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Uncharted Arctic waters: A new opportunity for exploitation, or conservation?

Co-authored by Erica Cirino When thick sheets of sea ice began melting in the Arctic waters around Svalbard, Norway, a few years ago, a new expanse of sparkling blue sea opened up. As climate change continues to drive ice melt here on the previously untouched waters of the North Barents Sea, what many ocean conservationists…

Best Job Ever: Conquering the World’s Largest Glaciers

“For me, it’s definitely worthwhile to live shorter, but intense,” says Vincent Colliard, a young explorer joining renowned polar explorer Børge Ousland in an endeavor to cross the world’s 20 largest glaciers. The ambitious 10-year journey is part of an effort to document climate change, an important mission for sure but one that regularly places the explorers in the path of danger.

Best Job Ever: Filming a Wild Beluga Whale Party by Drone

Thousands of beluga whales congregate in Canada’s Cunningham Inlet each summer for what National Geographic Young Explorer and nature photographer Nansen Weber calls “a big beluga party.” Using a drone, Weber captures the breathtaking view from above.

How You Can Help Polar Bears in the Arctic Today

By Kitson Jazynka In honor of International Polar Bear Day, National Geographic spoke with Steven Amstrup, who has been studying polar bears in the wild for 35 years. “I couldn’t imagine a more interesting or captivating species to study—giant white bears roaming around in an environment that looks like the surface of the moon,” says…

Close Encounter with a Polar Bear

After photographer Cory Richards joined the Pristine Seas expedition to Franz Josef Land in the Russian Arctic, he spent over a month trying to capture an image of a polar bear from a relatively close distance. On his final attempt, a teammate launched a remote-controlled quadcopter, or drone, and the polar bear ended up right where they wanted him.

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…