Washington’s U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee has become a leading champion of polar bears endangered by global warming.
Inslee issued a statement calling them "the canary in the coal mine" today after new scientific studies (news article) said polar bears are more imperiled than previously thought.
The new reports say Arctic ice is melting faster than earlier predictions, and 40 percent of the summer ice could disappear by 2050. Some scientists think the summer ice could disappear completely as soon as 2030.
Inslee is leading an effort to have the polar bear listed under the Endangered Species Act (Inslee letter here).
The sad part is that even if greenhouse gas emissions were drastically curbed now, the polar bears will still be threatened.
But the forecasts for the bear over the next 50 years could play out, regardless of emission regulations, scientists said today.
“The reality is at least in the short term, the energy that is in the system will stay in the system,” USGS director Mark Myers said. “Certainly within that 45-year period we’re looking at a continuation no matter what we do with greenhouse gases.”