US Arctic Research Commission
June 17, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are in recess. 


Meetings of State Parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law

Dark green: ratified. Light green signed. Gray: did not sign

of the Sea, June 13-17, 2011. The State Parties to UNCOLS will hold their 21st meeting in New York to host elections, review information submitted to the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority, hear a report from the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, and review a report on issues of a general nature relevant to State parties, that have arisen with respect to the United Nations

Convention on the Law of the Sea.


Alaska Outer Continental Shelf Permits, June 15-17. The Environmental Protection Agency will hold meetings in Barrow (June 16-17) to consider air permit applications for exploratory oil and gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas as well new water permits for activities in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas to replace the expiring Arctic Oil and Gas Exploration NPDES General Permit.

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Senator Begich Introduces Arctic bills. On Thursday, Senator Begich introduced two bills on the Arctic similar to those that he introduced in the past. One is on Arctic health and the other would create an ambassador at large for Arctic Affairs. Senator Begich continues to put arctic issues in the forefront.  


Economic Development Bill Stalls in Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday moved to limit debate on a pending economic development bill, a tacit acknowledgment that it is essentially dead in the water after being subjected to a series of votes on unrelated amendments. The underlying measure would reauthorize the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA) at $500 million for each of fiscal years 2011 through 2015. The Environment and Public Works Committee estimates that the programs created more than 300,000 jobs from 2005 to 2010, with each dollar of funding attracting nearly $7 in private sector investment. Congressional Quarterly


Greenpeace Ups Ante in Greenland Battle with Cairn. Greenpeace ignored a court injunction on Friday and boarded a Cairn Energy drilling rig off Greenland, raising the stakes in a battle over the development of the area as a major new oil-producing province. Greenpeace said campaigners including the global head of the environmental group, Kumi Naidoo, boarded the rig, which is drilling just outside the Arctic circle, following similar occupations in recent weeks and last year. Reuters


Naval Chief: Sea Service Ready for Combat. The Navy is poised to take on a greater load in future military operations thanks to changes made by the sea service in recent years, its top officer said Thursday. During the early 2000s, the Navy had a much smaller role in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, leading military experts - and some service officials - to wonder how the service would fit into future U.S. combat operations. The Hill 


All Roads Lead to the Arctic. Nature may help people to develop the northern territories of the planet. Due to climate change, the Arctic might become a key infrastructure route in the world. An international conference on "Innovation and Security Cooperation in the Euro-Arctic Zone" that ended in the Norwegian city of Kirkenes focused on these emerging opportunities. According to scientists, global warming is beneficial for Russia in a number of ways, largely linked to the Arctic. Climate change is altering logistics patterns. With the melting of ice in the north, new shipping routes will appear, including first and foremost, the northern shipping route, the shortest route between the European territory of Russia and the Far East. The possible cargo transport along this route is estimated at 8-12 million tons a year. The Voice of Russia 


Arctic Ice Melting Faster Than Predicted: REPORT: Summer temperatures higher than past 2000 years. Surface temperatures in the Arctic since 2005 have been higher than for any five-year period since records began in 1880, according to a new report from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, an international group within the Arctic Council that monitors the Arctic environment and provides advice on Arctic environmental protection. Anchorage Daily News


U.N.: To Combat Warming, Cut Soot and Smog. Tighter limits on soot and smog provide a quick and easy way to fight global warming while protecting human health and raising crop output, a U.N. study said on Tuesday. It outlined 16 measures, ranging from plugging leaky gas transport pipelines to improving wood burning stoves, to limit "black carbon" -- soot -- methane and tropospheric ozone, which is a greenhouse gas that is a big component of smog. "A small number of emission reduction measures ... offer dramatic public health, agricultural, economic and environmental benefits," Achim Steiner, head of the U.N. Environment Programme, said in a statement on the report. Reuters

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 2112, Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration appropriations (Kingston, approved by the House)


S. 782, Economic Development Revitalization Act (Boxer, considered in the Senate)


S. 1226, To amend the Clean Air Act to address air pollution from Outer Continental Shelf activities (Murkowski, introduced and referred to committee)


S. 1227, To improved Arctic health (Begich, introduced and referred to committee)


S. 1229, To amend the State Department Basic Authorities Act to establish a United States Ambassador at Large for Arctic Affairs (Begich, introduced and referred to committee)


Future Events                 


The Arctic Imperative, June 19-21, 2011. The Alaska Dispatch, Aspen Institute,

Fran Ulmer

Commonwealth North, and the Institute of the North will host a domestic investment and policy forum titled "The Arctic Imperative." The forum, at the Alyeska Resort near Anchorage, will bring together international policymakers, industry, and investment leaders to consider topics such as security, resources, port development, marine shipping, commerce, and trade. The goal of the gathering is to "sharpen the world's focus on the policy and investment needs of Arctic development through a series of high-level meetings, presentations and investor roundtables." Confirmed speakers include Fran Ulmer, Chair of the USARC; Edward Itta, Mayor of the North Slope Borough; Thomas Barrett, President of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company; Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations; Mead Treadwell, Lt. Gov. of the State of Alaska; David Rubenstein, Managing Director of the Carlyle Group; Reggie Joule, Alaska State Legislator, among others.


4th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval NIC_logo

and Maritime Operations, June 20-22, 2011 (downtown DC).  The symposium, co-hosted by the U.S. National Ice Center and the U.S. Arctic Research in Arctic Ocean sea ice on a wide range of maritime operations. Confirmed speakers include the Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Research, RADM Nevin Carr Jr., the Commandant of the US Coast Guard ADM Robert Papp, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco. The forum is a key opportunity to learn about changes in the Arctic environment, and the manner in which they are being responded to in terms of policies and practices. Registration is now open.


Tribal Energy Development at the Federal Level, July 14-15, 2011. Law Seminars International will host a seminar for attorneys, tribes, industry executives, and government officials to discuss energy development on tribal lands.


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 addresses 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 is 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. 


4th International Sea Duck Conference, September 12-16, 2011. The seaduckconference is held to provide researchers and managers with opportunities to share information, research, and conduct workshops.


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.    


Advanced Workshop on Oil Spills In Sea Ice: Past, Present and Future Fermo

September 20-23, 2011. A technical workshop, organized by Dr. Peter Wadhams, on the physical problems associated with oil spills and blowouts in sea ice will be held at the Istituto Geografico Polare "Silvio Zavatti," Fermo, Italy. Scientists, engineers and policy makers are invited to address the questions of how oil is emitted from a blowout or spill, how the oil and gas are incorporated in the under-ice surface, how the oil layer evolves, how the oil is transported by the ice, and how and where eventual release occurs. The aim is to incorporate the experience of those scientists who worked in this field in the 1970s-1990s, when large-scale field experiments involving oil release were possible, and to relate this to the needs of present researchers who are seeking solutions to the problem of a sustainable Arctic oil spill management system. Notably, the workshop will be attended by the oil spill work package of the EU ACCESS project (Arctic Climate Change and its Effect on Economic Systems). Registration forms are available here


Murmansk Arctic Forum, October 1-2, 2011.  Hosted by the Russian Geographic Society, the forum will host discussion on Arctic navigation, development of the Northern Sea Route, railway extensions, and construction of a deep-water port in Arkhangelsk.  The official website is in Russian.


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. Details to follow.   


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Heath, August 5-10, 2012. This kivalina girlevent is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Society for Circumpolar Health, and the International Union for Circumpolar Health.  The forum will consider community participatory research and indigenous research; women's health, family health, and well-being; food security and nutrition; social determinants of health; environmental and occupational health; infectious and chronic diseases; climate change-health impacts; health service delivery and infrastructure; and, behavioral health.


Arctic/Inuit/Connections: Learning from the Top of the World, October 24-28, 2012.  The 18th Inuit Studies Conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will consider heritage museums and the North; globalization: an Arctic story; power, governance and politics in the North; the '"new" Arctic: social, cultural and climate change; and Inuit education, health, language, and literature. For more information, please email Lauren Marr.

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