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March 29, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House is expected to adopt the 2013 GOP budget plan and consider a short-term extension of the surface transportation bill. The Senate will consider oil and gas and high-coming earner tax provisions.




Fulbright Arctic Chairs, 2013-2014. Fulbright Arctic Chair grants are available for researchers/lecturers in Arctic sciences. The awards send one Norwegian grantee to the US and one American grantee to Norway each year. Grant Activity: Lecturing component in collaboration with a host university of the candidate's choice, within any of 4 academic areas: Arctic Biology, Arctic Geology, Arctic Technology and Arctic Geophysics. Conduct research on scholarly issues within the above academic areas. Chairs are expected to engage with faculty inside and outside the institution, give public lectures, hold seminars, supervise the research and writing of Master's and Ph.D. candidates, and mentor students. Fulbright Norway  


Polarcus Takes Delivery of Arctic-ready Seismic Vessel. Polarcus Limited reports that Polarcus Amani AS, a member of the Polarcus Group, has taken delivery of Polarcus Amani, the seventh 3D seismic vessel to date to join the Polarcus fleet, all with the Ulstein X-Bow. The vessel was built at Ulstein Verft in Norway and following a short shakedown will commence a previously announced charter for TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA (TGS). Polarcus Amani is the first of two SX134 design 12-14 streamer Arctic-ready 3D seismic vessels being built at Ulstein Verft AS and the third vessel in the Polarcus fleet of the Ulstein SX134 design, with an overall length of 92 m and a beam of 21 m. Marine Log 


PCBs Levels Down in Norwegian Polar Bears. It's never been easy to be a polar bear. They may have to go months without eating. Their preferred food, seal, requires enormous luck and patience to catch. Add to that the melting of Arctic sea ice due to cPolar bearlimate change, and the poisoning of the Arctic by toxic chemicals, and it's easy to see why polar bears worldwide are in trouble. Among all the bad news, however, comes one possible bright spot. In a study of PCBs in polar bear cubs in Svalbard, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) have found that blood levels of PCBs and related contaminants in polar bear cubs appear to have dropped by as much as 59 per cent between 1998 and 2008. At the same time, levels of these contaminants in their mothers were as much as 55 per cent lower over the same period. EurekAlert 


Weather Runs Hot and Cold, So Scientists Look to the Ice. Some people call what has been happening the last few years "weather weirding," and March is turning out to be a fine example. The longer answer is that researchers are developing theories that, should they withstand critical scrutiny, may tie at least some of the erratic weather to global warming. Specifically, suspicion is focused these days on the drastic decline of sea ice in the Arctic, which is believed to be a direct consequence of the human release of greenhouse gases. New York Times 


Arctic MapEconomics Fuel Arctic Sovereignty Claims. As if leaders of Canadian and U.S. companies were not already preoccupied with making sure the $1 trillion in annual two-way trade between the world's two largest partners moves as smoothly as possible, now the commercial potential of the quickly melting Arctic has caught their attention. A survey of top business leaders on both sides of the border, released last week by the Canadian-American Business Council in Washington, found that "the ambiguity of the Arctic" is among the top 10 on their priority list of cross-border issues. As expected, implementation of the U.S-Canada Beyond the Border initiative announced last year, construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline and Canada joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership top the list. The Chronicle Herald 


Norway Spending Plan Outlines New Strategy. The Norwegian government's white paper on long-term defense spending underscores the need to improve the armed forces' operational capability through a combination of measures, including increasing spending on defense; the recruitment of more military personnel; and modernizing fighter, naval and rapid-mobilization land force capabilities. The white paper, announced on March 23, specifically covers the military's annual defense spending needs from 2013 to 2016. A large segment of the proposed annual 7 percent increase in the defense budget over those four years will be consumed by the F-35 acquisition program. Norway has allocated $7 billion to the defense budget in 2012. The 7 percent increase in the defense budget is set to take effect in 2013. Defense News 


russian flagOpinion: Romney's Wrong About Russia. Dear Gov. Romney, This week, you referred to Russia as the "No. 1 geopolitical foe" of the United States. My message is simple: The Cold War is over; Russia is not our geopolitical foe. This mischaracterization of an important bilateral relationship is so significant that I feel compelled to expound on the matter and expand my message. Rather than strategically counter one another at every opportunity (as Gov. Romney contends), the United States and Russia collaborate strategically on some of the world's most critical issues. Together, we fight international terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and human trafficking. Russian cooperation enabled the deployment and return of U.S. troops to Afghanistan. In consultation with the United States, Russia prepared for entry into the World Trade Organization. Together, in bilateral presidential commissions, U.S. and Russian leaders and experts engage in dialogue about human rights, rule of law, trade, environmental stewardship. Americans and Russians visit one another's monuments and museums and attend one another's universities. Politico


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday. 

Future Events               

Congressional hearing in Anchorage on National Ocean Policy, April 3, 2012, Anchorage, 10 am. The House Natural Resources Committee's
Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs Oversight will hold a Field Hearing on "Alaska's Sovereignty In Peril: The National Ocean Policy's Goal to Federalize Alaska." More info here. Witnesses include:


Majority (R)
Owen Graham, Exec. Director, Alaska Forest Associationhearing
Rebecca Logan, Alaska Support Industry Alliance
Stephanie Madsen, United Fishermen of Alaska
Kara Moriarty, Alaska Oil and Gas Association
Fred Parady, Alaska Miners Association
Governor Sean Parnell, State of Alaska
Rick Rogers, Resource Development Council for Alaska
Minority (D)
Honorable Reggie Joule (Northern Waters Task Force)
John Farrell, Executive Director, US Arctic Research Commission 


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 here


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring IPYmeetinglogotogether 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. Click here


USARC Commission Meeting, April 27-28, 2012. The 97th meeting of the CPClogoUSARC will be held in Montreal, Canada, in conjunction with the "From Knowledge to  


usarc logo large

Action" IPY meeting referred to above. The Commission will meet on April 27-28, and will meet jointly with the Canadian Polar Commission on the afternoon of the 27th, to discuss common interests in Arctic Research. Details to follow. 


Arctic Forum 2012, April 30-May 1, 2012. The Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. will host the forum in conjunction with their 24th annual meeting. Both events will be in Washington, D.C. The Arctic Forum is part of the American Geophysical Union's Science Policy Conference, which will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The Conference will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions. Within the Science Policy Conference, the Arctic Forum will assess gaps and priority needs for arctic scientific information to inform decision makers in policy

formation for three key themes:

                - Governance and Security in the Arctic;

                - Transportation and Energy Development; and

                - Changing Arctic Ecosystems.

The Forum will examine the current state of policymaker and public understanding of the issues. An important goal will be to foster an increased capacity for dialogue and action on arctic science-policy issues.


[Postponed]American Polar Society 75th Anniversary Meeting and Symposium, "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics", to occur in 2013, The Explorers Club, NYC. For 75 years, the American Polar Society has both documented and communicated polar activities to the interested world. This meeting will bring together the current leaders in science, government, commerce, and diplomacy for a state-of-the-art forecast of the next seventy-five years in a world influenced more than ever before by the destiny of the Arctic and Antarctic. Click 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. Click here.  


15th 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 healthmeetinglogoindigenous 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. Click here


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-28, 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. Click here


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 inuitconferencelogomuseums 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, click here. 



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