From The Associated Press, Wednesday, December 15, 2010:
Two groups of scientists are suggesting a sliver of hope for the future of polar bears in a warming world.
A study published online Wednesday rejects the often used concept of a “tipping point,” or point of no return, when it comes to sea ice and the big bear that has become the symbol of climate change woes. The study optimistically suggests that if the world dramatically changed its steadily increasing emissions of greenhouse gases, a total loss of critical summer sea ice for the bears could be averted.
Another research group projects that even if global warming doesn’t slow – a more likely near-future scenario – a thin, icy refuge for the bears would still remain between Greenland and Canada.
A grim future for polar bears is one of the most tangible and poignant outcomes of global warming. Four years ago, federal researchers reported that two-thirds of the world’s polar bear habitat could vanish by mid-century. Other experts foresee an irreversible ice-free Arctic in the next few years as more likely.
The new study, which challenges the idea of a tipping point, says rapid ice loss could still happen, but there’s a chance that the threatened bears aren’t quite doomed.
Continue reading: Scientists: It’s not too late yet for polar bears