Arctic Update Header
July 3, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 



The House and Senate are in recess this week.




ScienceScience, Politics Collide Over Extreme Weather, Climate Change. According to some environmentalists and scientists, climate change was knocking down Washington's door-- and its power lines-- this past weekend. About 4.3 million people throughout the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic lost power over the weekend in the wake of a series of unusually severe and long-lasting thunderstorms- know as "super derecho"- that hit the region on Friday night in part because of the region's record-high temperatures. "I think climate change is contributing to the severity of these storms because it's adding energy to climate system," said Dan Lashof, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's climate and clean air program. "We are clearly seeing a trend toward more extreme precipitation events, more severe storms of this kind." Government Executive 


Arctic MapEU To Enhance Its Policy in the Arctic Region. The Commission outlined the way forward for the European Union's engagement in the Arctic on 3 July, saying that the Arctic region plays important role in the Earth's environment. The Commission based the strategy on the words 'knowledge, responsibility, and engagement'. The actions should help with research, sustainable development, and promote green technologies for sustainable shipping and mining. "Developments in the Arctic add further urgency to our work to combat global climate change, and are of increasing strategic, economic and environmental importance to the European Union," said the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton. New Europe


shellShell's Biggest Regulator Challenges in Arctic Alaska May Yet Lie Ahead. A chunk of ice the size of a small stadium, perhaps a rogue remnant of a distant ice island, recently ground ashore near the Northwest Alaska village of Wainwright, providing a textbook example for the kind of subsea phenomena Royal Dutch Shell must watch for as it considers where to build hundreds of miles oil pipelines. Those pipelines won't be built unless the Netherlands-based oil giant finds a huge cache of oil -- a very real prospect, given Shell is giving itself 1 in 2 odds it could discover commercial quantities of crude off Alaska's northern coastline. The company is set to begin exploratory drilling in the coming weeks after years overcoming legal and regulatory hurdles. And one thing Shell is studying extra closely: Masses of ice whose underwater keels can potentially shred the seafloor and anything in their way, including an oil pipeline running to Alaska's shores. Alaska Dispatch


Northern Premiers Meet in Iqaluit. More territorial participation in the Arctic Council, concerns about high food prices and the ability to identify priority infrastructure projects were some of the points the territorial premiers discussed during their annual meeting. Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak, NWT Premier Bob McLeod and Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski met in Iqaluit on June 26 and 27 for the 10th Annual Northern Premiers' Forum. During a discussion on the territories' infrastructure needs, Aariak explained the lack of transportation - ports and inter-community roads - is linked to the high cost of living. She said the Northern premiers would like to work with Ottawa to suggest where infrastructure investments could me made. Northern News Service


caribouWhy is Alaska's Largest Caribou Herd Seeing a Steady Decline? Alaska's largest caribou herd continues to shrink as challenges on its huge range in Northwest Alaska continue to pose problems. The Western Arctic Herd numbered about 325,000 animals, according to the most-recent census by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Although that's just 5 percent less than the previous census in July 2009, it's about a third smaller than the herd's peak in 2003.  Since then, the population has steadily declined 4 to 6 percent a year. State wildlife biologists believe their counts are accurate. Caribou bunch up in tight groups in summer in response to harassment by flies and mosquitoes. Radio-collared caribou within the herd help biologists flying aerial surveys locate these groups. The number of known collared animals relative to the number actually found is an indicator of completeness. Alaska Dispatch 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events               


healthmeetinglogo15th International Congress on Circumpolar Health, August 5-10, 2012. This event 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.


98th meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission, August 9-10, 2012. Fairbanks, AK. For more information, go to USARC 98th Meeting Draft Agenda 


Week of the Arctic, August 13-18, 2012. The Arctic is front and center in peoples' minds-increased maritime traffic and new opportunities for development have brought about more reasons to understand and work toward safe and secure operations both on land and off Alaska's coast. To help Alaskans understand these critical challenges and issues at stake in the Arctic, the Institute convened the first Week of the Arctic last year, drawing over 550 participants to five events in four days. The 2012 Week of the Arctic will take place August 13-18 in Anchorage, Alaska. Week of the Arctic events will include:

The Week of the Arctic's signature event is the annual Robert O. Anderson Sustainable Arctic Award Dinner on Friday, August 17th. This year we'll be recognizing Red Dog Mine for their sustainable development in the North.


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-27, 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.


inuitconferencelogoArctic/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.  

USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter 

4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203, USA 
(703) 525-0111 (phone)