An historic agreement signed in 1973 which obliges artic states to protect their polar bear populations, is forcing countries to take action against climate change to prevent further degradation of polar bear habitats.
The plight of the polar bear has been brought to public attention over the recent decades by the work of organisations such as WWF, who have encouraged people to adopt or sponsor polar bears, and also campaign on the issue.
Now the WWF are urging countries to take action. A meeting has been scheduled at which Canada, Russia, USA, Greenland/Denmark, and Norway will have representatives present. It is the first meeting of the Contracting Parties to the agreement, and WWF are saying that they must take radical steps to halt the effects of climate change as they meet in Tromso, Norway from 17-19 March.
New research from the US Geological Survey and the World Conservation Union reveals that between 13,000 and 16,000 polar bears – that’s two-thirds of the total global population – will be lost in the next 50 years unless the effects of climate change are halted. Artic sea ice, the polar bear’s main habitat, is melting at an alarming rate, and scientists predict the summer sea ice may disappear entirely between 2013 and 2040.
Speaking to MSNBC news, WWF polar bear coordinator Geoff York said: “It is widely accepted that we need to keep the global temperature increase below 2 degrees in order to avoid irreversible climate change. The most important action we can take to help preserve polar bears is to slow the rate of climate change, and ultimately to stop it so that their habitat does not entirely disappear.”