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Scientific Abomination: The “Circumpolar Monitoring Framework For Polar Bears”

Susan Crockford, Pola Bear Science

I keep coming across mentions of a grandiose plan for future polar bear research and conservation called the “Circumpolar Monitoring Framework for Polar Bears.”

This “framework” plan was referred to extensively at the recentInternational Polar Bear Forum (aka the “Meeting of the Parties” that signed the 1973 conservation treaty) held in Moscow, December 3-6, 2013 (see posts about the meeting herehere, and here). In fact, government representatives of all Arctic nations present at that meetingagreed in principle to support the proposed plan.

No media reports that I’ve come across after the Moscow polar bear meeting explained what the “monitoring framework” involved, so I’ve composed a brief summary and commentary, aided by some images from Dag Vongraven’s presentation in Moscow (Vongraven 2013; pdfhere).

In short, Arctic government representatives at the Moscow forum agreed that all future polar bear research should be constrained by the premise that increases in global temperatures over the next century will occur exactly as predicted by climate models and willnegatively affect polar bears precisely as predicted by models devised by polar bear biologists. Under the plan, subpopulations that are already showing predicted effects of global warming will get the bulk of research funds, while regions that are paradoxically not responding as predicted will get much less money for research and survey efforts. 

This strategy proposes a coordinated research plan that is blatantly agenda-driven: implementing it would seriously compromise the usefulness of all research results generated for decades to come. I don’t think it’s anything close to being a scientifically valid plan, but decide for yourself.  

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