Arctic Update Header
 February 19, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


Both chambers are in a weeklong recess for Presidents Day and will be back in session Feb. 25. 


Working Together to Understand and Predict Arctic Change. Today, the Administration's National Science and Technology Council released a five-year Arctic Research Plan that outlines key areas of study the Federal government will undertake to better understand and predict environmental changes in the Arctic. The Plan was developed by a team of experts representing 14 federal agencies, based on input from collaborators including the Alaska Governor's Office, indigenous Arctic communities, local organizations, and universities. Seven research areas are highlighted in the Plan as both important to the development of national policies and well-poised to benefit from interagency collaboration, including among them: regional climate models, human health studies, and adaptation tools for communities. White House

The Report


Arctic Needs Protection From Resource Rush as Ice Melts: UN Body. The Arctic needs to be better protected from a rush for natural resources as melting ice makes mineral and energy exploration easier, the United Nations' Environment Programme (UNEP) said. The UNEP Year Book 2013 was released on Monday to accompany the opening of talks in Nairobi attended by environment ministers or senior officials from around 150 nations, aimed at making the world economy greener at a time of weak economic growth. "What we are seeing is that the melting of ice is prompting a rush for exactly the fossil fuel resources that fueled the melt in the first place," said Achim Steiner, U.N. Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director. Reuters  


Link to UNEP report


EPA Faces Pressure to Invoke New Authority to Restrict Greenhouse Gases. Liberal academics on Tuesday will urge the EPA to assert broad powers to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The New York University School of Law's Institute for Policy Integrity will petition the EPA to invoke section 115 of the law (PL 90-148) to control greenhouse gases. That section allows the EPA administrator to require reductions of pollutants that endanger public health or welfare in a foreign country. Congressional Quarterly 


Climate Change Poses Rising Threat. For Pentagon officials, the warming planet could translate into more regional instability, more conflicts around the world, more humanitarian crises to respond to and 30 military installations becoming more vulnerable to flooding. At the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the number of declared disasters in recent years shot up 50 percent - from 65 in 2004 to 98 in 2011 - and shows no signs of abating. Already, the agency is struggling to fund recovery efforts and is burdened by billions of dollars of debt. Federal Times


'Juice Is Not Worth the Squeeze' of Merging Two Wildlife Agencies, Report Finds. Merging two marine life oversight entities would not be worth the trouble, stakeholders told a watchdog agency, despite the possibility of improving collaboration and saving money. The National Marine Fisheries Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service provide many similar functions, including protecting endangered marine species and restoring fish and wildlife habitat, according to a Government Accountability Office report. The two agencies are distinct enough, however, to warrant their current separation, the watchdog suggested. NMFS is a division of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration -- which itself is housed in the Commerce Department -- while FWS is part of the Interior Department. The primary difference between the two organizations is in habitat types they oversee, as the FWS often deals with species found on land and fresh water, while NMFS is more involved with animals in other marine environments. GAO conducted interviews with 97 former and current agency stakeholders, who found both benefits and drawbacks to merging the two organizations. Government Executive


capitalAgency Critics Bash Environmental Regulations at House Hearing. The United States has reached the point of diminishing returns when it comes to many environmental regulations, U.S. EPA critics told the House Science Environment Subcommittee yesterday. The environmental problems that plagued the nation in the mid-20th century -- from burning rivers to acid rain -- have largely been addressed, and costs of additional federal regulations far outweigh the benefits, witnesses argued at a hearing titled "The State of Environment: Evaluating Progress and Priorities." E&E News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation Friday.

Future Events                      


Alaska Native Language Archive, February 22, 2013, Fairbanks. Please join ANLA and the Rasmuson Library for a Grand Opening Celebration to dedicate the new ANLA public service point on the second floor of the Rasmuson Library. The event will begin with an open house featuring collections in the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections, the Oral History Collection, and of course ANLA. This will be followed by a special panel session entitled Honoring Alaska's Native Languages: Past, Present, Future, reflecting on 50 years of Native language archiving at UAF.


Environmental Protection in the Arctic, March 1, 2013, Anchorage, Alaska.
The Canadian Consulate General in Seattle will host a discussion of environmental protection issues with David Hik, President, International Arctic Science Committee, University of Alberta; Fran Ulmer, Chair, United States Arctic Research Commission; and Lilian Alessa, Director, NSF Alaska EPSCoR Program.  The event will be held at Rusmuson Hall 101, the University of Alaska Anchorage campus at 5pm. Email to RSVP.



Tufts Energy Conference, March 2-3, 2013, Medford, MA.Availability, accessibility, affordability, and acceptability: these "Four As" are at the core of global energy security. As energy demands increase around the world, the global community must balance the "Four As" while keeping up with need. Thanks to major innovations in extraction technologies, fossil fuels remain an available and affordable global asset. Yet climate change, geopolitical risk, and environmental impacts are changing the energy debate and challenging the acceptability of fossil fuels. In the short term, emerging green technologies often lack accessibility, availability, and affordability. TEC 2013 will explore how both developing and developed countries are working to meet their energy needs, manage geopolitical risk, and ensure energy security. Through six diverse but interconnected panels, TEC 2013 will address a number of pressing questions.


The 43rd Annual Arctic Workshop 2013, March 11-13, 2013: Amherst, Massachusetts. The workshop is an annual gathering for international researchers to present work on any aspect of high-latitude environments (past, present, and future). Organizers strive for a relaxed, friendly, and interactive experience, fostered in part by the workshop's relatively small size. Researchers are invited to present their very latest research; the abstract deadline is just a few weeks before the workshop. Student participation is strongly encouraged, with partial support available to those making presentations (limited number of slots). 


The Economist's "Arctic Summit: A New Vista for Trade Energy and the Environment," March 12, 2013. (Oslo, Norway) The event is hosted by The Economist. The Arctic Summit will discuss big issues concerning the region: chase for natural resources, impact of climate change, emergence of new trading routes and the need for responsible governance. The summit has been designed to focus attention and to promote constructive thinking prior to the next Arctic Council Ministers' meeting in 2013. A high-level group of 150 policy-makers, CEOs and influential commentators will spend a day tackling the issues at the heart of the Arctic's future, in discussions led by James Astill, environment editor of The Economist and author of the special report on the Arctic.


Wakefield28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013, Anchorage. 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. 


Arctic Science Summit Week, April 13-19, 2013. Krakow, Poland. The ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science and to combine science and management meetings. Side meetings organized by groups with interest in the Arctic science and policy will also be held within the week.
One of them is already planned: The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) will offer a one-day career development workshop during the ASSW 2013. Details will be published closer to the event:


American Polar Society 75th Anniversary, April 15-18, 2013, Woods Hole, MA. The American Polar Society will hold a meeting and symposium at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. This meeting and symposium is titled "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics."


Arctic Observing Summit 2013, April 30- May 2, 2013, Vancouver, BC, CA. The Arctic Observing Summit is led by the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC). It is a Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON) task and part of the broader SAON implementation process, which is led by the Arctic Council jointly with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). AOS is a high-level, biennial summit that aims to provide community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, coordination and sustained long term (decades) operation of an international network of arctic observing systems. The AOS will provide a platform to address urgent and broadly recognized needs of arctic observing across all components of the arctic system, including the human component. It will foster international communication and coordination of long-term observations aimed at improving understanding and responding to system-scale arctic change. The AOS will be an international forum for optimizing resource allocation through coordination and exchange among researchers, funding agencies, and others involved or interested in long term observing activities, while minimizing duplication and gaps.


International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013, Bergen, Norway. 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.


AGU Science Policy Conference, June 24-26, 2013. (Washington, DC) Hundreds of Earth and space scientists, students, policymakers, and industry professionals will discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our economy, national security, environment, and public safety. This meeting will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions related to energy, natural hazards, technology and infrastructure, climate, oceans, and the Arctic. The event is hosted by American Geophysical Union (AGU), a Washington, D. C.-based international nonprofit scientific association. 

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