The main issue on the agenda of the upcoming 5-nation conference on Arctic warming will be how to protect the polar bear as its natural environment slowly melts away. Denmark (for Greenland), Norway, the US, Russia, and Canada have decided to hold discussions behind closed doors due to the sensitive nature of the issue.
“The polar bear … has become politically dangerous,” WWF’s Norway chief Rasmus Hansson told the AP, adding, “Polar bears have become the very symbol of climate change.” Norway is not happy with the closed-door aspect of the political talks being held in Tromso because it goes against their tenets of transparent politics.
The issue of climate change is so touchy these days that every country but Norway balked at the idea of holding public forums on the polar bear dilemma ahead of Copenhagen’s international climate treaty conference in December. The five nations involved in the Tromso talks are reviewing their policies concerning polar bears for the first time in 28 years.
There are only around 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears left in the wild. The 3-day meeting will try to identify and preserve essential polar bear habitats, manage hunting, and seek ways to curb the damage caused by greenhouse gasses and other toxins.