US Arctic Research Commission
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June 14, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 

 

The House finishes work on the Military Construction-VA spending bill for fiscal 2012, then turns to the Agriculture spending bill.

 

The Senate is set for a cloture vote on an ethanol-related amendment to a bill on economic development programs. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is scheduled to make his maiden speech. House Appropriations marks up the fiscal 2012 Defense spending bill.

 

Meetings of State Parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, June 13-17, 2011. The State Parties to UNCOLS will host their 21st meeting in New York to host elections, review information submitted to the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority, hear a report from the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, and review a report on issues of a general nature, relevant to State parties, that have arisen with respect to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

 

The Arctic in new National Ocean PolicyObama2  "Changing Conditions in the Arctic" is the focus of a strategic action plan that's being developed under the "National Ocean Policy" signed by President Obama in July 2010. A 10-page draft outline of this plan is now available at a White House website for review and comment (and please do comment...). This plan is one of nine national priority objectives, and it's the only one focusing on a specific geographic region. The plan contains long-term themes, and six specific actions, below, to begin in 2012, when the final plan is released. The plan is being drafted by an interagency team co-led by Robert Winokur (Navy) and John Farrell (USARC). Public listening sessions on this effort were held in Alaska last week. Details on the sessions are here.

 

Themes:

An integrated Arctic observing network

Arctic climate and environmental change (understand, forecast, predict)

Arctic mapping and charting

A safe, secure, and reliable Arctic Marine Transportation System

Stewardship of the Arctic marine environment and sustainable development of resources

Resilient and healthy Arctic communities and economies

Domestic and international policy and partnerships in the Arctic

 

Actions:

      1: Improve Arctic environmental response management

      2: Observe and forecast Arctic sea ice

      3: Establish a distributed biological observatory

      4: Improve Arctic communication

      5: Advance Arctic marine mapping and charting

      6: Improve coordination on Arctic Ocean issues


Media Reviewtodaysevents    

 

Armed Services Subcommittee Plans Open Markup of Defense Bill. A Senate Armed Services subcommittee is set to break with tradition Tuesday and mark up its portion of the annual defense authorization bill in an open session for the first time in 15 years. The Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee will consider the legislation in an open session, while five other subcommittees and the full committee are due to mark up the measure this week, and will do so in the usual fashion. Congressional Quarterly

 

black carbonIt's Not Just CO2: Cutting soot and smog will limit climate change quickly, says new UN report. The struggle to contain climate change usually focuses on reducing carbon dioxide. But black carbon and ozone, the main ingredients of soot and smog, also add to global warming, and controlling them will act quickly to slow rising temperatures, a U.N. agency said Tuesday. Black carbon comes from solid particles from tailpipes, forest fires or wood-burning stoves and brick kilns commonly found in poor countries. It absorbs sunlight, and is most damaging when it settles on the Arctic snow or mountain glaciers, causing ice packs to melt more rapidly. The Canadian Press

 

Nanisivik, Nunavut Naval Facility Project Delayed At Least Two Years. Environmental and funding concerns are adding years to the construction of an Arctic naval port considered crucial to enforcing Canadian control of the Northwest Passage. The Nanisivik port in Nunavut was originally supposed to be at least partially up and running by next summer, following a promise made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2007. Daily Commercial News

 

Coastal Management Demands Local Voices, Knowledge. (Opinion) It is too bad the Alaska legislature can't come together on coastal zone management and will lose a program that helps the development process, brings in federal money, and creates jobs. It seems unfortunate that the implosion of state coastal zone management legislation is credited over the lack of agreement on "a provision to allow local knowledge to be considered alongside scientific evidence," as I've seen reported in several articles. Alaska Dispatch 

 

Ottawa Weighs Funding Bilingual Education for Inuit Children. The inuit childrenConservative government is expected to react positively to a report that recommends Inuit children be educated in their native tongue. But Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan will not commit the federal government to implementing that strategy, a departmental official said Monday, speaking on background. The Globe and Mail   

Legislative Actionfutureevents  

 

H.R. 2055, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill (Culberson, considered on the House floor)

 

H.R. 2112, Agriculture, Rural Development and Food and Drug Administration appropriations bill (Kingston, rule set for consideration in the House)

 

H.R. 2150, to amend the Naval Petroleum Reserve Production Act to direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct an expeditious program of competitive leasing of oil and gas in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, including at least one lease sale in the Reserve each year in the period 2011 through 2021 (Hastings, introduced and referred to committee)

 

Future Events                 

 

The Arctic Imperative, June 19-21, 2011. The Alaska Dispatch, Aspen Institute,

ulmer
Fran Ulmer

Commonwealth North, and the Institute of the North will host a domestic investment and policy forum titled "The Arctic Imperative." The forum, at the Alyeska Resort near Anchorage, will bring together international policymakers, industry, and investment leaders to consider topics such as security, resources, port development, marine shipping, commerce, and trade. The goal of the gathering is to "sharpen the world's focus on the policy and investment needs of Arctic development through a series of high-level meetings, presentations and investor roundtables." Confirmed speakers include Fran Ulmer, Chair of the USARC; Edward Itta, Mayor of the North Slope Borough; Thomas Barrett, President of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company; Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations; Mead Treadwell, Lt. Gov. of the State of Alaska; David Rubenstein, Managing Director of the Carlyle Group; Reggie Joule, Alaska State Legislator, among others.

 

4th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval NOAA

and Maritime Operations, June 20-22, 2011 (downtown DC).  The symposium, co-hosted by the U.S. National Ice Center and the U.S. Arctic Research in Arctic Ocean sea ice on a wide range of maritime operations. Confirmed speakers include the Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Research, RADM Nevin Carr Jr., the Commandant of the US Coast Guard ADM Robert Papp, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco. The forum is a key opportunity to learn about changes in the Arctic environment, and the manner in which they are being responded to in terms of policies and practices. Registration is now open.

 

Tribal Energy Development at the Federal Level, July 14-15, 2011. Law Seminars International will host a seminar for attorneys, tribes, industry executives, and government officials to discuss energy development on tribal lands.

 

Holocene Glacier Variability from the Tropics to the Poles, July 20-27, 2011. Glaciers respond sensitively to climate change. Recent (Holocene) glacier fluctuations are a valuable proxy for terrestrial interglacial paleoclimate conditions. A main challenge for interpreting paleoclimate from past mountain glacier extents is distinguishing local and regional patterns from global signals. Reconstructing Holocene glacier extents involves many disciplines including terrestrial and marine geology, geochronology and glaciology. Organizers hope to facilitate an inter-hemispheric comparison of glacier records including locations in the Tropics, European Alps, American Cordillera, Southern Alps of New Zealand, Himalaya and Polar Regions and to identify future research questions and directions. For additional information contact: Meredith Kelly.  

   

13th Arctic Ungulates Conference (AUC), August 22-26, 2011. The theme of the conference will be "Challenges of Managing Northern Ungulates." The theme addresses the difficulties of managing ungulate populations that are faced with the unpredictable effects of climate change and an ever-increasing human presence on the land. The conference will also focus on the challenges associated with developing recovery actions for declining caribou and reindeer populations that are an integral part of Aboriginal cultures and ways of life.

 

9th International Symposium on Permafrost Engineering, September 3-7, 2011. The Melnikov Permafrost Institute (Yakutsk, Russia), the Institute of Northern Mining (Yakutsk, Russia), the Cold and Arid Regions Engineering and Environmental Research Institute (Lanzhou, China), and the Heilongjiang Institute of Cold Region  Engineering (Harbin, China) will host the Ninth International Symposium on  Permafrost Engineering to be held in Mirny, Yakutia. The aim of the Symposium is to provide a forum for discussion of permafrost engineering issues, as well as for exchange of practical experience in construction and maintenance of engineering structures on frozen ground. For additional information, please contact Lilia Prokopieva. 

 

4th International Sea Duck Conference, September 12-16, 2011. The seaduckconference is held to provide researchers and managers with opportunities to share information, research, and conduct workshops.

 

Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, September 14-17, 2011.The 27th Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, entitled "Fishing People of the North: Cultures, Economies, and Management Responding to Change," will be held in Anchorage, Alaska. This international symposium will provide a forum for scholars, fishery managers, fishing families, and others to explore the human dimensions of fishery systems and growing need to include social science research in policy processes. The conference is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Sea Grant program.    

 

Advanced Workshop on Oil Spills In Sea Ice: Past, Present and Future Fermo

September 20-23, 2011. A technical workshop, organized by Dr. Peter Wadhams, on the physical problems associated with oil spills and blowouts in sea ice will be held at the Istituto Geografico Polare "Silvio Zavatti," Fermo, Italy. Scientists, engineers and policy makers are invited to address the questions of how oil is emitted from a blowout or spill, how the oil and gas are incorporated in the under-ice surface, how the oil layer evolves, how the oil is transported by the ice, and how and where eventual release occurs. The aim is to incorporate the experience of those scientists who worked in this field in the 1970s-1990s, when large-scale field experiments involving oil release were possible, and to relate this to the needs of present researchers who are seeking solutions to the problem of a sustainable Arctic oil spill management system. Notably, the workshop will be attended by the oil spill work package of the EU ACCESS project (Arctic Climate Change and its Effect on Economic Systems). Registration forms are available here

 

Arkhangelsk Arctic Forum, October 1-2, 2011.  Hosted by the Russian Geographic Society and the regional government of Arkhangelsk, the forum will host discussion on Arctic navigation, development of the Northern Sea Route, railway extensions, and construction of a deep-water port in Arkhangelsk.  The official website is in Russian.

 

The Tenth International Conference on Permafrost, June 2012. The conference will be held in Tyumen, Russia, and is organized and hosted by Russia. The last conference was held in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2008. Details to follow.   

 

15th International Congress on Circumpolar Heath, August 5-10, 2012. This kivalina girlevent is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Society for Circumpolar Health, and the International Union for Circumpolar Health.  The forum will consider community participatory research and indigenous research; women's health, family health, and well-being; food security and nutrition; social determinants of health; environmental and occupational health; infectious and chronic diseases; climate change-health impacts; health service delivery and infrastructure; and, behavioral health.

   

Arctic/Inuit/Connections: Learning from the Top of the World, October 24-28, 2012.  The 18th Inuit Studies Conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will consider heritage museums and the North; globalization: an Arctic story; power, governance and politics in the North; the '"new" Arctic: social, cultural and climate change; and Inuit education, health, language, and literature. For more information, please email Lauren Marr.

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