Arctic Update Header
November 5, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.



Wyden Wyden Calls for Revising Law that Streamlines Natural-Gas Exports. The incoming top Senate Democrat on energy issues is taking a harder line on exports of liquefied natural gas, urging Congress to reconsider the law that limits regulators from blocking exports to any country with which the United States has signed a free-trade agreement. A 1992 energy law (PL 102-486) amended the World War II-era Natural Gas Act so that exports of natural gas to countries with U.S. free-trade agreements are automatically to be deemed in the "public interest," which is the test the Energy Department is required to perform for determining whether to allow exports. Congressional Quarterly


Boehner House Speaker Expects 'Bridge' on Fiscal Cliff. House Speaker John Boehner doesn't expect a grand bargain avoiding the fiscal cliff to materialize in a lame duck session of Congress, but that doesn't mean the country is headed over the edge. Instead, Boehner said Sunday, he thinks Congress and the White House will find a way to punt the looming deadlines on the debt ceiling, the Bush tax cuts and the budget sequester into 2013. "Lame ducks aren't noted for doing big things. And frankly I'm not sure that lame ducks should do big things. So the most likely outcome would be some type of a bridge," Boehner said in an interview with National Journal Sunday, aboard a campaign bus taking him around Ohio in a final sprint before Election Day. "But the impact of the election is certainly going to have an impact on how this plays out." Government Executive


Decades of Arctic Research Rewarded With Membership in Royal Society. In almost 50 years of work the High Arctic, scientist John England has made numerous discoveries, sometimes while having lunch. One sunny summer day in 1971, he and a colleague climbed a beautiful mountain up to a tall stone cairn on a small island just off Ellesmere Island, about as far north as Canada goes. Looking across the water, they could see Greenland 18 kilometers away. The two sat down to eat a sandwich and take in the spectacular view, their backs against the cairn. England stretched out his leg. Edmonton Journal


10-2011 Storm Alaska Storms Could be Linked to Loss of Arctic Sea Ice: Researcher Says Loss of Sea Ice Wakens the Jet Stream, Causing Severe Weather. The strong storms which struck south-central Alaska repeatedly in September could be directly related to the loss of sea ice in the Arctic. Jennifer Francis, a research professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said the severe weather is a sign that climate change is a reality. "And they're happening not in the next generation or years from now, but they're happening right now before our eyes. But you won't see the changes if your eyes are closed and unfortunately we see ourselves these days in a society where a lot of eyes aren't open, at least not as open as they should be," she said. CBC News


begich Begich Renews Call for Oversight Hearing on Federal Subsistence Management. Following on momentum built during the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention last week, Sen. Mark Begich today issued a letter to Sen. Daniel Akaka, chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, renewing his call for an Alaska-based field hearing of the committee to address food security and subsistence rights for Alaska Natives. Begich has been pressing the committee and its chair for a hearing on the matter for more than a year. His first letter to Akaka was issued in February 2011. Senator Mark Begich


Number of People Using Food Banks in Canada's Far North on the Rise. The annual Food Banks Canada Hunger Count report says the number of people using food banks in Canada's North almost doubled in the past four years. It says that 2,316 people used food banks across the North in March 2012, up from 1,340 people in March 2008. "Considering the difficulty in maintaining food banks in the isolated and remote communities that we have, that speaks volumes as to the more and more people who are using those services," said Western Arctic Member of Parliament Dennis Bevington. Alaska Dispatch


Snow Dragon The World Wants Canada's Backyard: Kent: Russia, China, South Korea, and the Ukraine are just four countries building new icebreakers in an effort to lift their Arctic presence. These are just four of the countries building new generation icebreakers so they can join the great polar resource rush in what amounts to an unprecedented challenge to Canada's Arctic sovereignty. Russia alone plans to have 30 new ships by 2030 with a mixed fleet of diesel/electric and nuclear powered vessels. The keel of the first conventionally powered icebreaker was laid two weeks ago at JSC Vyborg Shipyard in St Petersburg. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended and left no doubt about the significance of the occasion. Toronto Sun


[Canada] Inuit Villages Block Seismic Tests in Arctic Waters: The villagers' victory in court forces the Canadian and territorial governments to consult them over use of a region abundant with marine life and possibly oil and gas. Above the Arctic Circle in Canada near Greenland, five Inuit villages have won a court order that blocks a German icebreaker from conducting seismic tests of an underwater region that abounds with marine life - and possibly with oil, gas and minerals. For the villagers who live in this mostly treeless region of fjords, icebergs and polar bears, the case was a victory that forces the national and territorial governments to consult them over the use of their homeland. The decision comes as Canada, Alaska and other Arctic regions are deciding whether to allow oil and gas development in Arctic waters that are covered by ice for nine or more months each year. Seattle Times

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered Friday.

Future Events                      


1st International Symposium on Small Satellites for Arctic and Maritime Operations and Research: November 9, 2012. Taksha University; the Global Maritime Awareness Institute for Safety, Security, and Stewardship; The Taksha Institute for Small Satellite Space Systems; and the Journal of Small Satellites will host this symposium. The symposium will consider the safety and security of the Arctic environment and global maritime assets, including the protection of the maritime environment and its resources, as well as the people and vessels who traverse the waters of the world.


U.S.-Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum (2012) Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum 2012, November 13-15, 2012. The Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum is a biannual event with representation from government, industry, academia, Aboriginal groups, and northerners from both Canada and the United States. The forum provides an opportunity for United States and Canadian decision makers, regulators, Aboriginals, industry members, non-governmental organizations and scientists to discuss current scientific research and future directions for northern oil and gas activities. The focus is on technical, scientific, and engineering research that can be applied to support management and regulatory processes related to oil and gas exploration and development in the North. The North Slope Science Initiative and the U.S. Department of the Interior is hosting, in partnership with our counterparts in Canada and the United States, the third United States - Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum from November 13 to 15, 2012, at the Hilton Hotel, Anchorage, Alaska. The Forum will showcase the value of Northern scientific research in support of sound decision-making for oil and gas management. 


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. Opportunities for community involvement in interdisciplinary planning will be highlighted and input solicited.


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.


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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