Arctic Update Header
April 24, 2012


Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate resumes consideration of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization and a labor resolution. The House will consider several legislative items under suspension of the rules.


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring IPYmeetinglogotogether 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. Click here


IPY 2012 Conference Montreal. This morning, Dr. David Hayes presented the keynote policy address.




Coast Guard SealCoast Guard not Ready for National-Security Mission, Insiders Say. A large majority of National Journal's National Security Insiders agreed with Coast Guard Commandant Robert Papp, who broke ranks with his fellow military chiefs to condemn President Obama's proposed budget restrictions, arguing they would leave his service overstretched and outdated. Though the Joint Chiefs of Staff have all backed the president's budget request for their services, Papp last week said the $10 billion budget for the Coast Guard presents a "challenge" to cut 1,000 people from his 42,000-member force. The admiral even suggested that the nation would have to cut back on Latin American drug interdiction in order to have enough resources to protect Alaskan oil interests in the north. Government Executive 


ChinaflagChina's Arctic Ambitions. It's a long way from China to the Arctic, but the country's Premier Wen Jiabao has been in Sweden signing a number of energy deals during his European tour. "We hope to work together with relevant countries, including Iceland and Sweden, to contribute to peace, stability and sustainable development in the Arctic," Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao told journalists ahead of the visit. Though Wen Jiabao promotes industrial and scientific cooperation, many believe, getting access to the energy resources of the region are top of the agenda. As the world's biggest energy consumer China is always seeking new sources. Wen Jiabao has already got a piece of energy pie as he inked some agreements in Iceland. RT 


Alaskan Villagers Become Climate Refugees as Homeland Melts. The 400-strong Eskimo community in Newtok in western Alaska is living on shaky ground. Literally. The permafrost - the permanently frozen subsoil - on which the village is located is melting as temperatures warm. Advanced erosion caused by the Ninglick River next to the village and seasonal flooding and storm surges are further threats to its existence. AlertNet   


Circumpolar Inuit Leader Reaches Out to Scientists: "We as Inuit fully welcome the opportunity to work with scientists. Aqqaluk Lynge of Greenland, the president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, reached out to international scientists in his April 24 keynote speech at the International Polar Year Conference in Montreal, saying Inuit are not "isolationists." "We as Inuit fully welcome the opportunity, indeed, the necessity, of working with scientists from around the world," he said. "We welcome and we need the IPY research and data generated so that our decisions may be made with sound and cutting-edge knowledge. We Inuit want to co-operatively move from knowledge to action." Nunatsaiq Online

canadian flagCuts Threaten Canada's Satellite Eye on the Arctic. A majority of Canadians see Arctic sovereignty as the country's top foreign-policy priority, according to a recent poll by Ekos Research for the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. Yet, Canada's ability to effectively monitor and manage its interests in the Arctic appears to be in jeopardy in the face of funding cuts by the federal government and conflicting spending priorities at the Canadian Space Agency. Vancouver Sun


Chukchi Depths Hold Vast Complexities: Researcher finds gray surface shields hugely varied environment. In summer, the gray surface of Alaska's Chukchi Sea looks monotonously uniform, except for an occasional scattering of small ice floes, which are the remnants of the winter ice pack. Hidden beneath the surface, however, is a remarkably varied environment according to industry-funded researchers working in areas of planned oil and gas exploratory drilling by Shell, Conoco Phillips and Statoil. "I've never seen a system in which you can have such dramatic changes, environmentally, in such a short distance," Robert Day, senior scientist with environmental research firm ABR Inc., told the National Marine Fisheries Service's annual Arctic Open Water Meeting recently. Anchorage Daily News


Murkowski 2Murkowski Focusing Senate on Coast Guard's Arctic Needs, Agenda. The Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee has formally scheduled a hearing for May 9th on the U.S. Coast Guard's 2013 budget - and the Alaskan priorities reflected in it like icebreakers, aircraft and deepwater ports - after Senator Murkowski requested the chairwoman and ranking member hold this imperative discussion. "Alaskans and Americans are born pioneers - and the Arctic is one of the last frontiers to be fully understood and developed," said Murkowski.  "As the waters begin opening to possibilities in research, resource development and revenue, we need the Coast Guard's help in protecting all that we hold dear.  Part of that is by making sure my Senate colleagues fully understand we are an Arctic Nation, and that the Coast Guard's mission in the Arctic must be a top priority." Senator Lisa Murkowski

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events               


USARC Commission Meeting, April 27-28, 2012. The 97th meeting of the CPClogoUSARC will be held in Montreal, Canada, in conjunction with the "From Knowledge to  


usarc logo large

Action" IPY meeting referred to above. The Commission will meet on April 27-28, and will meet jointly with the Canadian Polar Commission on the afternoon of the 27th, to discuss common interests in Arctic Research. Details here. 


Arctic Forum 2012, April 30-May 1, 2012. The Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. will host the forum in conjunction with their 24th annual meeting. Both events will be in Washington, D.C. The Arctic Forum is part of the American Geophysical Union's Science Policy Conference, which will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The Conference will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions. Within the Science Policy Conference, the Arctic Forum will assess gaps and priority needs for arctic scientific information to inform decision makers in policy formation for three key themes:

                - Governance and Security in the Arctic;

                - Transportation and Energy Development; and

                - Changing Arctic Ecosystems.

The Forum will examine the current state of policymaker and public understanding of the issues. An important goal will be to foster an increased capacity for dialogue and action on arctic science-policy issues.


AGU Science Policy Conference, April 30- May 3, 2012. The American Geophysical Union hosts a policy conference in Washington, D.C. to bring together scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders to discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our environment, economy, national security, and public safety. This meeting will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions related to natural hazards, natural resources, oceans, and the Arctic. 


[Postponed]American Polar Society 75th Anniversary Meeting and Symposium, "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics", to occur in 2013, The Explorers Club, NYC. For 75 years, the American Polar Society has both documented and communicated polar activities to the interested world. This meeting will bring together the current leaders in science, government, commerce, and diplomacy for a state-of-the-art forecast of the next seventy-five years in a world influenced more than ever before by the destiny of the Arctic and Antarctic. Click here.  


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. Click here.  


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Health, August 5-10, 2012. This event 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 healthmeetinglogoindigenous 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. Click here


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-28, 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. Click here


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 inuitconferencelogomuseums 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, click here. 



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