Arctic Update Header
November 9, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will continue to consider a tax withholding repeal. The Senate may also begin work on a net neutrality disapproval resolution. The House is not in session.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


10-2011 StormStorm Begins to Whip Western Alaska Coast. Villages and towns across Alaska's western and northwest coasts braced Tuesday for a winter megastorm that the National Weather Service says could be among the worst on record. Forecasters warned of life-threatening surf, wind and snow clobbering villages along the Bering and Chukchi sea coasts Tuesday night and today. Some villagers moved to higher ground. Officials in Nome evacuated half of the city's Front Street, the famous finish line of the Iditarod Trail. Anchorage Daily News 


Kivalina Attempts to Contain Storm Panic. Officials in the Northwest Alaska community of Kivalina, trying to dispel fears among villagers as a massive storm bears down on the region, said the city is preparing the school for use as a long-term shelter. There are no plans to evacuate the village as happened in 2007, said city administrator Janet Mitchell late Tuesday morning. "The people are almost in panic mode and I'm trying to alleviate that," Mitchell said. On short-wave radio, Facebook and the city's website, she plans to let the 300-plus residents know that Kivalina will be ready when the meteorological monster makes landfall Tuesday night. Alaska Dispatch


The Arctic. The sea ice continues to melt away more each summer and the U.S. Senate remains stalled on ratifying the Law of the Sea Treaty. But the Coast Guard is beefing up its arctic presence, research vessels are surveying the sea floor, and other nations are beginning to send cargo through Arctic routes. Talk of Alaska



Interior Department Plan Will Include More Gulf, Alaska Leases. The Obama administration on Tuesday is set to release its first five-year offshore drilling plan, opening up the Beaufort, Chukchi seas, the Cook Inlet off the coast of Alaska as well as more areas in the Gulf of Mexico, sources familiar with the announcement told National Journal. By expanding drilling in the Arctic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, where drilling is already ongoing, but not aggressively opening up other areas such as the Atlantic Ocean, President Obama is striking a delicate balance of trying to appease drilling proponents but avoiding the ire of environmentalists and drilling opponents. Government Executive 


Arctic MapWho Does the Arctic Belong To? Who has a right to a share of "the Arctic pie", only coastal nations or all of the countries of the world? The coastal countries insist that the Arctic Region is their domain, and geographically, they have a reason for thinking so. While trying to settle any issues of discord within the Arctic Council, Russia, the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark have each developed their own strategy for tapping the resources of the disputed region. In September 2008, Russia adopted The Basic Principles of State Policy regarding the Arctic, and Norway its Northern Strategy. In January 2009, the United States passed its Arctic Doctrine, and in the summer of 2009 Canada introduced its Northern Strategy. The Voice of Russia


Ambassador Analyzes Arctic Policy. Arctic border states must cooperate to regulate the Arctic region and preserve its unique, rapidly-changing ecosystem, Danish Ambassador to the United States Peter Taksoe-Jensen said in a lecture on Tuesday in the Haldeman Center [Dartmouth]. Taksoe-Jensen, a former assistant secretary general of legal affairs to the United Nations, spoke to an audience of approximately 50 people in his lecture, "Arctic Challenges and Opportunities: A Danish Perspective." The Dartmouth  


canadian flagWhy Canada's University of the Arctic Failed. In October, Canada's federal government announced that it will be cutting its funding to the University of the Arctic from a current annual rate of $700,00 to $150,000.  Some commentators presented this as evidence that the federal government does not care, or does not care very much, about northern education.  One might wonder instead why the federal government, and in particular the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), was supporting UArctic in the North instead of the three territorial governments, education being a provincial/territorial responsibility after all. Alaska Dispatch 


China Hunting for Energy Resources in the Arctic. The pristine waters and ice sheets of the Arctic have long captured the imagination of explorers, but with global warming causing large-scale melting and opening up the region for resource extraction, interest is now also growing among governments and energy giants. Chief among the outside players is China, which has a burning need for new sources of energy to fuel an economy that is the world's second-largest and which continues to grow at more than nine per cent a year. China may not itself have a coastline that stretches to the Arctic, but that is not putting the country off trying to secure a share of the energy assets that lie within the area. The National 


Commercial Fishing Safety Under Review. New safety recommendations for tougher standards for commercial fishing vessels and crew training have been issued, U.S. officials said. The National Transportation Safety Board issued the safety recommendations to the U.S. Coast Guard Tuesday, an NTSB release said. "The commercial fishing industry continues to have the highest fatality rate of all occupations in the United States; the safety hazards of this industry are unacceptable," NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said in a statement. UPI


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered.

Future Events                                   


Arctic Policy Forum: The Role of Science in Responsible Development, November 15, 2011. Join the Institute of the North for this quarter's Arctic Policy Forum.  This presentation and networking event will focus on science and collaboration in the Arctic and will feature Michael Macrander, Lead Scientist for Shell and Fran Ulmer, Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. The Institute of the North's Arctic Policy Forums are a new way of engaging in Arctic issues. These quarterly networking events  serve to underline and elevate Alaska's role in the Arctic.  Informal policy presentations followed by networking events invite policy makers and administrators, researchers, community leaders and interested citizens together for an informal sharing opportunity. Participants will hear expert presentations on key policy findings and positions; emerging Arctic technologies; and challenges facing infrastructure development in the Arctic. Participants will also have the opportunity to spend time getting to know key stakeholders in Alaska's Arctic.

White House Tribal Nations Conference, December 2, 2011. President Obama will host the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Department of the Interior. As part of President Obama's ongoing outreach to the American people, this conference will provide leaders from the 565 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration. Each federally recognized tribe will be invited to send one representative to the conference. This will be the third White House Tribal Nations Conference for the Obama Administration, and continues to build upon the President's commitment to strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country.  


AGU Fall Meeting, December 5-9, 2011. The American Geophysical Union's ("AGU") Fall Meeting to connect with colleagues, broaden their knowledge base, and embrace the joy of science.  The groundbreaking research presented at this world-renowned event is critical to advancing our understanding of the natural world and to addressing the challenges society faces as they relate to our science. As an organization, AGU works to unite Earth and space scientists who are dedicated to the common goal: scientific discovery for the benefit of humanity.  One of the most important ways we do this is through the Fall Meeting - an event that embodies who we are as a scientific organization and that is key to helping us achieve our organizational mission, vision and goals. 


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 16-20, 2012. The symposium was first held in 2002 to connect scientists in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and beyond in an effort to collaborate and communicate on research


 activities in the marine regions off Alaska. There will be plenary and poster sessions featuring a broad spectrum of ocean science on issues of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fish and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. There will also be speakers, workshops and special sessions.


US Arctic Research Commission meeting in Washington, DC, January 25-27, 2012. The Commission will meet jointly with the Canadian Polar Commission on the 25th, and then with representatives from the federal government and other entities to discuss Arctic research issues. An agenda will be provided in early January here


Arctic Science Summit Week 2012, April 20-22, 2012. The summit will provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. Side meetings organized by stakeholders in Arctic science and policy are also expected. More information to follow. 


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring together over 2,000 Arctic and Antarctic researchers, policy and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including indigenous peoples. The conference is hosted by the Canadian IPY Program Office in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, among other groups. Each day of the conference will feature a program of keynote speakers, plenary panel discussions, parallel science sessions, as well as dedicated poster sessions. The conference-wide plenaries will explore themes related to topics of polar change, global linkages, communities and health, ecosystem services, infrastructure, resources and security. Other sessions will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the application of research findings, policy implications and how to take polar knowledge to action. 


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.  


The Arctic Imperative Summit, July 29-August 1, 2012. The summit will be hosted by Alaska Dispatch and will bring together leading voices in this conversation, including residents from the small villages that comprise Alaska's coastal communities; state, national and international leaders; the heads of shipping and industry; as well as international policymakers and the news media. The goal of the summit is to sharpen the focus on the policy and investment needs of Alaska's Arctic through a series of high level meetings, presentations, investor roundtables and original research.


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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