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December 5, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider a US-Russia trade bill and several nominations. The House will consider a number of legislative provisions under suspensions of the rules.


Arctic Technology Conference, December 3-5, 2012. The burgeoning Arctic arena offers a host of opportunities for companies that can solve the complex environmental, physical and regulatory challenges it presents. ATC 2012 will include a highly specialized technical program, education courses, networking events, and an exhibition - all deisgned to help ensure that oil and gas professionals throughout the world are prepared to succeed in these challenging Arctic arenas.


Arctic Transportation Infrastructure: Response Capacity and Sustainable Development in the Arctic, December 3-6, 2012. The Arctic Council's Sustainable Development Working Group approved a project during the Swedish Chairmanship (co-led by the United States and Iceland) to assess transportation infrastructure. The Arctic Marine and Aviation Transportation Infrastructure Initiative (AMATII) seeks to evaluate Northern infrastructure -ports, airports, and response capability - by inventorying maritime and aviation assets in the Arctic. As part of this project, the Institute of the North is hosting an Arctic transportation infrastructure conference 3-6 December at the Icelandair Hotel Natura in Reykjavik, Iceland. The conference theme is "Response Capacity and Sustainable Development in the Arctic." Participants will include policy makers and government officials; aviation and marine subject matter experts from the private, public, independent and academic sectors; as well as community leaders and Permanent Participants.


AGU Fall Meeting, December 3-7, 2012. The American Geophysical Union hosts in fall meeting in San Francisco. Roughly 20,000 scientists will be in attendance. On December 3rd, there will be a town hall meeting entitled "Scientific Drilling in the Polar Regions."The U.S. Ice Drilling Program Office (IDPO) is organizing a Town Hall meeting at the Fall AGU Meeting entitled "TH15G Scientific Drilling in the Polar Regions". Ice sheets and ocean sediments hold important climate evidence from the past. International collaboration for drilling in the polar regions requires coordination between science, technology, and logistics.  The research community is invited to hear updates on recent planning by the IDPO/IDDO, IPICS, ANDRILL, IODP, SCAR-ACE, and WAIS initiatives. 


ISAC town hall meeting, right after the SEARCH Town Hall meeting that ends at 7:15. Moscone West Room 2010.  Wednesday, December 5
GC33B - Links Between Rapid Arctic Change and Mid-latitude Weather Patterns I Posters
1:40 PM - 6:00 PM; Hall A-C (Moscone South)

Thursday, December 6
GC44B - Links Between Rapid Arctic Change and Mid-latitude Weather Patterns II 
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM; 3001 (Moscone West)

Conveners:James White; Jennifer Francis

Invited Speakers: Stephen Vavrus, James Screen, James Overland, Judah Cohen




Bill Shuster on Ray LaHood: Looks Like He's Staying. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood might be sticking around at DOT into President Barack Obama's second term, according to a top Hill lawmaker who recently spoke with the secretary. LaHood told incoming House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) that the two would be working together in the near term, Shuster told POLITICO. Speculation has swirled around LaHood's future after he recently backed off comments made last year that he would retire after the president's first term. Politico


BoehnerPurged Conservatives Are Taking Aim at Leadership. The purge of four rebellious Republicans from plum committee assignments Monday is provoking anger in some quarters of the House Republican Conference, with the dissidents threatening to more aggressively push against leadership's agenda. It is unclear whether conservative anger will be offset by the fear the moves inspired in would-be collaborators. Congressional Quarterly


Californians Balk at Proposal to Ease Ship Pollution Rules. A group of California Democrats urged the House and Senate appropriators to reject policy riders in future spending bills that would give the shipping industry an alternative method to comply with air pollution standards. Appropriators in both chambers are considering a provision that would establish a pilot program to allow shippers to average a vessel's emissions over its entire voyage to comply with new EPA air pollution limits, Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Henry A. Waxman said in a Dec. 4 letter. The EPA finalized standards in 2010 for an "emissions control area" along the U.S. coastline, a program that helps states like California meet national air quality standards. Congressional Quarterly 


capitalLowey Wins Race for Top House Democratic Appropriator. Rep. Nita M. Lowey of New York will become the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee in the 113th Congress, beating out a colleague with more seniority in a vote Tuesday before the House Democratic Steering Committee. Lowey, who will be the first women to hold the post, won the initial round of the contest over Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio. An aide said the vote was 36-10. Kaptur earlier on Tuesday told reporters that she and Lowey had a "gentleladies' agreement" to abide by the decision of the steering committee and not contest the vote before the whole caucus. Congressional Quarterly    

EPA Urged to Work with States on Utility Emissions Caps. A prominent environment group unveiled a blueprint Tuesday to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants by tailoring standards to individual states' energy mixes and encouraging compliance through methods beyond simply moving away from fossil-fuel usage. The plan by the Natural Resources Defense Council calls on the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under a rarely used provision in the Clean Air Act (PL 101-549) that they say provides a framework to work with states on flexible compliance options. Congressional Quarterly 


caribouUS Scales Back Planned Habitat Protection for Reindeer. The federal government on Wednesday unveiled its final habitat protection plan for the last U.S. woodland caribou, popularly known as wild reindeer, reducing the amount of land to be set aside for the endangered animal by more than 90 percent. Reuters


Fire and Ice: Wildfire Darkening Greenland Snowpack, Increasing Melting. Satellite observations have revealed the first direct evidence of smoke from Arctic wildfires drifting over the Greenland ice sheet, tarnishing the ice with soot and making it more likely to melt under the sun. At the American Geophysical Union meeting this week, an Ohio State University researcher presented images from NASA's Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite, which captured smoke from Arctic fires billowing out over Greenland during the summer of 2012. Ohio State


China Demands Timetable to $100 B ln Climate Aid for Developing World. China led developing nations on Wednesday in demanding rich countries give details of a promised surge in aid to $100 billion a year by 2020 to help the poor cope with global warming. But most rich nations, facing economic slowdown at home that cut overall development aid in 2011, said they were unable to stake out a timetable for rising aid at deadlocked global climate talks. Reuters


russian flagArctic Cultivation of Polar Agricultural Industry. The Far North of Russia is not limited to huge gas and oil reserves. The severe climate does not prevent the steady growth of production of environmentally friendly food products that find demand not only in Russia, but also in other countries. The authorities of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District (YaNAD) do not count only on venison and valuable fish species. Vyacheslav Kucherenko, head of the Department for Development of the YaNAD Agro-Industrial Complex, talked about reducing the dependence of the region on the food products brought from the "mainland" in his interview to RusBusinessNews. The Yamal authorities set ambitious objectives on provision of the region with local food products. What are pre-conditions for their accomplishment? RusBusiness News


arctic shippingArctic Shipping is a Disaster Waiting to Happen [Comment]. When the Malaysian freighter Selendang Ayu grounded in the Aleutian Islands eight years ago this week, it was a tragic reminder of the risks of northern shipping. While in route from Seattle to China in a Bering Sea storm, the ship's engine failed. As it drifted toward shore, there were no adequate ocean tugs available to take it in-tow, and it grounded off Unalaska on Dec. 8, 2004. Six crewmen were lost, the vessel broke in half, and its entire cargo and 335,000 gallons of fuel spilled, killing thousands of seabirds and other wildlife, closing fisheries, and contaminating many miles of shoreline.  The tragedy was caused by a combination of human error, financial pressures, mechanical failure, and lax government oversight. For a time, the disaster focused attention the risks of northern shipping, but complacency quickly returned. Today, the Selendang disaster is all but forgotten, and with increasing ship traffic, the risk is now greater than ever. Juneau Empire


Coast Guard SealHouse Approved Two Year Coast Guard Bill. A bill to institute common sense reforms for the U.S. Coast Guard, reduce regulatory burdens on small business, and uphold the Coast Guard's ability to carry out its important and diverse missions unanimously passed the House of Representatives today. The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012 (H.R. 2838) was first introduced in the House by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) and Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ). This bill initially passed the House in November 2011. The Senate adopted a revised version of the House measure in September and today's measure, which passed by voice vote, reflects a resolution of the differences between the House- and Senate-passed bills. The measure now goes back to the Senate. The Maritime Executive 


DNV Launch Arctic Offshore Structure Design Framework: DNV with Key Industry Players Develop an Enhanced Design Framework for Structures Deployed in Open Water & Harsh Areas. In order to ensure a common, transparent and documented approach to achieving acceptable safety levels for offshore structures in cold-climate regions, a DNV-led joint industry project (JIP), ICESTRUCT, has since 2009 worked to develop a designer-friendly and reliable framework based on the ISO 19906 Arctic Offshore Structure standard. Per Olav Moslet, Arctic technology research program director at DNV explains: "The governing design loads for offshore structures in Arctic areas are usually based on interaction with ice, and it is very important that these loads and their effects are treated consistently. Due to the lack of a common industry approach for floating structures in ice, it has previously been difficult for designers to establish the appropriate design loads effects." MarineLink


Arctic Naval Facility Enters Design Phase. Progress is being made on the Nanisivik Naval Facility near Arctic Bay, Nunavut. Prime Minister Stephen Harper first announced the $100 million project in 2007. Earlier this year, plans for the facility were significantly scaled back. Officials blamed the high cost of building in the North saying the $100 million committed to the project won't go as far as predicted. CBC News


Climate Change Brings Arctic Resources Closer. Every kid knows the North Pole is hallowed ground, free of the grasping claims of nation states. Santa, after all, is a law unto himself, who, presumably, has scant need for the services of lawyers and other mortals. And, in fact, the latest map documenting the territorial ambitions of Canada, Russia, Denmark, Norway and the United States shows an area adjacent to the pole that is, at least notionally, unclaimed. Think of it as Santa Land - for now, anyway. The rest of the vast seabed between Canada and Russia is more or less up for grabs, as five nations around the pole seek legal extensions of their territorial waters beyond the established 200-nautical-mile limit. Calgary Herald

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                      


Marine Mammal Commission meeting on Tribal Consultation, December 10-12, 2012. The Commission plans to meet with representatives of other federal agencies, Alaska Native organizations, the Environmental Law Institute, and other interested parties to review and seek ways to improve consultations between federal agencies and Alaska Native Tribes. The focus will be on the consultation process and will include, but not be limited to, matters involving marine mammals. In the course of the meeting, the Commission expects to discuss issues related to the authorities for Alaska Native consultations, the role of the Indigenous People's Council for Marine Mammals (IPCoMM) in consultations, the relationship between consultation and co-management, and lessons learned from conflict avoidance agreements. 


Marine Mammal Commission Meeting on Research and Management Priorities, December 14, 2012. The Commission plans to meet with regional management and scientific officials in each of the National Marine Fisheries Service's six regions to identify the most pressing marine mammal research and management needs. The Commission will use these meetings to develop a set of national priorities for guiding federal conservation efforts for marine mammals. Members of the public are invited to attend these meetings and to provide comments concerning priority issues.


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 21-25, 2013. Since 2002, scientists from Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond have come to the Symposium to communicate research activities in the marine regions off Alaska. Researchers and students in marine science re-connect with old colleagues and meet new ones. Plenary and poster sessions feature a broad spectrum of ocean science. Hear the latest in the fields of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. The Symposium also features compelling keynote speakers, workshops and special sessions.


Alaska Forum on the Environment, February 4-8, 2013. Hosted by The Alaska Forum, Inc. the 2013 Alaska Forum on the Environment will follow up on previous forums by offering training and information, includes plenary sessions, on: climate change, emergency response, environmental regulations, fish and wildlife populations, rural issues, energy, military issues, business issues, solid waste, contaminants, contaminated site cleanup, mining and others.  For 2013, the forum will expand forum content to provide information to help better understand issues surrounding coastal communities. This will include tsunami impacts, marine debris, and coastal erosion.


Wakefield28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes

and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors.  


Arctic Observing Summit 2013, April 30- May 2, 2013. The Arctic Observing Summit is led by the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC). It is a Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON) task and part of the broader SAON implementation process, which is led by the Arctic Council jointly with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). AOS is a high-level, biennial summit that aims to provide community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, coordination and sustained long term (decades) operation of an international network of arctic observing systems. The AOS will provide a platform to address urgent and broadly recognized needs of arctic observing across all components of the arctic system, including the human component. It will foster international communication and coordination of long-term observations aimed at improving understanding and responding to system-scale arctic change. The AOS will be an international forum for optimizing resource allocation through coordination and exchange among researchers, funding agencies, and others involved or interested in long term observing activities, while minimizing duplication and gaps.

Go to ISCA Town Hall meeting, at the American Geophysical Union meeting, Moscone West Room 2010, right after SEARCH meeting that ends at 7:15 pm. 


International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013.

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, and the University of British Columbia, Canada, host a conference to consider Arctic Ocean acidification. Topics will include

response of Arctic Ocean to increasing CO2 and related changes in the global carbon cycle, social and policy challenges, Arctic Ocean acidification and ecological and biogeochemical coupling, implications of changing Arctic Ocean acidification for northern (commercial and subsistence) fisheries, and future developments.

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