Arctic Update Header
April 26, 2012


Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House will consider a cyber security bill. The Senate will resume consideration of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization.


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





ChinaflagChina's Arctic Ambitions Spark Concerns. The Arctic and its vast energy reserves were a key focus of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's recent trip to Europe, fueling concerns about Beijing's preparations for an ice-free Arctic Ocean.

It may seem surprising that Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, leader of the world's most populous nation, should begin his Europe tour with a stop in Iceland, a remote island with a population of just 320,000. But the move is in line with a wider Chinese strategy to gain a strategic foothold in the Arctic. Global climate change is opening up the once inaccessible region for shipping and industrial development. Deutsche Welle  


arctic shippingPolar Shipping Guide Launched by the Nautical Institute. There has been an increase in activity in the polar regions as the maritime and offshore industries respond to global warming and the need to find more sources of energy. However, as author Captain Duke Snider FNI explains, these regions used to be the domain of experienced operators and vessel owners. Captain Snider says: "As global climate change has resulted in an increase interest in shipping in Polar Regions, such a reference gap is of paramount importance. Polar Ship Operations addresses this gap in reference material." The book was launched at the 8th annual Arctic Shipping Forum held by Informa in Helsinki, less than two weeks after a report on the development of the Arctic from Lloyd's of London and Chatham House. It predicted that an estimated USD100 billion would be invested in activities in the region over the next ten years. Heavy Lift 


China Appears Closer to Permanent Observer Status in Arctic. On Monday, April 16, a deputy Chinese foreign minister, Song Tao, announced that Sweden, the current chair of the Arctic Council, supported his country's bid for permanent observer status in the multilateral organization. He stated, "China applauds Swedish support for China to be an observer to the Arctic Council." Tao was speaking at a briefing on Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming eight-day trip to Iceland, Sweden, Germany and Poland. He added, "We hope to work together with relevant countries, including Iceland and Sweden, to contribute to peace, stability and sustainable development in the Arctic." Alaska Dispatch  


F-35s Panned by Retired Colonel [Canada]. A former Canadian Air Force engineer and federal Green Party candidate is panning the plan to buy F-35 fighter jets. Retired colonel Paul Maillet said the fighter jets are not suitable for Arctic missions. "How do you get a single engine, low range, low payload, low maneuverability aircraft that is being optimized for close air support and battlefield interdiction to operate effectively in the North?" Maillet asked. "There is massive involvement with the old boys' club with regards to air force generals and politicians and the way they get together and structure these things before we have a competition." Edmonton Sun


Warming May Open Key Arctic Sea Route to Europe [From Japan]. The Arctic could emerge as a key commercial shipping route between Japan and Europe because of a sharp decline in the ice cap caused by global warming, government officials and researchers say. If a new shipping route opens, vessels could cut the distance between Japan and Europe to two-thirds of the current route via the Suez Canal and also avoid pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean, they said. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology plans to send a fact-finding team this summer to look into the current state of global warming in the Arctic and ocean waters. Japan Times 


Oil Drilling in AlaskaRussian-Italian Pact Opens Arctic Ocean to Drilling. Russia took another step on Wednesday in the race to pump oil from beneath the Arctic Ocean with an agreement between its state oil company and the Italian energy giant Eni to jointly explore several offshore sites, though actual drilling is still years away. Once seen as ice-bound backwaters, the coastal seas north of Russia have become a focus of extraordinary attention from the international oil industry recently. Moscow has signaled it will open the region broadly for drilling. The agreement came just two weeks after the Russian state oil company, Rosneft, completed a similar deal with Exxon Mobil, the largest U.S. oil company. That agreement covered fields in the Kara Sea, the body of water east of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago that is particularly challenging - and risky, conservationists say - for being covered by ice floes in the wintertime. New York Times

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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