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November 14, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


This week the Senate will consider a second 'minbus' appropriations bill and two judicial nominations. The second minibus is expected to include Energy-Water, Financial Services and State-Foreign Operations appropriations bills. The House will consider aid to unemployed veterans, federal contract withholding, and a Coast Guard authorization. The debate on the Coast Guard bill is expected to be heated as the bill considers decommissioning the US's only operational heavy-duty polar icebreaker.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


ChinaflagAppropriators May Seek to Ban NASA, Science Agency from China Contact.  A provision barring President Obama's science adviser and NASA from having any contact with China, or Chinese-owned companies, is likely to become part of the conference report for a "minibus" spending measure set to be unveiled next week. The administration is just as likely to ignore the restriction, which was included in the final fiscal 2011 spending bill (PL 112-10). In September, Justice Department lawyers told the White House that it could and should ignore the funding restriction. Congressional Quarterly


Russia to Boost Investments in the Arctic. Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev pledges to boost Arctic research and exploration amid tough competition from other nations to the region's natural resources. Barents Observer 


CamBay Looks to Future Research Station for Economic Boost. When the Canadian High Arctic Research Station opens in Cambridge Bay six years from now, people in this Nunavut community of 1,500 want to be prepared. For that, hamlet officials say they want help. CHARS will spark a flurry of construction activity, year-round, in Cambridge Bay, starting at least two years before the research station's projected opening in 2017. Nunatsiaq Online


Healy, Coast GuardU.S. Arctic Prospects Ride on New Icebreakers: David Fairhall. With all due respect to its often indispensable qualities, the icebreaker is something of a maritime freak. Few would consider it an ideal of sea-going beauty, with its strange sawn-off bow, top-heavy superstructure and tendency to roll and slam. It backs and charges and crunches its way through heavy ice. Yet from the deck of a vessel trapped in the ice, awaiting rescue, it must be a wonderful sight. And without its help, operations in the Arctic would be impossible. Americans lay claim to the first steam-powered icebreaker, Philadelphia's City Ice Boat No. 1, built in 1837 to clear the harbor. But the first recorded Russian vessel was the converted tug Pilot, used by a merchant in 1864 to clear a passage across the frozen bay between St. Petersburg and Kronstadt. The first true sea-going icebreaker did not appear until the end of the 19th century. Built at Armstrong-Whitworth's yard at Newcastle- Upon-Tyne, in Britain, the Yermak was a bulbous 5,000 tonner with tall smokestacks and steam-reciprocating engines that delivered 10,000 horsepower. The British shipbuilders did an excellent job; the ship was still in service more than 60 years later. Bloomberg 


Alaska Dispatch Publisher Speaks on Arctic Investment. Alice Rogoff, former Chief Financial Officer of U.S. News and World Report and publisher of Alaska Dispatch, told the Juneau World Affairs Council on Saturday that a major financial firm is interested in investing in the development of Arctic infrastructure. Rogoff, speaking to the Council's "Politics of Global Climate Change" forum at the University of Alaska Southeast, said that the Guggenheim Partners, a major financial services firm, is creating an Arctic investment fund worth billions, the Empire said. On Sunday, Guggenheim Partners said in a statement that it "is evaluating the development of a fund which could invest in the Arctic." Alaska Dispatch


Methane a Growing Threat to Arctic's Changing Climate. Climate-changing greenhouse gases continued their unrelenting rise during 2010, with carbon dioxide averaging 389 parts per million over the year, according to the Annual Greenhouse Gas Index posted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency. The capacity of these gases to insulate the home planet and push the rate of climate warming has increased 29 percent since 1990, and 2 percent since 2009. "The increasing amounts of long-lived greenhouse gases in our atmosphere indicate that climate change is an issue society will be dealing with for a long time," said Jim Butler, director of the Global Monitoring Division of NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory. "Climate warming has the potential to affect most aspects of society, including water supplies, agriculture, ecosystems and economies. NOAA will continue to monitor these gases ... to further understand the impacts on our planet." Alaska Dispatch


Polar bearInuit Want Greater Say in Polar Bear Management. A decision by the federal government to name polar bears officially as a species of special concern is getting cautious approval among northern Inuit. Environment Minister Peter Kent Made the announcement on Thursday that polar bears would be categorized under the Species at Risk Act. "Canada is home to two-thirds of the world's polar bear population and we have a unique conservation responsibility to effectively care for them," Kent said in a statement. Yahoo! News


In Warming North, Some Tree Thrive as Other Ail. In a new study, a team led by researchers from the tree-ring lab at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has found that white spruce trees on the edge of the tundra in Alaska's far north have thrived in the past 100 years, and especially the last 50, in the face of sharp Arctic warming. Elsewhere, of course, forests are having a much tougher time dealing with a changing climate and other factors. The Arctic climate is prone to big swings and is a region where plants, particularly, have evolved the ability to spread and retreat as conditions change. New York Times


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No arctic legislation was formally considered Friday.


Future Events                                   


Arctic Policy Forum: The Role of Science in Responsible Development, November 15, 2011. Join the Institute of the North for this quarter's Arctic Policy Forum.  This presentation and networking event will focus on science and collaboration in the Arctic and will feature Michael Macrander, Lead Scientist for Shell and Fran Ulmer, Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. The Institute of the North's Arctic Policy Forums are a new way of engaging in Arctic issues. These quarterly networking events  serve to underline and elevate Alaska's role in the Arctic.  Informal policy presentations followed by networking events invite policy makers and administrators, researchers, community leaders and interested citizens together for an informal sharing opportunity. Participants will hear expert presentations on key policy findings and positions; emerging Arctic technologies; and challenges facing infrastructure development in the Arctic. Participants will also have the opportunity to spend time getting to know key stakeholders in Alaska's Arctic.

White House Tribal Nations Conference, December 2, 2011. President Obama will host the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Department of the Interior. As part of President Obama's ongoing outreach to the American people, this conference will provide leaders from the 565 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration. Each federally recognized tribe will be invited to send one representative to the conference. This will be the third White House Tribal Nations Conference for the Obama Administration, and continues to build upon the President's commitment to strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country.  


AGU Fall Meeting, December 5-9, 2011. The American Geophysical Union's ("AGU") Fall Meeting to connect with colleagues, broaden their knowledge base, and embrace the joy of science.  The groundbreaking research presented at this world-renowned event is critical to advancing our understanding of the natural world and to addressing the challenges society faces as they relate to our science. As an organization, AGU works to unite Earth and space scientists who are dedicated to the common goal: scientific discovery for the benefit of humanity.  One of the most important ways we do this is through the Fall Meeting - an event that embodies who we are as a scientific organization and that is key to helping us achieve our organizational mission, vision and goals. 


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 16-20, 2012. The symposium was first held in 2002 to connect scientists in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and beyond in an effort to collaborate and communicate on research


 activities in the marine regions off Alaska. There will be plenary and poster sessions featuring a broad spectrum of ocean science on issues of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fish and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. There will also be speakers, workshops and special sessions.


US Arctic Research Commission meeting in Washington, DC, January 25-27, 2012. The Commission will meet jointly with the Canadian Polar Commission on the 25th, and then with representatives from the federal government and other entities to discuss Arctic research issues. An agenda will be provided in early January here


Arctic Science Summit Week 2012, April 20-22, 2012. The summit will provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. Side meetings organized by stakeholders in Arctic science and policy are also expected. More information to follow. 


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring together over 2,000 Arctic and Antarctic researchers, policy and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including indigenous peoples. The conference is hosted by the Canadian IPY Program Office in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, among other groups. Each day of the conference will feature a program of keynote speakers, plenary panel discussions, parallel science sessions, as well as dedicated poster sessions. The conference-wide plenaries will explore themes related to topics of polar change, global linkages, communities and health, ecosystem services, infrastructure, resources and security. Other sessions will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the application of research findings, policy implications and how to take polar knowledge to action. 


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.  


The Arctic Imperative Summit, July 29-August 1, 2012. The summit will be hosted by Alaska Dispatch and will bring together leading voices in this conversation, including residents from the small villages that comprise Alaska's coastal communities; state, national and international leaders; the heads of shipping and industry; as well as international policymakers and the news media. The goal of the summit is to sharpen the focus on the policy and investment needs of Alaska's Arctic through a series of high level meetings, presentations, investor roundtables and original research.


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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