US Arctic Research Commission
May 11, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


Democratic senators meet with President Obama to discuss the federal budget. The House is expected to finish work on an offshore permits and drilling bill and begin consideration of another bill which proposes to expand deep water oil and gas exploration.    


Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Climate Scientists Told to 'Stop Speaking in Code.' Scientists at a major Ice - Melting Glacierconference on Arctic warming were told Wednesday to use plain language to explain the dramatic melt in the region to a world reluctant to take action against climate change. An authoritative report released at the meeting of nearly 400 scientists in Copenhagen showed melting ice in the Arctic could help raise global sea levels by as much as 5 feet this century, much higher than earlier projections. Associated Press  


House Set to Begin Appropriations Markups Soon. The House Appropriations Committee is planning to move ahead with the first of its 12 annual spending bills this week, as GOP lawmakers look to trim discretionary spending compared with last year. Two bills will be marked up on May 13. The Military Construction-VA Appropriations Subcommittee will take up its fiscal 2012 draft measure at 10:15 a.m., and the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee will consider its bill at 11 a.m.


U.S., Others to Clinch Arctic Search-and-Rescue Pact and Tiptoe on Some Climate, Oil Questions. The Arctic could become the next great international battleground for resources, with melting icecaps opening new shipping routes, fishing grounds and, most significantly, some of the world's richest and as yet unexplored oil and gas deposits. So far, the United States, Russia and other nations near the North Pole are trying to work together. They'll take a baby step in that direction this week by agreeing to the first international treaty covering the Arctic Sea, a coordinated search-and-rescue pact that will grow in importance as more cargo and cruise ships start navigating the cold waters. The Washington Post 


arcticcouncilSenator Joins Secretary Clinton at Arctic Council. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will join this week in the Arctic Council meeting in Nuuk, Greenland, becoming the first U.S. Senator and State Department head to participate in the event. Challenges and opportunities for the Arctic Council in a changing Arctic will be the main focus, "but oil and gas development will play a major role, with several member countries interested in, or engaged in, offshore drilling projects," Murkowski said. The Cordova Times  


Indigenous Groups Want More Say at Arctic Council. Some northern indigenous groups want the Arctic Council to give them the right to vote and other powers that are currently reserved for member countries like Canada, the United States and Russia. Groups like the Inuit Circumpolar Council and the Arctic Athabaskan Council want to have a greater say in the affairs of the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum that brings together eight northern nations. CBC News 


Report Makes Recommendations on Transboundary Oil Spills. A new report from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation focuses on transboundary oil spill response for the Alaska/British Columbia and British Columbia/Washington border areas. The document is a result of a cooperative effort of 90 natural resource trustees and stakeholders from Alaska, Washington and British Columbia who worked with the Pacific States-British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force to evaluate response planning and readiness for U.S./Canadian trans-boundary oil spills. The Arctic Sounder   

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.AMDT. 271 to H.R. 1229, to implement the Oil Spill Commission's recommendations by requiring that in reviewing a drilling permit, the Secretary consult with an independent drilling safety organization not affiliated with the oil industry trade association. (Garamendi- introduced, considered, and not agreed to)


S. 940, to reduce the Federal budget deficit by closing big oil tax loopholes (Menendez- introduced and placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar)

Future Events     


Seventh Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council, May 12. The Arctic Council will host this meeting in Nuuk, Greenland. The meeting will consider "The Changing Arctic: Challenges and Opportunities for the Arctic Council;" the Nuuk Declaration; the Arctic Council Search and Rescue Agreement; and hand over the chairmanship to Sweden. Secretary Hillary Clinton will lead the US delegation. 


Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs Legislation, May 12. The Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on pending legislation including legislation regarding polar bear trophy importation from Canada and authorization of fund to acquire hydrographic data and provide hydrographic services specific to the Arctic for safe navigation, delineate the United States extended continental shelf, and monitor coastal changes.


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Science Advisory Board Meeting, May 16. The Science Advisory Board is expected to consider recommendations on coastal and marine spatial planning from the Ecosystem Sciences and Management Working Group and discuss revised operations of the Science Advisory Board.


International Oil Spill Conference, May 23-26, 2011. This conference's theme of "Promoting the Science of Spill Response" continues the long tradition of providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and lessons learned from actual spill responses and research around the world. This conference will also continue the North American part of the Triennial Oil Spill Conference Cycle established in 2005, to be followed by Interspill 2012 (Europe) and Spillcon 2013 (SE Asia), before returning to North America in 2014. The Arctic focus will be on May 25th. 

6th International Conference on Arctic Margins, May 31-June 3, 2011. The International Conference on Arctic Margins was founded by the Department of Interior and what was formerly called the Minerals Management Service. Topics include: hydrocarbon potential and gas hydrates; science issues relating to UNCLOS Article 76; geodynamic significance of Arctic magmatism; vertical motions in the Arctic, tectonic, and glacial; geology and palaeogeography of the Arctic continental margins; evolution of the Arctic Ocean basins, including plate reconstructions, magmatism, and sedimentology; modern Arctic environments, including geological, climatic, and oceanographic processes; recent advances in Arctic research technology.


American Meteorological Society Summer Policy Colloquium, June 5-14, 2011. This policy colloquium brings together a group to consider atmospheric policy. The colloquium will cover policy creation basics, interactions with congressional staff, and information on the current atmospheric policy issues. 


Alice Rogoff, Alaska Dispatch Publisher

The Arctic Imperative, June 19-21, 2011. The Alaska Dispatch, Aspen Institute, 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 in the Chugach Mountains, 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. Registration is $2500 for out-of-state participants (includes registration, meals, tax, ground transfers & lodging), and $900 for in-state (includes registration & meals). Speakers are free. Media registration and meals are free.


4th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations, June 20-21, 2011.The symposium is co-hosted by the U.S. icediminisharcticNational Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. This symposium addresses present and future impacts of rapid changes in Arctic Ocean sea ice cover on a wide range of maritime operations. The forum, the fourth in a series, is a key opportunity for federal entities to discuss their response to changes in both the Arctic environment and associated policies. Registration is now open.


7th Congress of the International Arctic Social Sciences, June 22-26, 2011Akureyri 

The 7th Congress, "Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences Beyond the IPY," will be held in Akureyri, Iceland. The  Intl'

Congress of the Arctic Social Sciences is held every 3 years.   


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 Muskokaddresses 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 conference 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 

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


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. 


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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