Arctic Update Header
January 8, 2014


capital Today's Congressional Action: 

The Senate will consider unemployment insurance legislation. 

The House is expected to consider several non-Arctic bills today.






REMINDER! The Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 20-24th, is quickly approaching! Register soon here. 


White House White House Looks Past Congress for Its Agenda. President Barack Obama is heading into the next year looking in many ways past a gridlocked Congress - eyeing regulations and other ways of acting on his stalled agenda. A senior administration official held a deep background briefing for reporters Tuesday, under the condition that no direct quotes would be reported. Roll Call


West Wing Braces for Staff Exodus. A number of key aides are expected to leave the White House in the coming months as President Obama tries to build momentum after a tumultuous 2013 that left him with few significant achievements. Departures of longtime and trusted West Wing aides will force Obama to go outside his comfort zone in seeking advisers. The Hill


Mikulski Warns Appropriators May Need 'a Little Bit More Time' for Omnibus. Subcommittee chairmen may be known as cardinals in appropriations parlance, but Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski called Tuesday's meeting of the Democratic and Republican spending chiefs on both sides of the Rotunda a "conversation" rather than a "conclave." The Maryland Democrat left a meeting of the top four leaders of the congressional spending panels Tuesday afternoon sounding optimistic about getting an omnibus finished soon and averting a shutdown, but she conceded negotiators may need a short reprieve from the current deadline. Roll Call


Shock, Shame and Siumut. Even those accustomed to the turbulence of Greenlandic politics have had hard time keeping up over the past few days. With the resignation of a former party leader, a cabinet member choosing to quit rather than be fired and allegations of nepotism against the premier, the country's political scene has been thrown into turmoil. Perhaps the most dramatic moment in recent days has been the resignation of Hans Enoksen, Greenland's premier from 2002-2009, from Siumut, the party he led between 2001 and 2009. Arctic Journal


No Nukes in the Arctic [Opinion]. After the Second World War, many a Nordic politician dreamt of combining their militaries with other countries in the region to form a co-operative defence force. The vision never emerged, to the disappointment of Hans Hedtoft, who served as PM of Denmark twice in the 1940s and '50s, and who labelled the breakdown in negotiations "my generation's greatest political defeat". Hedtoft needn't have been so hard on himself. Seen from today's perspective, it's clear that the time wasn't right for grand international collaborations. What's more, the various Nordic countries each had vastly different challenges and Cold War priorities. Arctic Journal


Harper In Inuvik, Harper to Help Usher in New Lifeline to Arctic Coast. Stephen Harper is heading north to break ground on construction of a highway that will provide the first year-round land link between the Arctic Ocean coast and the rest of Canada, an engineering feat that should reduce the costs of petroleum exploration in the Beaufort Sea. On Wednesday, Mr. Harper will visit Inuvik, NWT, where he will preside over the official groundbreaking of the extension of the Dempster Highway to Tuktoyaktuk, a hamlet on the Arctic coast currently only accessible by winter ice road, barge or air. The Globe and Mail


[Alaska] Native Education Leader Bernice Joseph Dies. Bernice Joseph, 49, a champion of Native education in rural Alaska, died of cancer Tuesday. Born in Tanana and raised in Nulato, Bernice Joseph was passionate about education and once said her greatest rewards were not monetary but traveling to rural communities to celebrate graduations. She served as vice chancellor for rural, community and Native education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Russian, Chinese Vessels Freed from Arctic Ice. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star was released by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority from search and rescue duties Jan. 7, following confirmation the Russian-Flagged Akademik Shokalskiy and Chinese-Flagged Xue Long are free from the Antarctic ice due to a favorable change in wind conditions. The Coast Guard Pacific Area command center received confirmation from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority at 2 p.m. Pacific Standard Time that both ships broke through the heavy ice, rendering assistance from the Polar Star no longer necessary. MarineLink


Arctic Canadian Mayor Worried About Mine's Shipping Route. Hearings are scheduled to begin Tuesday in the Arctic Canadian community of Clyde River into Baffinland's Mary River mine project. The Nunavut Planning Commission is looking into Baffinland's proposal to ship iron ore through Milne Inlet, on the east coast of Baffin Island in Canada's eastern Arctic. That plan is meant to be a short-term way to generate revenue until a larger port is built at Steensby Inlet in the Foxe Basin. Alaska Dispatch 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No legislative action 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, February 10-12, 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 Ambitions, February 27-28, 2014 (Girdwood, Alaska). World Trade Center Alaska will host Arctic Ambitions III: Commercial Development of the Arctic. This conference focuses solely on Arctic international trade and business opportunities. It is anticipated that about 200 business and government leaders attending next year's conference. Arctic Ambitions III will concentrate on the theme of international trade and business opportunities that flow from resource development in the Arctic. While policy and research inform the discussion, the conference focuses on global markets, international trade and logistics. The previous two conferences brought together presenters from Canada, Finland, Norway, Russia, Korea and Alaska.


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.  

International Arctic Change 2014, December 8-12, 2014 (Ottawa, Canada). With over 1000 participants expected to attend, Arctic Change 2014 will be one of the largest trans-sectoral international Arctic research conference ever held in Canada. The conference will be a major international venue for knowledge exchange and networking across broad Arctic research disciplines in natural, human health and social sciences. General topics to be addressed include: Sustainable Development and Prosperity in the Arctic; Tracking and Predicting Socio-Economic, and Cultural Change in the Arctic; Community Adaptation and Vulnerability in Arctic Regions; Community Health and Food Security; Monitoring, Modeling and Predicting Circumpolar and Regional Arctic Systems; Assessing, Understanding and Monitoring the Health of Arctic Populations; Indigenous Knowledge; Oceanic and Atmospheric Fluxes through the Arctic; Sensitivity and Change of Cryospheric Systems; Mapping the Arctic Ocean, Continental Shelves and Margins; Arctic Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystem Structure, Biodiversity and Services; Coastal Processes and the Vulnerability of Communities, Infrastructures and Resources; Legal, Political, Security and Navigation Issues in Opening Arctic Waterways; Adapting New Technologies to the Advantage of Arctic Research and Monitoring; Arctic Data Management, Access and Integration; International Collaboration in Arctic Research and Monitoring; and, From Knowledge to Decision and Policy-Making. 


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.

USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter 

4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203, USA 
(703) 525-0111 (phone)
External links in this publication, and on the USARC's World Wide Web site ( do not constitute endorsement by the US Arctic Research Commission of external Web sites or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities, the USARC does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. These links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this newsletter and the USARC Web site.