Arctic Update Header
September 27, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are in recess until October 3rd.

Media Reviewtodaysevents


Senate Passes Compromise on CR. The Senate moved late Monday to give House Republicans two options to avoid a government shutdown this weekend and put an end to a dispute over offsets to disaster aid money. House Speaker John A Boehner, R-Ohio, could ask his colleagues to clear a six-week continuing resolution (HR 2608) passed Monday by the Senate. It would provide $2.65 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other disaster aid programs, instead of the $3.65 billion in the version the House barely passed last week. Or, the House might consider a separate Senate-passed measure that would keep the government operating for a few days past the Oct. 1 start of fiscal 2012 and that would allow time for further deliberations on the longer-term bill. Congressional Quarterly


ChinaflagChina Heads to the Arctic. China is joining the scramble for Arctic territory. Chinese billionaire Huang Hubo is ready to invest 200 million dollars for the purchase of 300 square kilometers of land in north-Eastern Iceland, for the construction of a tourist center. The forthcoming deal has triggered a lot of speculation in Iceland  as  well as in other countries of the Arctic region. Most experts see the plan not as another successful business project, but as a desire by China to establish a foothold in the Arctic. The acquisition of a large piece of land in Iceland points to a hidden agenda. The Voice of Russia 


Russia and Vietnam Seek Co-operation with Iceland on Fishing. Vietnam and Russia have become the two latest countries to seek closer co-operation with Iceland - and its fishing expertise. Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai met with businessmen in Iceland recently in efforts to develop opportunities for both Vietnamese and Icelandic seafood businesses and other activities. And the Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, invited Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of Iceland, to a conference on Arctic shipping and fishing matters last week. The conference was mainly about the new opportunities and responsibilities that will come with melting sea ice. Fish Update 


Alaska Eskimo Bowhead Whale Harvest Quotas Up For Review. Federal scientists plan to evaluate the number of bowhead whales Alaska Eskimos can harvest in future annual subsistence hunts. The National Marine Fisheries Service will over coming months conduct an environmental review of the bowhead harvest quota for Native hunters from 11 Arctic Alaska communities, according to a press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Currently, Alaska Natives are allowed to strike no more than 75 bowhead whales for harvest, according to federal records. That's estimated to be less than 1 percent of the Western Arctic bowhead whale population. Alaska Dispatch 


harry reidReid Again Asks House for Compromise on CR. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today called on House Republicans to pass funding legislation that would keep the federal government open through Nov. 18 but does not offset disaster relief spending. Congress has through Friday to pass a stopgap bill or the government will begin to shut down, and the Senate is set to vote this evening on a measure to fund the government and provide disaster aid. The bill is a compromise proposed by Senate Democrats, who argue that Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster funding should be provided without offsets. Roll Call 


Climate Change and the Exodus of Species. To most humans, so far, climate change is still more of an idea than an experience. For other species, it is an immediate reality. Many will be left behind as the climate alters, unable to move quickly enough or with nowhere to move to. Others are already adapting. An iconic example of these swift changes is the recent discovery that Atlantic and Pacific populations of bowhead whales - long kept apart by the frozen Arctic - are now overlapping in the open waters of the Northwest Passage. New York Times 


Canada's Far North Divided Over Arctic. Some talk of an economic boom, while others talk of a potential oil spill. Northerners in Canada are divided on the issue of offshore drilling. Inuvialuit leader Nellie Cournoyea, CEO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation with headquarters in Inuvik in Canada's Northwest Territories, says it's a difficult balance. "People are very strong in their belief and their will to protect the environment and the wildlife. At the same time, economic opportunities are also important for people in this region." Alaska Dispatch 


Pew Environment logoClosing U.S. Arctic Ocean Science Gaps. The Pew Environment Group and Ocean Conservancy released a white paper today recommending concrete steps the Obama administration should take to address science gaps and inform conservation and development decisions in America's Arctic Ocean. The white paper is the work of 14 scientists, all experts in Arctic marine ecosystems. "When it comes to the fragile Arctic, science, not politics, needs to guide decision making," said Marilyn Heiman, director of Pew's U.S. Arctic Program. "If we are to avoid irreparable harm to an ecosystem found nowhere else in U.S. waters, we need to develop a comprehensive research and monitoring plan and set aside significant areas for protection." Alaska Dispatch 


Alaska Natives First to Feel the Heat. Although climate studies offer plenty of projections about how the world might change as the Earth warms up, it's easy for people to imagine that those numbers don't apply to them. A new study offers a wake-up call. Climate change doesn't just have the potential to alter people's lives -- it already has. For the Yup'ik people of Alaska, who still depend on hunting, gathering and fishing for much of their subsistence, interviews showed that warmer temperatures and thinner ice in recent years have altered ways of life that passed down from generation to generation. Discovery

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                                   


The Arctic in Transition: Regional Issues and Geopolitics, October 3-4, 2011. The conference is organized by the Center for Geopolitical Studies of the Raoul Dandurand Chair, in collaboration with the Centre Jacques Cartier (France), ArcticNet (Universite Laval, Quebec), and the Northern Research Forum (University of the Arctic; University of Lapland, Finland). This high-level international meeting reunites political scientists, lawyers, geographers, historians and practitioners to discuss, first, the socio-economic, political and security issues of developed or developing Arctic regions, and, second, to look at the evolving relationships between these spaces, their peoples, and global affairs. The meeting mainly seeks to adress security issue(s) of the various region(s) that make up the circumpolar world. Three Arctic regions will be highlighted: a) the North-American Arctic (United States (Alaska); Canada (Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut, Nunavik) and Greenland; b) the North Pacific Rim (Alaska, Russian Far East, Beaufort Sea/Chukchi); c) the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (Nordic countries - Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland - and Russia).


Arctic Futures Symposium, October 12-14, 2011. The International Polar Foundation (IPF) and the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco will host Arctic Futures 2011. The event is a follow-up to last year's symposium, and will bring together international and interdisciplinary Arctic stakeholders including EU and foreign policymakers, scientists, representatives of industry, indigenous peoples and academics to discuss needs, address challenges, exchange ideas, and network.


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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