US Arctic Research Commission
January 7, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents


The House will consider a floor rule to repeal health care reform.  The Senate is in recess, but the Budget panel will hear testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The Senate stands in recess and will reconvene on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011.

Media Reviewtodaysevents 


Treadwell Tapped for Arctic Advice.  Gov. Sean Parnell seems to be Treadwellmaking good on one of his promises: To give Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell the lead on all things Arctic. The governor has named Treadwell as the state's representative to the U.S. Arctic Commission, the panel Treadwell used to head before he decided to run for state office. Alaska Dispatch


OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Gulf oil spill report stirs talk of legislation. A major report on the BP oil spill coupled with jitters about rising gas prices are reviving talk in the Senate of tackling spill response and energy legislation. The oil spill commission released a chapter of its final report Wednesday. The full report will be released next week. The report blamed a "failure of management" by BP and the other companies involved in the construction and operation of the Macondo well for the spill. But before a bill can move forward, one major issue has to be resolved: liability. Drill-state lawmakers have locked horns with anti-drilling Democrats over the issue of exactly what portion of the damages from an oil spill the responsible party must pay. The Hill


Russia: Talking Modernizing, Prioritizing Energy. Establishing Russia as the world's biggest energy provider was critical in returning the country to a position of importance in geo-politics and in restoring the strong sense of national pride and confidence that, as much as improving living standards, underpins majority public support for Vladimir Putin. For that reason, maintaining average daily oil production at 10 million barrels per day and connecting additional gas pipes to Europe and Asia are by far the greater priorities in Russia. Keeping oil production at the current rate over the next ten years, i.e. the declared objective of government, while keeping tax revenue high enough to fund planned budget expenditures, is going to be a difficult juggling act. Nobody doubts that there will have to be changes to the current tax oil & gas sector structures and that capital investment in the industry will have to be increased. BSR Russia


Arctic Search and Rescue Treaty in Works. Canada and other northern nations are SARexpected to sign a treaty that would clarify how search and rescue efforts are handled in the Arctic. Eight countries in the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum, are working on the legally binding treaty, which will require the nations to co-ordinate with each other in the event of a plane crash, cruise ship sinking, big oil spill or other major disaster. CBC News


Bingaman Schedules Hearing on BP Spill, Hopes to Consider Anew a Measure From 2010. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will start the new Congress focusing on last year's BP oil spill, holding a hearing later this month on the White House oil spill commission's report and resurrecting oil spill legislation that the panel unanimously approved last year. Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., announced Thursday that the chairmen of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill - former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., and William Reilly, who headed the EPA during George Bush's presidency - will present the panel's recommendations to the committee Jan. 26th. Congressional Quarterly 


Feinstein May Seek Top Spot on Energy-Water Appropriations Subcommittee. California Democrat Dianne Feinstein is expected to seek the chairmanship of the Senate Energy-Water Appropriations Subcommittee, a move that would give her major sway over nuclear weapons, research laboratories and water projects, but would leave an opening atop the panel that oversees environmental regulators and public lands management. "She's very interested and I think that's what she's going to ask for," said Louisiana Democrat Mary L. Landrieu, a fellow appropriator. The position was vacated with the retirement of Byron L. Dorgan, D-N.D. Congressional Quarterly 


Boxer Promises to Use 'Every Single Tool' to Thwart GOP's Climate Rollback. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she will "use every single tool available" to thwart efforts by House Republicans to block the Environmental Protection Agency's climate regulations. "Those who want to undermine these laws will bring harm to the American people," Boxer, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, told reporters Thursday. Boxer targeted her remarks toward Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who plans to target the EPA's climate authority this year. Senators, including Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), also plan to work to delay or block the agency's climate rules. The Hill


Gulf of Mexico Oil Leak May Give Arctic Climate Clues. Writing in the journal Science, US researchers report that methane-absorbing bacteria multiplied in the Gulf following the April accident. The Arctic contains vast stores of methane, and its release could quickly accelerate warming around the world. But scientists caution that the regions are very different. The research ship Pisces, operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), made several voyages into the Gulf in the months following the leak. BBC News

Reykjavik Mayor: Better to care for foreign visitors (polar bears) than to shoot them. The mayor of Reykjavik, Jon Gnarr, has declared that Iceland should take more care to rehabilitate visitors from overseas than to shoot them. This, even though the visitors in question are the biggest and most dangerous land predators Icelandanywhere: hungry and dangerous polar bears stranded many hundreds of kilometres from home. Over the coming days or weeks, an international fund-raising effort will begin to collect money for the construction of a polar bear rehabilitation facility at Reykjavik Family Zoo. Jon Gnarr's Best Party - made up of artists, comedians and musicians - was elected to run Reykjavik City after voters used last year's election to vent their frustration at the traditional parties. Gnarr was elected with several unusual promises, including free towels for every swimming pool guest, open and honest corruption, a drug-free parliament by 2020, and a polar bear for the zoo. IceNews: News from the Nordics


Begich Says Markey ANWR Wilderness Bill Has No Merit. U.S. Sen. Mark Begich says Congressman Ed Markey's bill to designate the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's coastal plain as wilderness has no merit. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, introduced his bill Wednesday. He's introduced the bill into every session of Congress since 2001. If successful, the move would put the refuge - and its estimated 11 billion barrels of recoverable oil - beyond the reach of oil companies. Fairbanks Daily News Miner


Canada Well-Placed on New Arctic Search-and-Rescue Agreement, Say Feds. The federal government is downplaying suggestions that a new international agreement on Arctic search and rescue will force Canada to upgrade its capabilities in the region. The agreement, negotiated by the eight Arctic countries and expected to be signed in May, assigns legal areas of responsibility to each nation and lays out how each will work together in the event of an emergency in the Far North. Canada is already well-placed to live up to its obligations once the treaty is formally signed, says a response from the Department of Foreign Affairs. Toronto Star


Legislative Actionfutureevents


No Arctic-related legislation was formally considered yesterday.


Future Eventsfutureevents

Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 17-21. Within each theme (Bering AMSS 2011 promoSea, Arctic Ocean, and Gulf of Alaska), presenters will discuss climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fish and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research.
National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment, January 19-21. One of the conference themes is "White Arctic/ Blue Arctic." This theme will address ice changes in the Arctic to consider several questions: What does science tell us about the future of the Arctic? How would issues about the future - white or blue - be resolved? What models and monitoring data will be required to support an emerging management regime that would allow for sustainable use of the Arctic? How can use of the Arctic and its resources be managed in the face of these possibilities?

95th meeting of the USARC, Jan. 21, Anchorage. The USARC will meet in the usarc logo smallQuadrant room of the Captain Cook Hotel, starting at 8:30 am. A detailed agenda is now available at

Public Forum on Natural Gas Markets, January 22. The federal coordinator's office for the Alaska natural gas pipeline will sponsor a public forum on gas markets Jan. 22 to help Alaskans better understand the supply-and-demand fundamentals affecting the proposed pipeline project. The Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects will bring to Alaska several national experts on Lower 48 supply and demand issues including shale gas, the effect of federal clean air regulations on natural gas demand, and foreign markets for liquefied natural gas. Panelists


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.
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 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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