On Thin Ice: Polar Bear Listed as Threatened Species

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NBC Nightly News
Brian Williams/Anne Thompson
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NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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The polar bear is added to the U.S. list of threatened species in 2008, as sea ice melts due to global warming; 2/3 of the world's polar bears could disappear by 2050, including all in Alaska.



"On Thin Ice: Polar Bear Listed as Threatened Species." Anne Thompson, correspondent. NBC Nightly News. NBCUniversal Media. 14 May 2008. NBC Learn. Web. 18 November 2017.


Thompson, A. (Reporter), & Williams, B. (Anchor). (2008, May 14). On Thin Ice: Polar Bear Listed as Threatened Species. [Television series episode]. NBC Nightly News. Retrieved from https://archives.nbclearn.com/portal/site/k-12/browse/?cuecard=41273


"On Thin Ice: Polar Bear Listed as Threatened Species" NBC Nightly News, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 05/14/2008. Accessed Sat Nov 18 2017 from NBC Learn: https://archives.nbclearn.com/portal/site/k-12/browse/?cuecard=41273


On Thin Ice: Polar Bear Listed as Threatened Species


A very big week for those who are fighting to save the environment. Yesterday in an interview, President Bush said there's no question global warming is real. Then today, a huge milestone by the Bush administration, polar bears were declared a threatened species. But none of that apparently has changed the fight over what to do about climate change. Our report tonight from our chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson.

ANNE THOMPSON reporting:

The polar bear is on thin ice and could well be on its way to extinction. Today the Bush administration acknowledged global warming is shrinking sea ice, a crucial part of the bear's habitat in Alaska. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne used satellite images to show the dramatic change in ice from 1979 to today in explaining his decision to list the bear as threatened, but he insisted this would not be a way to regulate greenhouse gases from cars and power plants.

Secretary DIRK KEMPTHORNE (Interior Secretary): The Endangered Species Act is not the means nor the method nor the vehicle by which you can deal with global climate change.

THOMPSON: That disappointed many environmental groups, leading some to label the listing as an empty victory.

Ms. DALE BRYK (National Resources Defense Council): The administration on the one hand is saying, `Yes, global warming is the dominant threat to your survival.' But at the very same time, they're saying, `We're going to do nothing to protect you from that threat.'

THOMPSON: Dr. Scott Bergen of the Wildlife Conservation Society says they can already see the impacts of the shrinking ice. Pregnant females are lighter and fewer cubs are surviving their first year.

What role does the sea ice play in the polar bears' survival?

Dr. SCOTT BERGEN: It determines the polar bears' survival.

THOMPSON: The 20,000-plus bears use the ice to catch the seals they feed on.

The fear is without protection, this will be one of the few places polar bears exist. Last year government scientists predicted two-thirds of all polar bears will disappear by the year 2050, including every bear in Alaska.

And today a new international study confirmed manmade climate change is causing a reduction in the number of bears, more evidence that those in the wild tonight are at risk. Anne Thompson, NBC News, New York.