US Arctic Research Commission
January 26, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents



The House is expected to consider legislation to end public financing of presidential campaigns and party conventions.  The Senate is expected to consider a resolution regarding the January 8th shooting in Arizona and a chamber rule changes.


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. 

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."


Media Reviewtodaysevents  


State of the Union Address. Yesterday, the President presented the State of the Union address.  Video of this address is available here. A transcript of the GOP response given by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) is here.


Cold War Sub Base to Become Arctic Research Center. Arctic research institutions want to buy a submarine base in northern Norway to convert it into a High North research center. Barents Observer


Canadian Navy Refueling Depot Construction Delayed to 2013. Construction on the Navy's re-fueling depot on the same property as the old Nanisivik mine will be delayed until 2013 because the project is still in the design phase. "People are interested in knowing what's going on," said Arctic Bay mayor Niore Iqalukjuak.  The navy refueling station for the Canadian Forces and Coast Guard ships operating in the High Arctic was supposed to open in 2015 but that date will probably also be pushed back as well. Northern News Service


China Backed to Play Larger Role in Arctic. China is receiving more support to take part in Arctic affairs, as Norway reiterated Monday its favor of China being an Chinaflagobserver of the Arctic Council, Reuters reported. At a conference on "Arctic Frontiers" in northern Norway, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told Reuters that Oslo favored granting China an observer role at meetings of the Arctic Council, which groups the US, Russia, Canada and the five Nordic countries. China-Norway relations hit a low after the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, an imprisoned criminal convicted of breaking Chinese law, on December 10. Global Times


Obama Endorses 'Clean' Energy Mandate. Invoking the imagery of the space race, President Obama on Tuesday called for major new investments in "clean" sources of energy, embraced the concept of a clean-energy mandate and challenged Americans to "out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world." Conspicuously missing from the State of the Union address were any references to "global warming" or "climate change." Instead, the energy initiatives were framed as investments to promote innovation and create jobs. Obama said the nation faces a "Sputnik moment" that requires an emphasis on research and education to develop new technologies. He pledged to "fund the Apollo projects of our time." Congressional Quarterly


Browner's Sudden Exit Has Observers Guessing About Obama's Energy Plans. Environmentalists mourned and industry celebrated the abrupt departure of White House energy "czar" Carol Browner, as lawmakers and interest groups tried to sort out the impact it would have on the Obama administration's clean-energy agenda. Browner, who served as EPA administrator during both of President Bill Clinton's terms, announced Monday night she would step down as President Obama's top environmental and energy adviser. Her appointment had signaled that clean energy would be a priority for the administration, and her departure has led to speculation that the White House is changing course. Congressional Quarterly


Survey to Probe Arctic Ice Melt. Scientists and explorers will shortly set off on an expedition aiming to discover how Arctic sea ice melts. This year's Catlin Arctic Survey will focus on the thin layer of water immediately under the floating ice. Arctic ice is melting faster in summer than many computer models predict. Survey data could improve forecasts of the region's future, and also show how likely it is that the flow of warm water in the North Atlantic, known as the Gulf Stream, will switch off. BBC News


Castration Seen as Climate Change Aid for Reindeer. Indigenous Sami peoples in the Arctic may have found a way to help their reindeer herds cope with climate castrationchange: more castration. Research by Sami experts shows that sterilized males can grow larger and so are better at digging for food -- as Arctic temperatures vary more, thawing snow often refreezes to form thick ice over lichen pastures. Neutered males are more able to break through ice with their hooves or antlers, and seem more willing than other males to move aside and share food with calves that can die of starvation in bad freeze-thaw winters like 2000-01. Reuters


Senate Ends First Day, Dashing One Strategy to Change Rules. Senate leaders agreed on Tuesday to end their first day of the 112th Congress in a move that scuttles a strategy to change the chamber's rules while inching the Senate closer to an agreement on the issue. The Senate has been frozen since the start of the 112th Congress as Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other Senate leaders have tried for the past three weeks to negotiate the issue with a group of mostly junior Democrats. The less-senior lawmakers want to change Senate filibuster rules and other procedures that have been used by the minority to slow debate. The reform-minded Members had threatened to use a Senate procedure that would require only 51 votes to pass a rules change if it was conducted on the first day of the legislative session. Changing the rules traditionally requires 67 votes. Roll Call


Members of Senate Leadership Working to Ease Flow of Legislative Business. Members of the Senate leadership are working on a "gentleman's agreement" to smooth the flow of legislative business. Sens. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), vice chairman of the Democratic Conference, and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, are leading the effort, according to a source familiar with the talks. The details have been kept secret, but the agreement could include a deal to reduce the number of times Republicans filibuster motions to proceed to legislation in exchange for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) giving the GOP more opportunities to offer amendments to legislation. The Hill


Murkowski Comments on Future of Arctic Exploration U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, MurkowskiR-Alaska, today released the following comments regarding the future of oil and gas development in the Arctic following a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Commission's final report: "The United States is an Arctic nation because of Alaska. We cannot ignore the fact that Russia will drill in the Chukchi Sea in coming years and that Canada is already exploring the Beaufort Sea. Alaska cannot be forced to sit in the middle of this activity - bearing all the same risk but none of the reward - while our pipeline runs dry and our jobs disappear." Senate Energy Committee

Legislative Actionfutureevents

S. 33, to designate a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness. (Lieberman- introduced and referred to committee)


S. 40, to amend the Public Health Service Act to promote mental and behavioral health services for underserved populations. (Inouye- introduced and referred to committee)


S. 51, to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide health care practitioners in rural areas with training in preventive health care, including both physical and mental care. (Inouye- introduced and referred to committee)


S. 60, to provide relief to the Pottawatomi Nation in Canada for settlement of certain claims against the United States (Inouye- introduced and referred to committee)


S. 61, to establish a Native American Economic Advisory Council (Inouye- introduced and referred to committee)

Future Eventsfutureevents

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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