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September 4, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate have adjourned for the August recess.



Study Throws Cold Water on Arctic Oil, Gas Dreams. A Greenpeace picture shows activists holding a banner in front of the Gazprom 'Prirazlomnaya' oil drilling platform in the Barents Sea on August 25. The Arctic, often presented as the promised land by oil companies, is likely to play only a marginal role in providing for the planet's future energy needs, a Norwegian study claimed Tuesday. Phys.Org 


russian flag4,000 Tons of Waste Removed from Arctic Island. According to representatives of the National Park "Russian Arctic", the cleanup operation is part of a government program designed to clear Franz Josef Archipelago of technology-generated waste which accumulated in the Arctic between 1930 and 1990. A complete removal of waste from Alexandra Land Island, which is located in Franz Josef Land, is slated for the end of 2014. Voice of Russia 


canadian flagToxic Threat Exercise Wraps Up Operation: Emergency response involves multiple players as Nanook demonstrates Arctic sovereignty. More than 200 Canadian military personnel, Canadian Rangers and RCMP officers responded to a potential toxic chemical threat in Tsiigehtchic last week - although the threat was in reality a fictional scenario staged by the military for the Western Arctic portion of Operation Nanook 2012. However, the purpose of the operation has less to do with the actual incident chosen and more to do with demonstrating the Canadian military's ability to respond to remote Northern communities, said one of the military's top brass who was involved in the operation. Northern News Service 


New Arctic Oil Terminal Planned in Finnmark. Kirkenes can become the gateway to all the new Arctic shipping lanes that opens as the sea-ice melts away and new icebreaking tankers are designed, reports the Barents Observer. "We believe Gamneset is the best location in Sør-Varanger," Jacob B. Stolt-Nielsen told the BarentsObserver. He owns the newly established Norterminal AS, the company to build what they call the "new strategic oil-terminal in Finnmark." Gamneset is located near Kirkenes main airport in a fjord that shelters a possible new harbor and terminal facilities from the open and rough Barents Sea. Russian waters are just a few hours away. TankTerminals 


Healy, Coast GuardScientists Explore Changing Arctic Ocean. Scientists are setting sail on August 25 to study ocean acidification in the Arctic and what this means for the future survival of marine and terrestrial organisms. The Arctic Ocean is one of the most vulnerable places on the planet for acidification, yet it is the least-explored ocean. Acidification can disturb the balance of marine life in the world's oceans, and consequently affect humans and animals that rely on those food resources. Ocean acidification is particularly harmful to organisms such as corals, oysters, crabs, shrimp and plankton, as well as those up and down the food chain. Higher acidity decreases an organism's calcification rate, meaning they lose their ability to build shells or skeletons. The USGS is leading this project, and this is the third consecutive year of research. On this year's expedition, scientists will travel onboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy for four weeks, collecting water and ice samples. US Geological Survey 


ringsealFewer Ringed Seals Being Seen in Canadian Arctic. Hunters in Canada's eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut say they're seeing fewer ringed seals than they used to. It's a worrisome trend for people whose livelihood depends on the animals. For the last several years, Nunavut hunters said they are finding fewer and fewer ringed seals. "For hunters like us, the only way we can make some money is by selling sealskins," said Tuumasie Newkingak, a hunter from Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut. Alaska Dispatch 


First Northern Urbanization Conference Called a Success. Delegates to the first-ever conference on northern urbanization are describing the event as a success. The Conference on Urbanization in the Arctic drew academics and officials from across the circumpolar world to Nuuk, Greenland, this past week. They talked about everything from urban design to climate change. Keith Storey from Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador said it was great to share knowledge at the conference with people from around the world. CBC News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal action was taken on Arctic legislation.

Future Events    


10th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, September 5-7, 2012. The 10th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region will take place in Akureyri, Iceland 5-7 September 2012. The conference will be attended by members of parliament from the eight Arctic countries and the European Parliament, Arctic indigenous peoples and a variety of observers. The main items on the agenda are:


1.  Arctic Governance and the Arctic Council

2.  Economic opportunities in the Arctic

3.  Human Development in the Arctic: Interplay of Research, Authorities and Residents


The Conference will adopt a statement directed to the Arctic Council, the governments in the Arctic Region and the institutions of the European Union.  


Fifth Polar Law Symposium 2012, September 6-8, 2012. The theme for the symposium is quite open. It covers a wide variety of topics relating to the Arctic and the Antarctic. These include:

  • Human rights issues, such as autonomy and self-government vs. self-determination, the rights of indigenous peoples to land and natural resources and cultural rights and cultural heritage, indigenous traditional knowledge.  
  • Local and national governance issues.
  • Environmental law, climate change, security and environment implications of climate change, protected areas and species.
  • Regulatory, governance and management agreements and arrangements for marine environments, marine mammals, fisheries conservation and other biological/mineral/oil resources.
  • Law of the sea, the retreating sea ice, continental shelf claims.
  • Territorial claims and border disputes on both land and at sea.
  • Peace and security, dispute settlement.
  • Jurisdictional and other issues re the exploration, exploitation and shipping of oil, gas and minerals, bioprospecting.
  • Trade law, potential shipping lines through the north-west and north-east passages, maritime law and transportation law.
  • The roles and actual involvement of international organizations in the Polar regions, such as the Arctic Council, the European Union, the International Whaling Commission, the

For more information, please see the Arctic Center


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.  


Wakefield 28th 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.

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