US Arctic Research Commission
May 13, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House continues to focus on a security agenda. The House is expected to consider the FY 2011 intelligence authorization, and the House Appropriations Committee will mark up the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, which is in draft form.  The Senate is not in session.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Physicist Group's Study Raises Doubts on Capturing Carbon Dioxide From Air. Over the last few years, some of world's brightest minds have become fascinated with a seemingly simple idea: easing the threat of climate change by pulling carbon dioxide out of the air. The concept is entirely different from capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide from power plants and other big polluters before it enters the air. Rather, the aim would be to remove the gas from the planet's ambient air, where it exists in low concentrations everywhere. New York Times


As Clinton Works Against Global Warming in Greenland, Some There Don't Mind It. Few places on Earth have seen starker changes in weather than this icebound island straddling the Arctic Circle. With that in mind, America's top diplomat arrived here this week intent on calling attention to the perils of climate change.  "Secretary Salazar and Senator Murkowski and I are determined that we're going to raise the visibility of Arctic issues back in the United States," [Secretary] Clinton said as the small craft bobbed gently in the nearly placid water." Washington Post


Report on Arctic Frontiers [Audio File]. Interview with U.S. Arctic Research Commission Executive Director John Farrell and others on oil and gas development in the Arctic.Farrell explains the BP event in the Gulf of Mexico further encouraged research on prevention and response in the Arctic.The speed of ice loss in the Arctic, however, presents a hurdle in research keeping pace with resource exploration. The interview details many of the views regarding Arctic research needs.Click on "Listen to the report on Arctic frontiers" Deutsche Welle Radio 


Senate Moving Toward Debate on Dueling Energy Measures. The Senate is likely headed for a debate next week on dueling proposals to rewrite the federal government's relationship with the oil industry, with Democrats pressing to cut off various tax incentives and Republicans looking to roll back rules that they blame for delaying offshore oil and gas drilling. Congressional Quarterly


Harper's Tough Talk on Arctic Less Stern in Private. Despite the military photo ops and defiant words aimed at the Russian Bear in the Far North, U.S. diplomatic cables indicate that Stephen Harper doesn't believe there's a threat of military conflict there. He told NATO it is not wanted in the Arctic because there's no likelihood of war. The Globe and Mail 


Arctic Council Shows What it is Capable of. The Arctic Council yesterday showed off its potential, with eight countries and indigenous organisations signing off on Arctic-wide search and rescue provisions. "This is not a step forward for the council - this a great leap forward", said Alexander Shestakov, Director of WWF's Global Arctic Programme. World Wildlife Foundation 


Fish Marketing Changes Sparked by Warmer Ocean on Research Agenda. NORWEGIAN scientists are playing their part in a new European Commission project, entitled ACCESS, designed to evaluate the economic impact of a warmer Arctic Ocean. And the research includes study of how climate change could change market conditions for fisheries projects as well as looking at possible fish stock redistribution. Fish News 


BP CEO: Exploring Arctic With TNK-BP Still Good Value. BP PLC (BP) still sees value in exploring the Russian Arctic with Rosneft (ROSN.RS) through its TNK-BP joint venture rather than alone, Chief Executive Robert Dudley said Friday.  Asked whether the new terms of the deal, mandated by an international arbitration panel May 6, still represented good value for BP, Dudley said: "I think it does, sure."  "We can bring our capabilities to bear as we have done before and do something that is good for shareholders," Dudley told Dow Jones Newswires. "Whether or not that is something Rosneft wants to do remains to be seen." Wall Street Journal 


Alaskans Travel to Greenland for Arctic Conference. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell on Thursday called a multilateral search-and-rescue agreement a "legacy" decision for regional cooperation in the Arctic. Treadwell was part of a U.S. delegation in Greenland this week for a meeting of the Arctic Council. Public leaders from eight nations, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, signed the agreement Thursday. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 


Grants to Police, Firefighters Would Shrink in Effort to Trim Bill's Cost. House Republican appropriators want to cut the Department of Homeland Security's budget for the second consecutive year, with grants for state and local police and firefighters once more taking deep reductions under a draft fiscal 2012 spending bill for the department. The legislation, scheduled for consideration Friday by the Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, also rejects an administration request to raise airline passenger security fees and makes a rare reduction to the Coast Guard budget. But it does propose increased funding for two border security agencies, for disaster relief and for the Transportation Security Administration. Congressional Quarterly


Coastal Nations Urged to Preserve Arctic Waters. Two hundred miles above Canada's most northern shore lies a body of international water that has been covered in ice for more than 800,000 years - a sea the size of the Mediterranean kept beyond reach of commercial fishing interests by a vast frozen dome of white.  But the ice shield is melting and no agreements are in place to prevent boats from China, Japan and other fishing nations from entering the High Arctic to reap an undersea bounty that could become accessible in just a few years. Globe and Mail 


U.S. Agreed to Hold Off on Arctic Sovereignty Claim During 2008 Election. The U.S. embassy in Canada apparently persuaded Washington to delay the release of a potentially controversial White House policy directive on the Arctic for fear that it could influence the outcome of the October 2008 Canadian federal election, according to a diplomatic cable from the latest batch of secret documents released by WikiLeaks. The revelation Thursday came as leaders of the eight Arctic Council nations - including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Canada's Health Minister Leona Agluqakk - were gathered in Greenland for a summit in which a co-operative Arctic search-and-rescue regime was to be finalized and other pressing issues, such as climate change and oil and gas development, were to be discussed. Vancouver Sun 


Cooperation Is Pledged by Nations of the Arctic. The eight Arctic nations pledged Thursday to create international protocols to prevent and clean up offshore oil spills in areas of the region that are becoming increasingly accessible to exploration because of a changing climate. The Arctic Council - the United States, Russia, Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden - said the protocols would be modeled on a separate agreement signed here in Nuuk on Thursday to coordinate search-and-rescue operations for over 13 million square miles of ocean.  New York Times  

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 295, to amend the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act to authorize funds to acquire hydrographic data and provide hydrographic services specific to the Arctic for safe navigation, delineating the United States extended continental shelf, and the monitoring and description of coast changes. (Young- House subcommittee hearing held)


H.R. 991, to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act to allow importation of polar bear trophies taken in sport hunts in Canada before the date the polar bear was determined to be a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. (Young- subcommittee hearing held)

Future Events     


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. 


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. 


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. SCICEXicediminisharcticNational 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. Confirmed speakers include the Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Research, RADM Nevin Carr Jr., and the Commandant of the US Coast Guard ADM Robert Papp. 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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