White Coke Cans Fund Polar Bear Myths

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white Coke canFor years Coca-Cola has given millions of dollars to eco-extreme group World Wildlife Fund, whose alarmism and perpetration of falsehoods are unmatched among its cohorts in climate activism. Now Coke has initiated a new campaign with WWF that features its iconic advertising species in an effort to drive more funding to the international nonprofit group to “protect the polar bears’ Arctic home.”

The promotion will include new packaging for Coke over the holiday season, changing its familiar red cans to white, and featuring an image of a mother polar bear and her cubs on the side. Coke says it will donate $2 million over five years to WWF for “polar bear conservation efforts,” and will also match donations made at iCoke.ca. Last year Coke gave WWF $1.64 million for its various activities globally.

“The planet is changing very quickly, and nowhere more quickly than in the Arctic,” says Gerald Butts, president of WWF-Canada.

“It’s really important that we all understand that they need our help,” he added. “Climate change is changing livelihoods, it’s changing migration patterns for species, and we want to plan ahead. We want a future for the Arctic where the communities of people who live there are vibrant and sustainable, and the iconic species – in particular the polar bear – has a long-term future on the planet.”

Butts speaks so little truth. First with the easy part: more human beings die in cold weather than in heat. As for the Arctic, temperatures in the 1930s increased at a rate of .5 degrees per year, so the idea that any possible current warming is unprecedented is silly. And a recent Canadian study found evidence that an Arctic ice shelf fractured 1,400 years ago, “long before industrialization had any impact on the planet.” Meanwhile Arctic ice is growing at a record rate, and more than 30 percent of the missing ice area in the western Arctic has recovered since 2007. Arctic climate patterns, which have shown warming in recent years, are attributable to solar changes and ocean currents, not increases in human-produced carbon dioxide.

And then there are the precious polar bears. Their estimated numbers – according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – have increased by somewhere between double and quintuple (that is, growing from between 5,000 and 10,000 to 20,000-25,000) from the 1950s until now. They are also known to be tremendously resilient, and in some areas where they have declined, the reason has been attributed to too much ice. As far as healthy populations, according to officials in the extreme northern territory of Nunavut in Canada, polar bears “have not declined.” 

“Based on hunter observations, polar bears are presently still healthy and abundant across Nunavut,” said territorial Environment Minister Daniel Shewchuk, “and for that reason, not a species of special concern.”

Meanwhile a study often cited as proof of the dangers of global warming to polar bears was “filled with baseless assumptions.” The report, by biologist Charles Monnett, discussed the discovery of four bear carcasses in the sea, and implied that the deaths were attributed to loss of ice. Monnett was placed on administrative leave and he and a collaborator are being investigated for scientific misconduct.

As for advocacy-oriented WWF and the “sound science” of proven global warming, it is a fantasy. Alarmists have long held up the reports of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as the authoritative attestation by scholarly researchers that the planet is warming because of human-produced emissions through the burning of fossil fuels for energy. But thanks to revelations from the Climategate scandal and other discoveries (like the debunked Hockey Stick chart), the IPCC reports were sourced in many parts with non-peer reviewed literature like boot-cleaning guides, student dissertations, climbing magazines, and even (drum roll please)…WWF pamphlets!

Such is the shaky foundation upon which the catastrophic global warming edifice has been constructed, and now WWF (net assets as of Fiscal Year 2009: $238 million) hopes its ongoing relationship with Coca-Cola will continue to provide millions of dollars for its anti-fossil fuels campaign. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, WWF – a truly international organization – spent $1.6 million on lobbying in 2009, just in the United States. Its stated agenda items for lobbying purposes included: 

·      Development of climate legislation including mitigation, adaptation, reduced tropical deforestation 

·      Energy efficiency provisions in stimulus, budget and energy legislation (Crony capitalistic slush funding for illusionary “Green jobs”)

·      International financing for clean technology transfer and cooperation (like funding for overseas “Solyndras”)

Meanwhile WWF officials, like so many climate crusaders, fail to abide by the practices they admonish others to follow. The organization wants limits placed upon aviation because of its significant contribution to carbon dioxide emissions, but WWF president Carter Roberts (total 2009 compensation: $455,147) fails to lead by example, and routinely flies to remote locales as though it helps call attention to the planet’s plight. According to its tax returns WWF spent $5.1 million in 2009 on travel, which included a flight by Roberts as “one of several passengers on a roundtrip charter flight from Winnipeg to Churchill, (Manitoba).” Claiming there were no commercial flights available, WWF reported, “this trip was part of a field visit by staff and donors to see WWF’s work in the Arctic and the impacts of climate change.”

As for political inclinations, WWF’s managing director of climate change, Lou Leonard, was environmental policy analyst and field organizer for President Obama’s presidential campaign. His bio on the WWF Web site states, “As an environmental lawyer and climate policy expert, you can imagine the list of ‘to-do’s’ he has for the new administration.”

So each purchase of a white Coca-Cola can supports: false testimony on global warming; perpetration of the myth about endangered polar bears; ongoing distortion of the UN IPCC process; activism to fight the development of affordable coal, oil and natural gas; hypocrites who won’t follow their own recommendations; and expansion of already excessive environmental regulations.

Doesn’t it make your heart all fizzy? 

Paul Chesser is an associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center and is director of communications and research for American Tradition Institute.