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March 7, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents  


The Senate will consider the nomination of the Central Intelligence Director. The House will hold a pro forma session.

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.


capitalHouse Passes Stopgap Spending Bill. The House passed a six-month stopgap spending bill Wednesday that lays out money for defense and veterans programs, with Senate Democrats expected to push to add more appropriations measures to the package next week. The chamber voted 267-151 for the legislation (HR 933), which would freeze existing appropriations levels for most accounts and set total discretionary spending at $984 billion after across-the-board cuts that began March 1. Fifty-three Democrats voted for the bill, and 14 Republicans voted against it. Roll Call


Ornstein: Government Non-Policies are Damaging Science: The American culture and emphasis on freedom and creativity is an advantage that is not guaranteed in perpetuity. [Opinion] The first fan letter I ever wrote was at age 7 to Wernher von Braun, the legendary rocket scientist. I dreamt of being a rocket scientist myself (it didn't work out), and he was the superstar, a man hyped by NASA as the genius who would take America to the moon and beyond. I got back a glossy photo of von Braun and a NASA patch, and I was, figuratively, over the moon. Von Braun was a symbol of American supremacy in science and research; of course, he was not a native American but a German who came to the United States after World War II and used his talents to rise to the top here. Congressional Quarterly


Admiral Papp on the Sequestration. Shipmates, in messages sent earlier by Department of Homeland Security leadership, we notified all DHS employees that the Federal Government is facing the possibility of sequestration which will significantly impact federal agency functions and operations, including the Coast Guard. I want to explain the situation and what could occur in the coming weeks as fiscal uncertainty continues. US Coast Guard


Jewell, SallyInterior Nominee Makes Strong Impression, but Senators Reserve Judgment. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee members are registering positive early reviews of Interior secretary nominee Sally Jewell after private meetings in advance of her confirmation hearing Thursday. But senators are generally reserving judgment on whether to back the former head of the outdoor equipment cooperative REI until they can question her at length on such topics as oil and gas production on federal lands and the administration of national parks. Congressional Quarterly


Federal Climate Report Says Alaska Could See Big Changes. Alaska will see a warming trend of 10 degrees or more this century if current levels of greenhouse gas emissions continue, along with shrinking lakes, high rates of wildlife, and increasing permafrost melt. That's the conclusion of a draft report by the US Global Change Research Program, which include the work of several University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Polar Bear Trade Ban Rejected at Global Meeting. An international meeting of conservationists rejected a U.S. proposal to ban the global trade of polar bear parts Thursday, following an impassioned appeal by Canadian Inuits to preserve polar bear hunting in their communities. There are between 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears living in the wild in Canada, the United States, Russia, Denmark and Norway, according to the most recent analysis, which was conducted in the early 1990s. Scientists project that as Arctic summer sea ice shrinks, many polar bear populations could decline 66 percent by mid-century. Washington Post


icebreakersOttawa Announces $288-million deal to Kick-Start Design of Arctic Patrol Ships. Ottawa's plan to bolster the navy's fleet nudged toward the drawing board Thursday after it signed a contract to design the next generation of Arctic offshore patrol ships. The deal with Irving Shipbuilding of Halifax is worth an estimated $288 million and divides the design work into seven phases including engineering and project management before the vessels can be built. Public Works Minister, Rona Ambrose, said the work will assess capability, affordability and risk of constructing the ships, which is expected to begin in 2015. Vancouver Sun  


Melting Arctic Ice Will Make Way for More Ships and More Species Invasions.The rare ships that have ventured through the harsh, icebound Arctic Ocean require reinforced hulls and ice-breaking bows that allow them to plow through dense ice as much as two meters deep, and face hazardous conditions in remote locations for long periods of time. Arctic sea ice now is melting so rapidly each summer due to global warming, however, that ships without ice-breaking hulls will be able to cross previously inaccessible parts of the Arctic Ocean by 2050. And light-weight ships equipped to cut through one meter of ice will be able to travel over the North Pole regularly in late summer, according to a new study published March 4 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Plus. Nature  


begichUS Senator from Alaska Suggests Budget Items to Help Arctic Drilling. US Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alas.) has outlined a list of "Arctic priorities" for President Barack Obama, including additional streamlining of Arctic oil and gas permit applications. Begich is chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Fisheries, and the Coast Guard. In a letter to Obama regarding budget issues, Begich said he was pleased the administration has worked with him in the past regarding oil and gas permitting issues. Oil and Gas Journal


Career Bureaucrat Will Lead Canada's Senior Arctic Officials at Arctic Council: CanNor President Patrick Borbey Will Chair SAO Meetings. When Canada starts its two-year term chairing the Arctic Council this May, Patrick Borbey, president of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, will serve as chair of the Arctic Council's senior Arctic officials. As SAO chair, Borbey will work closely with senior Arctic officials from the eight Arctic states that comprise the Arctic Council, as well as with the heads of the Arctic Council's six indigenous permanent participants, in managing the Arctic Council's activities during Canada's chairmanship. Nunatsiaq Online

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events                      


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.


Lecture: Melting Ice: What is happening to Arctic sea ice and what does it mean for us? March 20, 2013, Washington DC.
The National Research Council is sponsoring the 14th annual Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture, to be given by Dr. John Walsh of the Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks. The lecture, which starts at 5:30 pm in the Baird Auditorium, in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (10th Street and Constitution entrance) is free, and open to the public, but
pre-registration, for planning purposes, would be appreciate. Please contact Pamela Lewis ( with questions.


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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