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Tag archives for Arctic

Nations Strike Deal to Curb Carbon Emissions

The first pact to commit all countries to cut carbon emissions—the Paris Agreement—was signed by 195 countries in LeBourget, France, on Saturday. Some aspects of the agreement, which will go into effect in 2020, will be legally binding, such as submission of emissions reduction targets and regular review of progress toward them. However, the targets…

Meet the Explorers Crossing the World’s 20 Largest Glaciers for Climate Change

Over the course of ten years, polar explorer and National Geographic grantee Børge Ousland and his expedition partner, Vincent Colliard, are crossing the world’s 20 largest glaciers to document climate change. But traversing some of the harshest landscapes on Earth won’t keep these two adventurers from having a good time.

Paris Climate Talks: The 21st Time Must Be the Charm

We are issuing the Polar Bear Is Not Alone graphic today in support of efforts at COP21. Our graphic depicts how the polar bear, long the symbol warning us about climate change, is not alone. Joining the bear is a farmer in California, communities in Papua New Guinea, the migrating bar-tailed godwit, the quiver tree of Southern Africa, and other forms of life across the globe. Not only must we curtail carbon emissions to slow the rate of climate change; we need to help both wildlife and humans adapt to the impacts of change by ensuring the protection of functioning ecosystems and the services they provide that support all life on our planet. We must be emissions smart and adaptation sharp.

How Not to Get Eaten by a Polar Bear

Renowned polar explorer Børge Ousland has had more than his share of run-ins with polar bears. How does he protect himself from the wild and hungry animals? Check out the MacGyver-esque homemade contraption that’s literally a lifesaver.

Obama Talks Climate, Oil Drilling

President Barack Obama arrived in Alaska this week, sharing blunt language about climate change after laying out initiatives aimed at tackling that issue in the Arctic. “On this issue—of all issues—there is such a thing as being too late,” said Obama. “And that moment is almost upon us … This year in Paris has to…

Arctic Diplomacy requires Convergence of Military and Scientific Interests

Scientists and the military have a long history of engagement but largely in a client-donor relationship. Yet, global environmental change is providing another opportunity for more “natural” convergent cooperation that was manifest at an unusual meeting of academia and the military held at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources (RSENR) at the University…

Protect the Grand Canyons of the Ocean

Hidden below the surface of Alaska’s icy waters lie the world’s largest underwater canyons, both more massive than America’s Grand Canyon. Home to orcas, walrus and fur seals, albatross and kittiwakes, king crab, squid, salmon and coldwater corals, brittle stars and sponges, the continental slope and canyons of the Bering Sea (known as the Bering…

Face-to-Face With a Polar Bear in the Arctic

By Kitson Jazynka for National Geographic Polar Bear Watch When you’re on an expedition in the Arctic, National Geographic Explorer Paul Rose says, you should always be prepared for polar bears. It’s a good idea to have cooking pots ready to bang together, or a flare gun to discourage a bear from coming near. But…

Organizations Develop Tools to Help States Comply with EPA’s Clean Power Plan

The same week Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.) introduced a new bill pushing back on implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan, organizations released tools to help states and regulators navigate compliance with the resulting rule, set to be finalized this summer. The rule uses an infrequently exercised provision of the…

California Governor Calls for Aggressive Emissions Cuts

California will establish a greenhouse gas reduction target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, the state’s Gov. Jerry Brown announced Wednesday. The declaration was made just before a speech on the new executive order at the Navigating the American Carbon World Conference in Los Angeles, where participants took to Twitter to reflect on…

No Ice in Sight: Polar Bears Scrabble Onshore to Find Food

On June 4, 1773, English naval officers were dispatched on an expedition to the Arctic. Their goal was to locate a passage from the British Isles to the Pacific Ocean. Instead, on ice floes near Spitsbergen (Svalbard), Norway, they found polar bears. The explorers were the first Europeans to describe the bears as a distinct…

Swimming Among Pilot Whales in the Far North

We are not yet in Greenland, nor are we near Canada. We’re right smack dab in the middle of Davis Strait. The water is nearly 9,000 feet deep and I’m suited up like an astronaut.

United States, Europe Announce Emissions Reductions Pledges

“Ambitious and achievable” is how the White House described its formal emissions reduction pledge—a cut of 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025—to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in preparation for negotiation of a binding climate agreement in Paris in December. Opinion about the aptness of the two adjectives…

Supreme Court Reviews EPA’s Power Plant Mercury Rule; Decision Due in June

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in a challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) consideration of cost impacts when developing the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard, (MATS) which are set to go into effect next month. At issue in the case is whether the Clean Air Act requires the EPA…

First Global Review of Arctic Marine Mammals Reveals Uncertain Future

Despite Arctic marine mammals being icons of climate change, little is known about their populations across the Arctic. In a first ever global review of Arctic marine mammals, published last week in Conservation Biology, an international team of scientists provides a circumpolar range assessment. They studied population status and trends for 11 species, including polar bears, ice seals, narwhals,…