US Arctic Research Commission
December 13, 2010

Today's Eventstodaysevents


The Senate will reconvene at 2 p.m. and resume consideration of the motion to concur to the tax legislation (HR 4853.) At 3 p.m., the Senate will hold a cloture vote with respect to the measure. 


The House will meet at 10 a.m. for a pro forma session.


American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 13-17. The fall meeting will include a speech by Dr. John Holdren (President's Science Advisor) and sessions on "Extratropical and High-latitude Storms, Teleconnections, and Changing Climate," "Bringing Together Environmental, Socio-Economic, and Climatic Change Studies in Northern Eurasia," "The Use of Observations for Evaluating CMIP5/IPCC Simulations," and "The Future of Polar Science: The Path Beyond the IPY." 


Media Reviewtodaysevents


Cancun Ends With Modest Climate Deal. Negotiators from about 190 countries kivalina girl
reached a modest set of agreements early Saturday in Cancun o
n how to tackle global warming but punted some of the most controversial questions for a later date. A year after U.N.-led talks all but collapsed in Copenhagen, delegates from countries large and small signed off on a package of low-hanging fruit that includes establishing a program to keep tropical rainforests standing, sharing low-carbon energy technologies and preparing a $100 billion fund to help the world's most vulnerable cope with a changing climate. Politico


The Week at a Glance: December 13-17, 2010. On its return, the Senate begins with procedural votes on a bill to extend expiring George W. Bush-era tax provisions. With funding for the government set to expire Dec. 18, work will continue during the week on fiscal 2011 appropriations. The House's week will be determined in large part by the Senate, as the chamber decides whether to clear or amend any tax or spending provisions the Senate sends over. Congressional Quarterly

Indigenous Americans reveal agony of rampant suicide. Nationwide program meant to develop plan to address problem. ADN (suicide)

Warming means ringed seals face an uncertain future. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last week proposed listing ringed seals as a threatened species because of the projected loss of snow cover and sea ice from climate warming. The agency also proposed listing bearded seals, which need pack ice over shallow water for reproducing and molting ADN (seals).


As Promised, Republican Leaders Cutting the Rosters of House Committees. House Republican leaders appear to be making good on their promise to reduce the size of committees, an effort tied to their goal of cutting costs and increasing government efficiency. As the incoming House majority released the names of lawmakers who have won seats on some of the most important committees, it became clear that the rosters of the Ways and Means and the Appropriations panels are being scaled back. Similar reductions are likely in store for other committees. Congressional Quarterly


Russia Probes Arctic Shelf Through Summer. Russian scientists are expected to continue their examination of the Arctic continental shelf through the summer, a lead researcher said. With sea ice receding in part because of global climate change, the United States, Canada, Demark, Norway, and Russia are examining territorial claims to the Arctic as once-trapped hydrocarbons become more exposed. UPI


Russia to Hold Annual Arctic Forums: Arkhangelsk May Hold Next Year's Arctic Forum.  Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced on Saturday that Arctic Forums will be held annually. The Prime Minister said Russia wants to continue an open discussion of key Arctic problems, including nature protection and climate change.Barents Observer


Are Alaska's wildfires accelerating global warming? A series of warmer summers and drier springs in Interior Alaska has forced wildfires to burn deeper into the region's ancient peat, releasing far more carbon dioxide into the air than previously thought, according to a new study by a team of scientists. Alaska Dispatch


NSB logoNorth Slope and Northwest Arctic Borough Representatives Examine Shell Oil Spill Response Fleet. On Thursday, a group of two dozen community leaders from the Northwest Arctic and North Slope boroughs traveled to Unalaska to examine Shell's oil spill response fleet. The federal government agreed to process Shell's application to drill an exploratory well in the Beaufort Sea next summer, and now the company is addressing environmental and social concerns held by local officials and tribal representatives. KUCB


Shell Agrees to Transport Drill Fluids Out of Arctic Seas. Shell has agreed to transport its used drilling fluids from Beaufort Sea exploration drilling out of the Arctic if the company finally gets government permission to drill a well next summer. The concession aims to address concerns expressed by Inupiat residents of coastal villages, and could set a precedent for other exploration wells drilled in Arctic outer continental shelf waters because Shell's drilling approval, if it comes, will be the first by the federal government in recent years. Alaska Journal


Polar Bears in Remote North Have High Levels of Toxic Pollutants. With its pristine-looking, snow-covered flats and mirror-like oceans that come with frigid temperatures and limited human exposure, the Arctic looks as clean as it could get, but it's not - nature's northern refuge is toxic. In fact, the 2500 polar bears that roam Norway's remote Svalbard have some of the highest levels of toxic organic pollutants of any animal on the planet, professor Bj