US Arctic Research Commission
January 25, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents


The Senate is in session and may consider rule changes.The House may consider a resolution to reduce the caps on non-security spending for FY11 to FY08 levels.


Arctic Tipping Points, January 23-29, 2011. Arctic Frontiers will host a conferenceseesaw considering the following topics: Ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions in the Arctic;  Marine ecosystems and fisheries; Socioeconomic and institutional perspectives; and People of the North. 

State of the Union, January 25.  The President will address a joint session of Congress to present the State of the Union.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Cold Jumps Arctic 'Fence,' Stoking Winter's Fury. Judging by the weather, the world seems to have flipped upside down. For two winters running, an Arctic chill has descended on Europe, burying that continent in snow and ice. Last year in the United coldwindsblowingStates, historic blizzards afflicted the mid-Atlantic region. This winter the Deep South has endured unusual snowstorms and severe cold, and a frigid Northeast is bracing for what could shape into another major snowstorm this week.  Yet while people in Atlanta learn to shovel snow, the weather 2,000 miles to the north has been freakishly warm the past two winters. Throughout northeastern Canada and Greenland, temperatures in December ran as much as 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Bays and lakes have been slow to freeze; ice fishing, hunting and trade routes have been disrupted. New York Times 


Carol Browner to Leave White House. Carol M. Browner, President Barack Obama's top energy and environmental adviser, plans to leave the White House in the coming weeks, White House officials said Monday night. Browner, who served as Environmental Protection Agency administrator for all eight years under President Bill Clinton, has emerged as one of the most experienced Washington hands in the current West Wing. Her calm, authoritative television presence during last year's BP oil disaster made her one of the few government officials whose stature was enhanced in the aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe. But passage of a comprehensive climate change bill, a career-long goal and the primary mission of her office, collapsed last year and seems unlikely for some time to come with the current House Republican majority. Politico


Canadians Link Arctic Defense With National Identity: Survey. Canadians exhibit a stronger sense of possessiveness toward their Arctic territories - and are Canada-US flagsleast compromising when it comes to securing sovereignty in the region - compared with the Northern Hemisphere's seven other polar nations, according an international survey commissioned by the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. The eight-nation poll, summarized in a report released Tuesday titled Rethinking the Top of the World, shows the tough-minded attitude is shared by northern and southern Canadians alike, who are significantly more likely to emphasize the importance of maintaining a "firm line" in protecting Arctic interests than residents of Russia, the U.S., Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden. The Montreal Gazette


Big Cuts on the Agenda, Details on Hold. With an ambitious plan to cut $100 billion in federal spending as a backdrop, House Republicans are sticking to broad pronouncements about the need for cuts as they quietly work out a legislative strategy for the coming months. Unlike previous leadership regimes in the House that charged ahead furiously in the early weeks of their new tenure, Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) have taken a measured approach. Aside from last week's symbolic vote on repeal of the health care law - a bill even Republicans acknowledge has no chance of becoming law - the schedule has been limited to minor spending cuts such as a federal printing reduction bill and broader resolutions tasking committees with beginning work on more substantive measures. Roll Call


Energy Resources: Arctic Isn't 'Wild West,' U.S. Navy says. It's unlikely that the five littoral nations of the Arctic Ocean will go to war over undiscovered oil and gas reserves, an assessment by the U.S. Navy says. Melting sea ice is exposing untapped reserves of oil and natural gas in the polar regions of the Northern Hemisphere. U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Dave Titley said at an arctic conference in Norway that commercial shipping lanes could open through the arctic as early as 2035. "We believe that sometime between 2035 and 2040 there is a pretty good chance that the Arctic Ocean will be essentially ice-free for about a month," he was quoted by the Financial Times as saying. UPI


Waxman Calls for Inquiry Into Scientist's Financial Ties to Energy Industry. California Democrat Henry A. Waxman on Monday called for an investigation into the MichaelsPatrick2009 testimony of a scientist who questioned the validity of global warming, suggesting he might have misled the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the extent of his earnings from the energy industry. Waxman, the panel's ranking member, said Cato Institute scientist Patrick J. Michaels" may have provided misleading information about the sources of his funding and his ties to industries opposed to regulation of emissions responsible for climate change" when he said he received only 3 percent of his funding from energy industry sources. Congressional Quarterly


Lugar: Shifting Focus on Energy Debate Could Foster Bipartisan Support. Sen. Richard G. Lugar said Monday that a shift from the polarizing debate over curbing greenhouse gas emissions to one that emphasizes the national security risks of U.S. dependence on foreign oil could yield bipartisan cooperation on energy legislation in the new divided Congress. Speaking at the Clean Economy Summit in Washington one day before the State of the Union address, the moderate Indiana Republican said President Obama squandered the opportunity to work on energy legislation in the last Congress by emphasizing climate change. Congressional Quarterly


The Arctic Council is the Best Way for Canada to Resolve its Territorial Disputes. Last September, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Norwegian Primearcticcouncil Minister Jens Stoltenberg met in Murmansk, Russia, to sign a treaty that puts to rest a 40-year boundary dispute. The agreement divides into two equal parts the 175,000 square kilometre area and stipulates that all oil and gas deposits found along its border can only be developed jointly by both nations. The Globe and Mail


Poll Aims to Get Baseline Data for Alaska Domestic Violence: 'ALARMING:' Officials in Alaska may learn if efforts to curb the problem work. Nearly half of all Alaska women have been threatened or physically harmed by a partner during their lifetime, according to a newly released survey intended to provide a baseline for domestic violence and sexual assault rates in the state. Anchorage Daily News  


Barrasso Slams Spill Commission, Says Members Weren't Experts on Drilling. A member of the Senate GOP leadership team is bashing the presidential oil spill commission's final report, a sign that the panel's ideas will have trouble gaining bipartisan support. The criticism Monday from Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) - the vice-chairman of the Senate Republican Conference - comes two days before the leaders of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling will appear at a pair of Capitol Hill hearings. The Hill


Commission Recommends Protection Listing for Walrus: MARINE MAMMALS: They're threatened by loss of sea ice, it says. The federal Marine Mammal RagenCommission has recommended that Pacific walrus be listed as threatened or endangered, citing threats to the marine mammals from the loss of sea ice they rely on for foraging and giving birth. This comes as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service faces a court-ordered deadline at the end of the month to decide whether to recommend walrus for the endangered-species list. Anchorage Daily News

Legislative Actionfutureevents

No Arctic-related legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Eventsfutureevents

Oil Spill Commission Report, January 26.  The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing titled "The Final Report from the President's National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling."


President's Budget, February 7. By statute, the president is required to submit his annual budget proposal to Congress by the first Monday in February.
Arctic Technology Conference, February 7-9, 2011. The Arctic is one of the few places on the globe which still holds enormous new petroleum reserve potential. A recently completed USGS survey estimated that 20% of the world's remaining reserves were trapped beneath the Arctic Circle. OTC's inaugural Arctic Technology Conference (ATC), 7-9 February 2011 in Houston, Texas, will be a truly global event focused on the cutting-edge technologies and innovative practices needed for exploration and production in the Arctic.

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? University Graduate School of Business, the High North Centre for Business and Governance (affiliated with the University), the International Institute of Energy Politics and Diplomacy (MIEP) at MGIMO University in Moscow, Russia, and HBW Resources have hosted an annual Arctic Dialogue and Study Tour.  The tour brings together stakeholders from all Arctic nations (government, industries, academic, native and local peoples) to discuss issues involving resource development in the Arctic, share common experiences, best practices and solutions. For more information contact Andrew Browning.


Arctic Science Summit Week, Seoul, March 28-April 1, 2011. The purpose of Korean Flagthe Arctic Science Summit Week is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science. The Arctic Science Week 2011 is supported by the Korean government, the Korean Research Council of Fundamental Science & Technology, and the Seoul Tourism Organization, among other groups.

The Arctic as a Messenger for Global Processes- Climate Change and Pollution, May 4-6, 2011. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), the University of Copenhagen, and Aarhus University. The conference will include talks by invited keynote speakers, oral presentations selected on the basis of submitted abstracts, poster presentations, and short oral presentations of selected posters. A panel discussion will develop messages to be communicated to the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting that will take place in Greenland one week after the conference. 

Sixth International Conference on Arctic Margins, May 31-June 2, 2011 at the University of Alaska - Fairbanks.  The International Conference on Arctic Margins (ICAM) will examine current geological and geophysical research on the Arctic. Topics include: hydrocarbon potential and gas hydrates; science issues relating to UNCLOS Article 76; geodynamic significance of Arctic magmatism; vertical motions in the Arctic, tectonic, and glacial; geology and palaeogeography of the Arctic continental margins; evolution of the Arctic Ocean basins, including plate reconstructions, magmatism, and sedimentology; modern Arctic environments, including geological, climatic, and oceanographic processes; recent advances in Arctic research technology. More information email.
7th Congress of the International Arctic Social Sciences, June 22-26, 2011The 7th Congress, "Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences Beyond the IPY," will be held in Akureyri, Iceland. The International Congress of the Arctic Social Sciences is held every three years. 
Holocene Glacier Variability from the Tropics to the Poles, July 20-27, 2011. Glaciers respond sensitively to climate change. Recent (Holocene) glacier fluctuations are a valuable proxy for terrestrial interglacial paleoclimate conditions. A main challenge for interpreting paleoclimate from past mountain glacier extents is distinguishing local and regional patterns from global signals. Reconstructing Holocene glacier extents involves many disciplines including terrestrial and marine geology, geochronology and glaciology. Organizers hope to facilitate an inter-hemispheric comparison of glacier records including locations in the Tropics, European Alps, American Cordillera, Southern Alps of New Zealand, Himalaya and Polar Regions and to identify future research questions and directions. For additional information contact: Meredith Kelly.
13th Arctic Ungulates Conference (AUC), August 22-26, 2011. The theme of the conference will be "Challenges of Managing Northern Ungulates." The theme Muskokaddresses the difficulties of managing ungulate populations that are faced with the unpredictable effects of climate change and an ever-increasing human presence on the land. The conference will also focus on the challenges associated with developing recovery actions for declining caribou and reindeer populations that are an integral part of Aboriginal cultures and ways of life. 
9th International Symposium on Permafrost Engineering, September 3-7, 2011. The Melnikov Permafrost Institute (Yakutsk, Russia), the Institute of Northern Mining (Yakutsk, Russia), the Cold and Arid Regions Engineering and Environmental Research Institute (Lanzhou, China), and the Heilongjiang Institute of Cold Region  Engineering (Harbin, China) will host the Ninth International Symposium on  Permafrost Engineering to be held in Mirny, Yakutia. The aim of the Symposium i s to provide a forum for discussion of permafrost engineering issues, as well as for exchange of practical experience in construction and maintenance of engineering structures on frozen ground. For additional information, please contact Lilia Prokopieva.
Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, September 14-17, 2011. The 27th Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, entitled "Fishing People of the North: Cultures, Economies, and Management Responding to Change," will be held in Anchorage, Alaska. This international symposium will provide a forum for scholars, fishery managers, fishing families, and others to explore the human dimensions of fishery systems and growing need to include social science research in policy processes. The conference is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Sea Grant program.


The Tenth International Conference on Permafrost, June 2012. The conference will be held in Tyumen, Russia, and is organized and hosted by Russia. The last conference was held in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2008.  More details to follow.

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