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Global warming may decimate polar bears

by satish
September 10th, 2007

Shrinking sea ice

Two-thirds of the world’s polar bears will disapear by 2050, even under moderate projections for even under moderate projections for shrinking summer sea ice caused by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, government scientists reported on Friday. The finding is part of a year-long review of the effects of climate and ice changes on polar bears to help determine whether they should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. Scientists estimate the current polar bear population at 22,000. The report, which the U.S. Geological Survey released here, offers stark prospects for polar bears as the world grows warmer.

Biologists and climate scientists conclude in the report that under middleof-the road projections for warming, the bears will, by midcentury, be largely relegated to Arctic archipelago of Canada and sports off the northern Greenland coast, where summer sea ice tends to persits even in warm summers like this one, a shrinking that could be enough to reduce the bears by two-thirds. The bears would disappear entirely fom Alaska, the study said.

“As the sea ice goes, so goes the polar bear,” said Steven Amstrup, lead biologist for the survey team. The report was released as U.S. President George W. Bush was in Australia meeting with Asian leaders to try to agree on a strategy to to address global warming. Mr. Buah will be host to major industrial nations in Washington this month to discuss the framework for a treaty on climate change

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