Sunday, March 22, 2009

Arctic nations link polar bear survival to climate protection

Polar bear occupies the only ice floe for miles in a warming Arctic Ocean. (Photo by Francis Lai) TROMSO, Norway, March 20, 2009 (ENS) - Five nations obliged by treaty to conserve polar bears have resolved to link the future of the species to urgent global action on climate change.

The polar bear range states - Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Norway, Russia and the United States - in 1973 signed the legally binding Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears, agreeing to protect the white bears and their habitat. They gathered in Tromso for three days this week, their first meeting since 2007.

"We are very encouraged by the final declaration from this meeting,” says Geoff York, polar bear coordinator for WWF International’s Arctic Program.

"We were concerned that some countries were lagging behind the others in their commitment to dealing with climate change, but ultimately, the parties recognized climate change as the primary threat to the future well-being of polar bears," said York.

"They also recognized formally "the urgent need for an effective global response that will address the challenges of climate change,” to be addressed at gatherings such as the meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in December in Copenhagen where a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol is expected to be finalized. …

Arctic Nations Link Polar Bear Survival to Climate Protection

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