Starving polar bears from Canada to Norway will be happy to know that they are not, in fact, being affected by climate change. According to Fox News, “there’s no question that the polar bear is thriving.”
On Friday, the President of the Pacific Legal Foundation, Rob Rivett, claimed that polar bears are “thriving” and that their threatened status is only a problem for the fossil fuel industry, Think Progress reports.
In a Fox & Friends interview, above a banner reading “Endangered Economics,” Rivett said the “real concern” is that the bears were listed as threatened based on “very questionable computer modeling” showing a projected loss of sea ice habitat. And “the real problem” is that listing the species as threatened is bad for the oil and gas industry because “all the activity that goes into causing an impact on the species can be regulated.”
“Here, the argument is that CO2 emissions from industry is causing global warming,” Rivett said. By listing the species as threatened, industry will be made more expensive through regulation and jobs will be lost, according to Rivett and Fox.
The Pacific Legal Foundation is a California-based legal organization established to support pro-business causes. Billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife funded the initial business and the organization has been funded by numerous corporations and conservative foundations including the Koch Brothers, ExxonMobil, and Philip Morris.
According to the Pacific Legal Foundation’s website, the polar bear’s current population is five times as large as 50 years ago, the species is “healthy,” and its listing is “unjustified.” The company recently petitioned the US Supreme Court to hear their challenge to the listing of the polar bear as threatened.
Just last week, a Guardian report, featuring renowned bear expert Dr. Ian Stirling, discussed evidence of polar bear starvation deaths due to sea ice melt. 2012 saw the lowest amount of sea ice ever recorded, and, because polar bears feed almost exclusively on seals, which live on sea ice, bears are having to travel farther in attempt to reach food.
In March, the Journal of Animal Ecology released a report on the effect of melting sea ice on bears in Canada. That report also found that changes in the sea ice are forcing polar bears to spend more time on land where they have to go longer without eating.