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December 20, 2013


capital Today's Congressional Action: 

The House is not in session.  The Senate is expected to consider several nominations before adjourning for the year. 




Senate Hatches Last-Minute Deal. The Senate reached a last-minute procedural agreement late Thursday that spared them from horribly-timed votes on Friday and Saturday, and should let everyone fly home Friday for Christmas. Before the deal, senators were facing a bitter end to a bitter year. The Hill


Montana Senator's Move to China Could Shift Sen. Mary Landrieu to Energy Committee Chair. Word that President Barack Obama is ready to appoint Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., as his new ambassador to China could have big implications for Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. Nothing is definite, but the appointment, assuming Baucus wins Senate confirmation, could propel Landrieu to the chair of the Senate Energy Committee. That's because Baucus' departure could set up a domino effect on Senate committees. The Times-Picanyune


Scientists Use Laser Technology to Map Polar Bear Den Habitat. What is the best way to find sites that could be used for polar bear dens, the cozy snow caves where sows give birth and nurture their newborn cubs? On Alaska's pancake-flat North Slope, it may be deployment of laser-guided topography mapping, a new study says. Airborne light detecting and ranging -- commonly known as LiDAR -- proved extremely accurate at finding suitable denning sites on the North Slope, according to the study, which was led by the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Science Center. Alaska Dispatch    


Conference Report: "The Arctic: Region of Cooperation and Development." On 2-3rd December 2013, "The Arctic: Region of Cooperation and Development" international conference took place in Moscow, Russia. The conference was organized by the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and its partners - the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of World Economy and International Relations (RAS IMEMO), International Maritime Law Association, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The conference enjoyed a high-level opening ceremony which featured the Russian President's Special Representative for International Cooperation in The Arctic and Antarctic Arthur Chilingarov, Senior Arctic Official for Russia Anton Vasilyev, RIAC Director Andrey Kortunov, RAS IMEMO Director Alexander Dynkin, followed by Director of the CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program Andrew Kuchins, Director of The Pew Charitable Trusts International Arctic Programme Scott Highleyman, President of International Maritime Law Association Vladimir Mednikov, and Leonid Kalashnikov of the State Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs. The Arctic Institute


Harper Is Harper's Pole Claim an Arctic Deal-Breaker? [Opinion] "What does the Danish government say about Canada's claim to the North Pole?" he asked. Our conversation might otherwise have ended quickly; the Danish government hasn't said anything about it. Neither has the Greenland Self-Rule government. But the conversation touched on an important issue: the North Pole is a hot international topic. It also revealed that Canada's prime minister might have broken an agreement with the Danish government. Arctic Journal 


Study: Climate Change Will Put Caribou Genetic Diversity at Risk. Climate change will strain caribou herds around the circumpolar north in coming decades, but Alaska's herds should fare better than their Canadian counterparts, according to a newly published study. Genetic diversity, key to the animals' ability to withstand climate shifts and habitat loss, will take varying hits over the coming decades, says the study, which predicts the fate of genetic diversity of caribou herds through 2080. It was published online Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. Alaska Dispatch


Mysterious Drop in Nunavut Seal Harvest. The number of seal skins harvested in Nunavut has fallen by more than half since the European Union banned seal products in 2009, but the reason for the drop in the harvest remains a mystery because the price paid to hunters for their furs has remained the same, and local demand for seal skins is at an all-time high. In the past, Nunavut hunters sent 8,000 skins to auction per year, but that number dropped to just 3,000 after the European Union imposed its seal ban in 2009. Alaska Dispatch 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events


Arctic Frontiers, January 19-24, 2014 (Tromso, Norway). Arctic Frontiers is an international arena addressing development in the Arctic. The conference discusses how upcoming opportunities and challenges may be handled to ensure viable economic growth and societal and environmental sustainability. Annually, the conference attracts more than 1000 participants from 25 Arctic and non-arctic countries, representing science, business, politics, and civil society. The theme of the conference is 'Humans in the Arctic'. As with previous years the policy section will run for the first two days, followed by three days of science. The science section will have four parts under 2 main headings: Health, Society and Environment; and, Maritime Operational Challenges. 


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 20-24, 2014 (Anchorage, Alaska). The mission of the Alaska Marine Science Symposium is to bring together scientists, policymakers, students, educators, media and the public to share research findings focused on Alaska's marine fisheries and ecosystems. The Symposium is built around regional themes-Bering Sea, Arctic Ocean, and the Gulf of Alaska. Within each theme, there will be discussions on climate, oceanography, lower tropic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research.


The agenda is available here.


The goal of the Arctic Encounter Symposium is to engage participants in a focused discussion, through a balanced forum, highlighting shared interests and concerns of the United States and the global community as we look north to the last emerging frontier - the Arctic. The Symposium will incorporate a diverse group of leaders and experts to debate how a rapidly changing Arctic will impact international law, domestic policy, business and commerce, the environment, and the people of the Far North. Speakers include policy makers, industry leaders, scientists, and academic experts. The two-day Symposium will take place at Seattle University School of Law with a dinner reception at the Seattle Aquarium on Pier 59. US Arctic Research commissioner Edward Itta is one of the speakers.

Arctic Technology Conference, February10-12, 2014. (Houston, TX) Founded in 1969, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) provides offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production and environmental protection. The Arctic Technology Conference (ATC) is built upon OTC's successful multidisciplinary approach, with 14 technical societies and organizations. The conference is an international event focused on continuing innovative technologies and solutions needed for exploration and production of energy within the circum-Arctic.


Arctic 2050, March 12, 2014 (Brussels, Belgium). The 4th European Marine Board Forum will bring together Arctic stakeholders from multiple sectors (science, industry, policy & governance, NGOs, etc.) to: discuss current trends and patterns of change in Arctic Ocean ecosystems, including human activity; identify possible "2050" scenarios for Arctic Change and the corresponding implications for human health and well-being; highlight key research gaps, needs and challenges in support of understanding, mitigating against, or adapting to Arctic change; stimulate dialogue across sectors to aid common understanding, collaborative actions and sustainability targets; promote a vision for a sustainable ecosystem-based management of the Arctic Ocean by 2050.


44th Annual International Arctic Workshop, March 14-16, 2014 (Boulder, CO). The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research of the University of Colorado will host the workshop. This year's theme is "Arctic's New Normal." The workshop will consider shifting environmental baselines over decades to millennia and comparisons with the Antarctic. Previous Workshops have included presentations on Arctic and Antarctic climate, atmospheric chemistry, environmental geochemistry, paleoenvironment, archeology, geomorphology, hydrology, glaciology, soils, ecology, oceanography, Quaternary history and more.


Association of American Geographers Polar Geography Sessions, April 8-12, 2014 (Tampa, Florida).  Polar Geography Sessions are being planned in areas such as Sustainable Development in the Arctic, Urbanization and Transportation in the Arctic, etc. Contact Scott Stephenson ( for more information, and see attached flyer. 


Arctic Science Summit Week April 5-8, 2014 and Arctic Observing Summit, April 9-11 (Helsinki, Finland). ASSW is a gathering for Arctic research organizations. Any organization engaged in supporting and facilitating arctic research is welcome to participate. The ASSW meeting in 2014 will be arranged during April 5-8 in Helsinki Kumpula Campus, in the facilities of FMI and Physics Department of the University of Helsinki. Second circular here


International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences, May 22-26, 2014 (Prince George, British Columbia). "The International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA) announces the 8th International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS VIII). ICASS is held every three years, bringing together people from all over the world to share ideas about social science research in the Arctic. ICASS VII, held in Akureyri in June 2011, attracted 450 participants from 30 different countries.  ICASS VIII's theme is Northern Sustainabilities. By using the plural, we underscore both that "sustainability" has social, cultural, economic, political and environmental dimensions, and that definitions of the concept vary."
IceTech14: International Conference and Exhibition on Performance of Ships and Structures in Ice, July 28-31, 2014 (Banff, Alberta, Canada). "The focus will be on the general theme of performance of ships and structures in ice - but with emphasis and special sessions on looking to the future in a warming world. Coverage will include technical aspects of offshore operations in Arctic and ice populated waters, as well related ice mechanics, icebreaking and ice resistance, global warming and geopolitical effects, safety and EER, subsea facilities and operations, and other relevant subjects in a polar context particularly in view of current global concerns. Both technical papers and selected panel sessions will be included. We will also continue to host a small commercial exhibition for organizations wishing to set up stand."

 Arctic Circle, September 5-7, 2014 (Reykjavik, Iceland). The inaugural gathering drew more than 1200 participants from 40 nations, bringing together a diverse group of individuals and organizations for a series of meetings and presentations addressing the challenges and opportunities of the changing Arctic. The Assembly established itself as a platform for high-level engagement on issues, such as the meeting between Russia and Greenpeace regarding the "Arctic 30" detention, and it also provided new observer states the opportunity to communicate their Arctic strategies. Details about the 2014 Assembly will be announced in the coming months.


Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, December 2-4, 2014. (Trondheim, Norway)

The Arctic Council's Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working group is organizing the first Arctic Biodiversity Congress in Trondheim, Norway on December 2-4, 2014. The Arctic Biodiversity Congress will promote the conservation and sustainable use of Arctic biodiversity through dialogue among scientists, policy-makers, government officials, industry, civil society and indigenous peoples. It is closely linked to the findings and recommendations of the first Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA) released in May 2013.  

Arctic Science Summit Week, April 23-30, 2015 (Toyama, Japan). ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. The purpose of the summit is to provide opportunities for coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. IASC's (International Arctic Science Committee) 25th anniversary will be celebrated during ASSW2015. The summit presents an opportunity to review IASC contributions and recognize those who have been instrumental in its founding, development and growth. ASSW2015 will also include the 3rd International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III) and the 4th International Symposium on the Arctic Research (ISAR-4). These four-day symposia create a platform for exchanging knowledge, inspiring cross fertilization, and promoting collaboration. The summit attracts scientists, students, policy makers and other professionals from all over the world.

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