US Arctic Research Commission
February 24, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate have recessed for the President's Day district work week.


Murkowski Alaska State Legislature Address, February 24. Senator Murkowski will deliver her annual address to the Alaska State Legislature. 


Canada's Arctic Policy, February 24-25.  The Institute of the North will host a policy discussion on Canada's Arctic Policy with Consul Jennifer Loten.  The policy forum will consider the Arctic's infrastructure deficit, circumpolar environmental response capacity, and Arctic marine traffic systems.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


House GOP to Propose Short-Term CR.  House Republicans will introduce a short-term funding bill to avert a government shutdown while making reductions to the federal budget by week's end, GOP leadership aides said Wednesday. The goal, aides said, was to craft a bill that makes enough cuts to appease conservatives but cherry-picks reductions that Democrats and Republicans already support to make it palatable to the minority and the White House. That, Republicans hope, will put enough pressure on Senate Democratic moderates that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will be forced to accept the bill. Roll Call


House Plans Two-Week Spending Bill Including Major Cuts. With the risk of a government shutdown hanging in the balance, House Republican appropriators are trying to write a stopgap spending bill that would satisfy conservatives' appetite for cuts while also attracting votes from some Senate Democrats. GOP budget hawks are pushing for deep spending cuts this year, and House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has promised that even short-term spending bills, including a continuing resolution (CR), would include some spending reductions. Congressional Quarterly


White House Says a Shutdown is Still Avoidable. The White House continues to express confidence that a last-minute deal will be reached to fund the government before a shutdown is triggered on March 4. "We believe there is the strong potential there for us to reach an agreement to avoid what you called a government shutdown," Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters in Wednesday's briefing. Government Executive


UN Report Urges Action on 'Black Carbon,' Smog. Curbing sooty particles emitted by burning biomass and smog caused by traffic fumes would slow the onslaught of climate change and deliver many health benefits, a UN report said here on Wednesday. Removing these sources of pollution by 2030 would take 0.5 degrees Celsius off the expected 1.0 C rise in global warming by mid-century, it said. The biggest beneficiaries would be the Arctic, the Himalayas and other glaciated regions that are highly vulnerable to warming. Health benefits would be almost immediate, by ending a major source of respiratory illness, it said. Montreal Gazette


Arctic Resource Development Inevitable and Safe: Greenland. Greenland Premier Kuupik Kleist came out swinging Feb. 23 in favour of Greenland's right to develop its offshore oil and gas reserves and mineral deposits. Inuit leaders from around the circumpolar world are meeting this week in Ottawa to develop a collective position on resource development throughout the Arctic region. Nunatsiaq Online 


Greenland's Inuit Premier Defends Oil and Gas Drilling. The Inuit Premier of Greenland is passionate in defending the need to develop his country's oil and gas potential - a stance that puts him at odds with Canadian Inuit groups, which have tried to block offshore drilling near their communities. Kuupik Kleist was one of the speakers at a two-day summit of Inuit leaders who met this week to discuss resource development. Mr. Kleist said Wednesday that there will be oil and gas extraction in and around Greenland and the Inuit want to dictate its terms. Here is what he said in response to questions from reporters; the questions have been edited and the answers trimmed. The Globe and Mail


White House Analyst to Take Questions on Arctic Policy. The Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy will host a statewide webinar Thursday, Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. The webinar and discussion will focus on current arctic policy issues. Kathryn Moran, senior policy analyst at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, will be available for questions and discussion. The Arctic Sounder


Unlocking Arctic Carbon. Sometime in the next 20 years, Arctic soil that has been frozen since the last ice age will begin thawing in response to rapidly warming polar temperatures and start releasing a vast reservoir of carbon into the atmosphere. A new study puts the first numbers and dates on these "irreversible" permafrost emissions, and it looks like enough to kick the global warming trend into another gear. The carbon is released by the decay of roots and other organic material exposed to the atmosphere after thousands of years of being locked away in the deep freeze of permanently frozen Arctic dirt. Research scientist Kevin Schaefer at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, CO, and colleagues, writing in the journal Tellus, estimate that by 2200, the melting of up to 60 percent of the Northern Hemisphere's permafrost could add some 190 billion tons of carbon to the atmosphere. Discovery News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal action was taken yesterday.

Future Eventsfutureevents      


Fiscal 2012 Budget: Interior Department, March 2.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2012 budget request for the Department of Interior.


Fiscal 2012 Budget: Forest Service, March 3.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2012 budget request for the U.S. Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture.


International Conference on Arctic Marine Science, International Law and Climate Protection, March 17-18. The German Federal Foreign Office is hosting an event that will take place on the Berlin premises of the Federal Office. The event is co-hosted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, with additional support from prominent research institutes. The Conference will discuss the legal framework for marine scientific research in the Arctic Ocean at present and in the future. Scholars, scientists and diplomats with an interest in the Arctic Ocean are invited to attend. For more information, please contact


Arctic Dialogue & Study Tour, March 22-24, 2011. For the past four years Norway's Bod