North America

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8,000 Walruses Congregate along Alaska Shoreline, Unable to Find Sea Ice Near Feeding Areas (Photo)

We reported on 12 August 2011 that walruses, driven ashore by the lack of Arctic sea ice over shallow waters, were starting to "haul out" along the Alaskan shores of the Chukchi Sea.  Airborne observers now report that by 17 August, "[a]pproximately 8,000 walruses were observed hauled out on land slightly north of Point Lay [Alaska]."  A panoramic photo shows the two immense haul-outs spotted during the survey flight.

Earth Hour 2012 Global Official Video

Earth Hour 2011 embraced 5,251 cities and towns in 135 countries and territories and reached an estimated 1.8 billion people worldwide. Our new video, backed by acclaimed Icelandic rock band Sigur Rós, showcases the passion of this year's Earth Hour participants from all corners of the globe, celebrating the planet and taking action beyond the hour.  Mark your calendar for Earth Hour 2012: 31 March 2012, 8:30 pm!

House drying up funding for weather preparedness (Repost)

This is a repost of an op-ed piece published in the San Francisco Chronicle (11 Aug. 2011). As the price tag for extreme weather increases, the U.S. House of Representatives ignores the problem and is attempting to make it worse by trying to cut important funding for climate change and preparedness.

Dangerously Unprepared: Congressional Budget Cuts are Leaving Americans Vulnerable to Climate Extremes

In 2011, the U.S. has been hammered by climate extremes, with economic damages by mid-June approaching a record $32 billion. Yet determined Congressional opponents of Federal climate change efforts are doggedly impeding Federal activities to inform and engage the public around climate impacts, vulnerability and risks; and to prepare for those impacts. Such tactics have successfully stymied progress on climate policy for over a decade, but at a high cost that is becoming increasingly evident: they have left Americans dangerously unprepared for an era of climate disruption.

Melting Sea Ice is Forcing Polar Bears to Swim Longer, Increasing Cub Mortality

Sea ice loss from climate change is causing polar bears to swim longer distances to find stable ice or reach land, resulting in greater risk to their cubs, according to new study.

Governor Christie Stops New Jersey from Addressing Climate Change, Ignoring the Perils to his State

New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, is pulling his state out of the only system currently operating in America that makes polluters pay for their carbon pollution that causes climate change. Bob Litterman, a New Jersey resident, economic and risk expert and WWF board member, discusses the governor’s irresponsible actions and the consequences New Jersey faces if carbon emissions and climate change are not adequately addressed. 

Congress should stop interfering in Europe's aviation carbon pollution policy

Jake Schmidt of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) shines some light on an important issue lurking in the dark corners of a huge bill being considered by Congress right now.  The bill would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – the US agency that regulates airlines. A  little-noticed provision in the House version of the bill would try to block a program in the European Union (EU) to tackle climate pollution from aircraft coming into and leaving the EU.  Why would Congress try to stop other countries from tackling climate change? 

Jared Diamond: With Climate Change, Americans Have Unique Opportunity to Avoid the Fate of Ancient Maya

In a new video, Jared Diamond talks about climate change, drawing parallels between modern Americans and the Classic southern lowland Maya – who failed to take the actions that might have avoided the collapse of their civilization. However, unlike the Maya, we have the “unique opportunity” and capacity to “learn from remote places and to learn from places remote in time,” Diamond says. “And among all the things that might incline me towards pessimism, that is the biggest thing that in the end inclines me towards optimism.”

For the People and Wildlife of the Northern Great Plains, Heavy Winter and Spring Precipitation Brings a Taste of the Future

In the northern Great Plains, record winter and spring precipitation followed now by historic floods, has affected dramatically both wildlife and people. From decimated populations of pronghorn antelope to flooded riverside communities, there is widespread evidence of the kinds of impacts that are likely to become more common in the region as atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases continue to rise.

Presidents of U.S. and Russia Agree to Step Up Cooperation in Bering Strait Region

President Barack Obama and President  Dmitry Medvedev of Russia on Thursday (26 May 2011) in a joint statement noted the "effects of climate change and other pressures on the common natural and cultural heritage of the Bering Strait region" and the "significance of unique Arctic ecosystems." The two leaders recognized the "importance of cooperation to protect nature and natural resources ... and to apply effective strategies aimed at sustainable development" in the region.  They declared their "intention to deepen cooperation...including the expansion of interaction between the national agencies that are responsible for the specially protected natural territories/areas of both countries..."

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