Arctic Update Header
 February 22, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


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


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.


Northern Lights Big Year For Northern Lights Tourism in Alaska. Bill Carter had been planning his bucket-list winter vacation to Alaska for 30 years, and he couldn't have picked a better time to take it. The retired chemist from Jesup, GA., didn't mind that February temperatures can hover near minus 40 degrees on the outskirts of Fairbanks, because the night sky there offered Carter something more people never get to see: the aurora borealis. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


"From the Arctic to the Caribbean" Workshop -- Now Available for Web-Based Viewing. The complete video from last month's workshop on economic opportunity, environmental risk, emergency management, and international cooperation in the offshore oil and gas regions of North America is now online. The workshop, sponsored by College of Social Science & Public Policy and the Interamerican Seas Research Consortium (both of Florida State University) and the Consulate General of Canada in Miami was held on January 31 in Tallahassee, Florida. The morning session, on offshore oil and gas and the management of environmental risk in North America featured experts from Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development Canada and the American Petroleum Institute while the afternoon session, on emergency response in trans-boundary waters, featured an introduction on oil hazard issues followed by presentations from the U.S. Coast Guard and Fisheries & Oceans Canada.


EPAEPA May Shut Down Three Days Due to Sequester. The Environmental Protection Agency may shut down for three days in response to automatic budget cuts set to begin late next week, according to union officials involved in discussions with agency management. Under a preliminary plan, almost all of EPA's approximately 18,000 employees would take mandatory furlough days on May 24, July 5 and Aug. 30, according to a summary provided by the American Federation of Government Employees council that represents the bulk of the agency's workforce. Federal Times


Likely EPA, Energy Nominees Reflect Tensions in Obama Policies. The likely contenders for President Barack Obama's remaining energy and environment Cabinet positions would bring a wealth of political and academic experience to the posts, but the choices also reflect tensions inherent in the administration's policies. Environmentalists are cheering the expected appointment of EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy for the agency's top post. As head of the EPA's Air and Radiation Office, McCarthy has been an architect of the administration's efforts to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to global warming. Congressional Quarterly


Alaska State Senator Proposes Bounty on Sea Otters. An Alaska state senator is proposing a bounty on sea otters, the cute little marine mammals often seen by tourists swimming on their backs between cruise ships, sometimes munching on a fresh crab or clams.Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, sees the furry-faced critters as a growing threat to shellfish beds, particularly in southeast Alaska, where he is from. On Wednesday, he introduced legislation that would have the state pay $100 for each sea otter lawfully killed under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. Anchorage Daily News


Coast Guard Seal Coast Guard Documented 16 Deficiencies on Arctic Drillship. The drillship used to bore part of an Arctic oil well for Shell last summer lacked sufficient propulsion power, had engine problems and posed fire hazards, according to a Coast Guard inspection of the vessel in November that was released on Friday. The deficiencies documented by the Coast Guard were revealed by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., as he asked Shell Oil Co. President Marvin Odum to detail how much the firm knew about the problems and its prospects for restarting Arctic drilling this summer. Fuel Fix 


russian flag Russia's Arctic Strategy: Development and Innovations. Countries of the Artic rim should be aware of the worst-case scenario and work closely together to avert it. Experts polled by the Voice of Russia agree that Russia's new strategy for the development of its Artic territories, which was rubberstamped by President Vladimir Putin this week, is a major step forward along this path. A project of unprecedented scale in Russia's post-Soviet history, it outlines the key Arctic policy priorities and sets a wide range of tasks from socio-economic development and ecological security to tighter border protection and the expansion of international ties. Those are the ambitious targets that Russia must work towards consistently if it wants to secure its positions in the Arctic. Inland mineral resources are rapidly shrinking and will be fully exhausted in 30-40 years, scientists warn, while hidden beneath the untapped Arctic shelf are vast reserves of hydrocarbons. Melting Arctic seas are making them easier to get at. Sergei Pikin is Director of the Energy Development Fund. Voice of Russia


Biologists Lead International Team to Track Arctic Response to Climate Change. Biologists Jackie Grebmeier and Lee Cooper from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory have been visiting the chilly area north of Alaska near the Bering Strait for more than 20 years, but it's only in the last few years that they have seen things really start to change. And fast. Last summer was the highest ice retreat in the Arctic record, and eight of the last ten years have seen the lowest ice on record. Phs.Org

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events                      

*NEW* Challenges for Science Agencies, February 28, 2013 (Washington, D.C.). The House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing on challenges faced by science agencies. The Subcommittee will consider the Inspectors General report.


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 Albert; 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.


*New* US-Canadian Arctic Roundtable, March 7, 2013 (Washington, D.C.). The event is hosted by the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER). The roundtable will provide an opportunity for regional stakeholders to learn more about the role of our Federal Governments in the Arctic and the potential impacts on Alaska, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. A remarkable group of participants and speakers will join the roundtable including, Alaska's U.S. Congressional Delegation and several legislators from PNWER jurisdictions.  They will be joined by Ambassador Gary Doer, Government of Canada and representatives from the U.S. State Department; and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission will attend as well. As PNWER's Arctic Caucus continues to look for solutions to the shared challenges of its three jurisdictions, this meeting will present an opportunity for caucus members and federal representatives to have a dialogue about key priorities for Arctic policy and economic development. The Roundtable will be moderated by Matt Morrison, PNWER Executive Director.


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.


Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, March 12-13, 2013, Washington, D.C. The Standing Committee of the Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region will hold its next meeting in March. One of the main priorities of the Standing Committee was originally to support the establishment of the Arctic Council. The new organization, representing the eight Arctic states (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the USA) and the European Parliament was founded on 19 September 1996. Since then the Committee has worked actively to promote the work of the Council. The Committee participates in the meetings of the Arctic Council as an observer.


28th 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.


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.


Private Sector Transportation, Infrastructure, Assets, Response, Capacity, and Development in the Arctic, May 30, 2012, Seattle, WA. A recently-held Arctic transportation workshop in Iceland highlighted the need to better understand private sector transportation infrastructure and assets, recognizing industry's role in the responsible development of resources, response and supportive infrastructure. As a follow-up to its efforts to inventory and map Arctic transportation infrastructure, the Institute of the North is hosting a workshop at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle, Washington that focuses on three critical areas: private sector assets and infrastructure in the Arctic, staging areas outside the Arctic that support Northern development, and vessels and technology that are difficult to map but need to be measured for future decision-making. Participants include industry representatives, technical experts, researchers, Coast Guard and other response personnel.


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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