Arctic Update Header
January 31, 2014


Arctic Reports Released:

Yesterday two significant reports were released regarding the Arctic.  The White House released the Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for the Arctic Region.  The report is available for download here.


Additionally, the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission released it's preliminary report to the Alaska Legislature.  The report is available for download here.


capital Today's Congressional Action:   

The House and Senate are not in session.



Herron Introduces Legislation Focusing on Alaska's Arctic Future. Representative Bob Herron, Co-chair of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission, introduced two pieces of legislation today designed to set in motion the next step in Alaska's Arctic future. House Joint Resolution 24 urges the United States State Department to consider Alaska's priorities and work with the state when the United States becomes Chair of the Arctic Council in 2015. The resolution also asks that the State Department confer with Alaskan officials while considering an individual to lead the Arctic Council. [Alaska] House Majority


What Happens in the Arctic, Stays in the Arctic. Recent reports of droughts in California, warmer winters in Alaska and a freezing over of the American Mid-west have led many to believe that a warming Arctic is causing extreme weather phenomena across the Northern Hemisphere. Scientists, however say there is no scientific evidence to support the fact. "The Arctic is leading the way in climate change - we've known that since the late 19th century, and of course, it's going to be in the Arctic where this change in most pronounced," said Mark Serreze, a professor at the University of Colorado and the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), "The big science questions is, does climate change have a significant effect on weather and climate beyond the Arctic - and the simple answer is, we still don't know." Arctic Journal


arctic shipping IMO Update: Shipping in Polar Waters. IMO is developing a draft mandatory International Code of safety for ships operating in polar waters (Polar Code), to cover the full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training, search and rescue and environmental protection matters relevant to ships operating in the inhospitable waters surrounding the two poles. The work is being coordinated by the Subcommittee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC)  - formerly the Subcommittee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE). MarineLink


White House Releases Plan to Make Arctic Shipping Safer. As Arctic ice melts away, opening the way for greater oil development and mining, the White House outlined a plan on Thursday to promote safety and security in the region by building ports, improving forecasts of sea ice, and developing shipping rules. With warmer temperatures leaving Arctic sea passages open for longer periods of the year, billions of barrels of oil could be tapped beyond what is already being produced in the region. A loss of seasonal ice could also allow greater exploitation of precious minerals considered abundant in the Arctic. Reuters


Why the North Will Become Canada's Most Diverse Economy. "Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country," was one of the most commonly quoted expressions of the 19th century. At the time, westward expansion for agricultural development was a major source of opportunity for young, hard-working North Americans. In the great cycle of things, Canadians are now seeing the adage re-purposed for Alberta's oil boom. But a great shift in Canada's economic future is afoot, one that may dramatically change the course of the next generation of young Canadians seeking employment and opportunity. Enter the True North. Huffington Post


Department of Defense Prepares for More Arctic Activity. Shell may be abandoning their plans for drilling in Alaska's Arctic waters in 2014, but vessel traffic, tourism and other activity will continue to advance. As part of our ongoing look at future plans for port development and military oversight of Arctic safety and security, APRN's Lori Townsend recently spoke with Daniel Chiu the undersecretary for strategy at the Department of Defense. Chiu says the Pentagon expects large increases in defense activity is likely decades out, but he says DOD is closely following climate science to ensure they have the lead time to adjust if necessary. Alaska Public Radio

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


Legislation introduced in the Alaska Legislature


HJR 24: Arctic Council: Urging the United States Department of State to consider the priorities of the state while it holds the position of chair of the Arctic Council, and for other purposes.


HB 288: AIDEA: Arctic Development Program Fund: An Act creating the Arctic infrastructure development program and fund in the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority.

Future Events


The Arctic Encounter Symposium, February 7-8, 2014 (Seattle, Washington). 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 commissioners Fran Ulmer and Edward Itta will be speaking.

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.


Developing Alaska's Marine Workforce, February 14, 2014. (Anchorage, Alaska, USA). The North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) hosts the luncheon. Discussion will focus on industry strategies for moving forward to secure Alaska's future needs for an educated and trained workforce are met. Feature presentations include a recap of NAMEPA's 2012 meeting, University of Alaska updates on the FSMI (Alaska's Fisheries, Seafood, Maritime Initiative) Workforce Development Plan and trends in education and training. 


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. USARC Chair Fran Ulmer will be a speaker. 


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


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