In a May 15 article, Associated Press writer H. Josef Hebert practically cheered the addition of polar bears to a federal “threatened species” list thought of the subjectively positive effects this could have on the global warming debate: “The massive and powerful furry creature that lumbers across the Arctic ice may accomplish what 20 years of environmental activism has not done: force the issue that global warming already is having an effect and there is a price for both action and inaction.”
In his story, “Analysis: Polar Bear's Impact on People is Felt,” Hebert explained that the polar brings a “face” to the global warming debate. Whereas scientists have “long have talked of the visible damage that global warming has done to sea coral” this has “escaped the notice of the average person.” However, the polar bear, according to Wildlife Conservation Society President Steven E. Sanderson as quoted in the article, is different because it is “big, it's charismatic and it's powerful. It's beautiful and it generates sympathy. If it blinks out, you'll notice.”
Hebert also took a swipe at President Bush, complaining the White House wasn’t going far enough: “The Bush administration is taking pains to draw a line between protection of the majestic mammal and the origin of its plight -- global warming.”
"This listing should not open the door ... to regulating greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, power plants and other sources," argued Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, in line with views expressed by President Bush last month.
Hebert’s snarky response: “Business fears the bear.”
Closing his story, Hebert called on the public to make sacrifices to so that the polar bear can be saved from ghastly global warming.
Sure, Hebert conceded, global warming legislation will ramp up costs for electricity, gasoline and fossil fuels. “But then there are other costs,” Hebert insisted: “the loss of an Arctic icon.”