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'GMA': It's All about Saving the Global Warming Mascot - The Polar Bears

     It’s become a favorite topic of ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

 

     Since July 4, ABC’s morning show has mentioned global warming 31 times in stories ranging in everything from the 2008 presidential election cycle to an increase in poison ivy.

 

     The September 18 “GMA” wasn’t much different.

 

     “And now, an Arctic update,” said “GMA” weatherman Sam Champion. “We've shown you pictures where this is all that's left of the ice around the North Pole after the summer melt. Later today, the National Snow and Ice Data Center will announce exactly how much Arctic ice has shrunk. But we do know that they believe it is the lowest ever recorded – just about 1 million square miles.”

 

     But then Champion reported the historic upside of the melting.

 

     “Take a look at the two possible paths of the fabled Northwest Passage – the northern route connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans,” Champion said. “They could finally become passable to ship traffic. That's a two-edged sword for many environmentalists. While taking the shorter northern route than the southern route could save a tremendous amount of energy.”

 

     The Northwest Passage would shave about 4,000 miles off ships’ travel from Europe to Asia, avoiding having to travel through the Panama Canal or Suez Canal. But there’s a catch, according to Champion.

 

     “There’s great concern about the impact of the melting ice on the wildlife in that area,” Champion said. “For example, the loss of Arctic ice could mean the loss of the homeland for polar bears.”

 

     If the polar bears are struggling because of melting ice, they’re certainly not showing it. According to a study reported in the September 3 Telegraph (U.K.), the polar bears are thriving.

 

     “There aren't just a few more bears,” said Mitch Taylor, a polar bear biologist who has spent 20 years studying the animals, to the Telegraph. “There are a hell of a lot more bears.”

 

      Still, Champion depicted the polar bear as a species on the brink of extinction.

 

     “But prominent scientists say it's not too late for us to help them. Bill Blakemore went to the center of the Great Greenland Ice Sheet, two miles high, where American scientists have discovered it could be possible to turn the clock back on global warming.”

 

    “[I]t [the Greenland Ice Sheet] holds an important clue, say scientists, to how we just might save a lot of the rapidly melting Arctic ice, including the polar bears' habitat,” ABC correspondent Bill Blakemore said.

 

    Yes, fighting global warming seems to always come back to doing it for the polar bear, and “GMA” trotted out Al Gore’s favorite global warming cheerleader – NASA scientist James Hansen – to tell us what we can do.

 

     “I think we can still save the Arctic,” Hansen said. “Our calculations suggest that we could keep the sea ice in the Arctic from melting much more than it has already.”

 

     And here’s where Blakemore played the role of advocacy journalist: “But only, say Hansen and other scientists, if emission cuts include greatly decreasing black carbon from smokestacks and tail pipes,” Blakemore said. “Existing technology can easily do the job. But if all nations, including China, don't use it, scientists say the ice these magnificent creatures [the polar bears] need to survive will soon disappear.”