear populations are 5x what they were in 1970 and the thought that warmer weather will most likely promote seal population growth. When your food availability increases your chance of survival increases.

Now, skimming this document, I see a lot of argument that the warming of the earth and disappearance of Arctic Ice will negatively affect the polar bears what I don't see is actual numbers (here is that advert again).

I keep coming back to this point: at what time in the past is the climate in its pristine state? It seems to me the answer to that question would probably be in the mid 1960s.