In your editorial “The Polar Bear Population Surge” (Dec. 3), you emphasize the importance of lifting people out of poverty such that societies can support “people who count polar bears.” In 1992, Al Gore wrote about the importance of capitalism in raising global living standards. In “Earth in the Balance,” Mr. Gore argued that developing countries could have the luxury of taking their own steps to protect the environment only if they were economically stable.
He added that, because the United States was a developed nation, we should lead the world’s nations while encouraging capitalism. He also emphasized the economic opportunities available in pursuing alternative energy sources. That was 30 years ago, and the climate-change models that you disparage as “unreliable” were mostly too conservative, as it turns out. Rising sea level, extinctions and human health effects from climate change are observable now.
In one of the latest studies of polar bears (published in the journal Science on June 16, 2022), a casual reading might convince you that bears in Denmark Strait are adapting to climate change. But the authors also conclude that the trend of decreasing ice poses a threat to the species because feeding on seal pups is negatively impacted by earlier melting dates. If polar bears adapt to become dumpster divers in an ice-free Arctic, will you still consider the species alive and well?