Archive for the ‘polar bears’ Category
The Italian newspaper La Stampa published an Alain Elkann Interview of Scott Armstrong on Sunday April 12 titled “J. Scott Armstrong: “Vi spiego perché le previsioni sul clima sono sbagliate”” here. Alain was particularly interested to know about the subject of theclimatebet.com: Professor Armstrong’s challenge to Al Gore to bet that temperatures will increase dangerously, as Mr Gore has threatened will happen.
Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the Challenge, but for those of you who are not, or who are interested to read a fresh summary of what scientific forecasting tells us about 21st Century temperatures, you can find the full interview in English on Alain Elkann’s own site here. For those of you who have friends who are struggling to make sense of the dangerous manmade global warming alarm, the interview is a good place to start.
In an article titled “Healthy polar bear count confounds doomsayers,” Paul Waldie in The Globe and Mail reported on 4 April…
“The number of bears along the western shore of Hudson Bay, believed to be among the most threatened bear subpopulations, stands at 1,013 and could be even higher, according to the results of an aerial survey released Wednesday by the Government of Nunavut. That’s 66 per cent higher than estimates by other researchers who forecasted the numbers would fall to as low as 610 because of warming temperatures that melt ice faster and ruin bears’ ability to hunt. The Hudson Bay region, which straddles Nunavut and Manitoba, is critical because it’s considered a bellwether for how polar bears are doing elsewhere in the Arctic.”
This report will come as no surprise to followers of theclimatebet.com, where we prefer scientific forecasting to politically motivated alarmism. For a recap on scientific forecasting’s contribution to the polar bear population question, Scott Armstrong’s letter 2008 to Senator Barbara Boxer, who chaired a hearing on the issue, is here.
The 2008 paper on polar bear population forecasting, by Scott Armstrong, Kesten Green, and Willie Soon, is available here.
To see the rest of Paul Waldie’s report on the happy state of the polar bear population in 2012, see here.
The Polar Bear Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has reported that there was no change in the polar bear population in the most recent four-year period studied.
The finding is consistent with the conclusion of a 2008 paper by Scott Armstrong, Kesten Green, and Willie Soon (“Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public-Policy Forecasting Audit”) that “the inconsistent long-term trends in the polar bear population suggest that it is best to assume no trend in the long-term.”
The polar bear population finding contrasts with Senator Boxer’s hearings in January 2008 in which she expressed the view that the number of polar bears would decline rapidly. Professor Armstrong offered to bet her that the number of polar bears would not decline, but she did not respond to the challenge.
The Polar Bear group’s report can be found here.
The Armstrong, Green, and Soon paper on polar bear population forecasts can be found here.
In his talk on March 9, 2009 at the International Climate Change Conference in New York City, Wharton Professor J. Scott Armstrong will announce the launch of a prediction market on the outcome of the „Climate Bet‟ he proposed to Mr. Gore in 2007. Prediction markets are a structured scientific approach to eliciting and summarizing peoples‟ opinions. The Climate Bet prediction market is part of a project led by Andreas Graefe, a researcher at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany, to examine the use of prediction markets for controversial public policy issues. Are prediction markets useful in aiding the democratic process? Read the rest of this entry »
Secretary of the Interior ignores scientific evidence on forecasting, instead favoring experts' opinions to list thriving polar bear population as threatened
Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced on May 14, 2008 that he is accepting the recommendation of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The listing is based on the best available science, which shows that loss of sea ice threatens and will likely continue to threaten polar bear habitat. This loss of habitat puts polar bears at risk of becoming endangered in the foreseeable futures”. See the U.S. Department of the Interior website for the full announcement.
This extraordinary announcement is at odds with evidence that the polar bear population is currently thriving, and is based on false assumptions and unscientific forecasting procedures. The forthcoming Interfaces paper by Armstrong, Green, and Soon, provides evidence that the “best available science” does not support a listing.
Michael Goldfarb’s article “The Polar Bears Are All Right” in the Weekly Standard questions the current push to have polar bears listed as a “threated species” as a policy implemented under climate change. Below is an excerpt, full text available.
Polar bears, on the other hand, are expected to see few benefits, even if the threat they face from warming is a matter of dispute. Lindzen flatly describes worry over polar bears as “gibberish.” “Polar bears are going up in number,” he says. “They’re not worried; they can swim a hundred kilometers.” The notion of threatened polar bear populations was recently challenged by J. Scott Armstrong, a professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. In an article for the journal Interfaces, Armstrong and his coauthors argued that a series of complex and “erroneous assumptions” undergird much of the research showing polar bears at risk, and they offer compelling evidence that the animals have survived far warmer conditions in the past.
Still there is a push to have the polar bear officially listed as a “threatened species.” Hugh Hewitt, who practices natural resources law in addition to hosting a radio show, explained in a recent column that the move would clear a path for environmentalists to “argue that every federal permit that allows directly or indirectly for increased emissions of hydrocarbons is a federal act that might impact the polar bear.” Such permits would thus be subject to a new range of environmental regulations affecting all manner of industry.
The U. S. government commissioned studies to support the listing of polar bears as a threatened or endangered species. Polar bear numbers are currently high and the population has been increasing rapidly in recent decades. Everyone likes polar bears, so this is good news. A decision to list would require forecasts that the current upward population trend will reverse. The government studies concluded that polar bear populations would decrease substantially.
Decision makers and the public should expect people who make forecasts to be familiar with the scientific principles of forecasting just as a patient expects his physician to be familiar with the procedures dictated by medical science. Three scientists, J. Scott Armstrong of the University of Pennsylvania, Kesten Green of the University of South Australia, and Willie Soon of The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, audited the government studies to assess whether they were consistent with forecasting principles. Their paper, “Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public-Policy Forecasting Audit,” has been accepted for publication in the management science journal Interfaces. It is the only peer-reviewed paper on polar bear population forecasting that has been accepted for publication in an academic journal.
They concluded that the government forecasts were based on false assumptions and their polar bear population forecasts contravened many principles for scientific forecasting. Indeed, the reports followed fewer than one-sixth of the relevant principles. Given the importance of the forecasts, all principles should be properly applied. In short, the government reports do not provide relevant information for this decision.
Research shows that for issues such as the population of polar bears—situations that are complex and where there is much uncertainty—the best forecast is that things will follow a “random walk;” in effect, this model states that the most recent value is the best forecast for all periods in the future. Because the polar bear population has been increasing over recent decades, however, a continuation of that trend over the short term is possible.
Copies of Armstrong, Green and Soon’s forthcoming paper are available at http://publicpolicyforecasting.com.
Below are excerpts from the Q&A session between Armstrong and Senator Boxer. Full Text of Examining Threats and Protections For the Polar Bear.
Senator Boxer. Now, Dr. Scott, you are a Ph.D. in what? Dr. Armstrong.
Mr. Armstrong. I went to MIT, so I basically had three areas, one was economics, the other was social psychology and the other was marketing.
Senator Boxer. Economics, social psychology and marketing. Are you a biologist?
Mr. Armstrong. No.
Yes, Virginia, there is a polar bear
Friday, February 01
Every eight-year-old knows the polar bears are drowning. “I feel sad for them,” said one friend’s kid the other day as he bundled up for school. Maybe he’d seen those TV ads featuring adorable baby bears with voiceovers by appealing children. “The ice is melting because of global warming,” lisps a little girl over pictures of polar bears apparently swimming for their lives. “Baby bears have died. Please help them.”
No one wants the polar bears to die. Obviously the grownups should do something – and so they are. A host of scientists, environmentalists, legislators and worried citizens is pressuring the U.S. government to add polar bears to the list of endangered species. A decision is expected soon, and they’ve got an impressive array of studies to back them up. One study forecasts that the melting of the Arctic sea ice could kill off two-thirds of the polar bear population by 2050 by destroying their habitat.