Arctic Update Header
August 22, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate have adjourned for the August recess.


2nd Cargo Airships of Northern Operations Workshop, August 22-24, 2012. Researchers from NASA Ames Research Center will provide insights into the new technologies that form the solid engineering basis for modern cargo airship systems. Speakers from the mining, oil, and gas industries will describe their transportation challenges and how they plan to exploit cargo airships in support of their businesses. Local Alaskan air freight firms will discuss how cargo airships can complement existing air transport fleets by providing additional capability and expanding air shipping services. The world's leading developers of airships will provide design and operational details on new cargo airships they're currently developing and preparing to deploy for commercial service. Representatives from the financial community will present the many options available for what has often been the missing element of airship development and operations, funding. The website will soon be updated. 



Arctic Ice Hits Record Low: What Effects Will It Have? Arctic sea ice typically melts during the summer, but rising temperatures from global warming are bringing the ice to a breaking point. Researchers expect the sea ice to reach a record-low sometime next week -- a milestone that will be difficult to recover from, given that the ice will keep melting after that. "A new daily record ... would be likely by the end of August," Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center, told Reuters. "Chances are it will cross the previous record while we're still in sea ice retreat." International Science Times 


shell Shell Oil Pushes Ahead with Arctic Drilling: The Kulluk Leaves Dutch Harbor for the Beaufort Sea. Shell Oil could be gambling big with its latest move. Its Kulluk drilling ship left Dutch Harbor on Monday, heading to the Arctic on an uncertain journey. Shell says its second ship, the Noble Discoverer, should also leave Dutch Harbor sometime this week. Despite this, federal permits are not yet in hand to drill individual wells -- and an oil spill response barge, the Arctic Challenger, sits in a Bellingham, Washington shipyard. Drilling cannot begin until it's stationed in the Arctic. KTUU


Gazprom Neft Starts Arctic Field's First Oil Output. Novoportovskoye, north of Gazprom's main gas producing fields, is due to start commercial production in 2014 and hit its peak of 250,000 barrels per day in 2020. In addition to the new, 2,200 metre deviated well, Gazprom Neft plans to drill three new production wells and re-activate a production well this year, with plans to conduct hydraulic fracturing of several wells during the winter. Russian companies are increasing use of unconventional technologies both to squeeze more oil out of the declining fields of Western Siberia and to maximize output at new fields. Reuters


Harper Harper Talks Development in North. The prime minister says he wants to simplify rules around resource development in the North in the same way changes were made for projects in the rest of Canada. Stephen Harper said that solving the enormous social challenges in the North will be simpler if economic development increases. But he says changing the review processes for northern projects is more complex because of aboriginal land claims. "There's been great benefit to this part of the country," Harper said during a visit Tuesday to this Yukon community, part of his annual summer tour of the North. The Chronicle Herald


Ottawa to Allot $1B for Arctic Surveillance: Cutbacks put space programs in limbo. The Defence Department is planning for a new $1-billion Arctic surveillance satellite network, even though a lack of funding might force cut-backs to its military space program and two other space systems designed for the North are in limbo. The federal government's previously announced Radarsat Constellation Mission, or RCM, is supposed to provide surveillance over the Arctic. The first of three spacecraft was scheduled for launch in 2014, but that project is now in limbo because of federal budget cuts. The B.C. firm that was to have built the satellites starting in the fall has already reduced much of its staff assigned to the project because of a lack of funding. RCM is designed to provide around-the-clock surveillance of the Arctic and Canada's coast-lines. Yet, in October, Defence outlined a new $1-billion space program, the Arctic Surveillance Satellite Network, to then-Associate Defence Minister Julian Fantino, according to documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen. The Province


arcticcouncil Departing Norwegian Ambassador Stressed Arctic Policy in Concert with Canada. Just before Norwegian Ambassador Else Berit Eikeland wound down her posting to Canada, she went to Tim Horton's and put $20 on her coffee card. "That was an assurance that I will be back to Canada," she said, with a laugh. "I will keep that in my wallet and I hope to use it again soon." Looking back on her three years in the country, she said her biggest challenge had been to make Norway relevant to Canada. "For small countries, we need to present policy to make it relevant to Canada and for Canadians." Eikeland said her priority was always on the Arctic and Arctic policy. "I wanted to establish a good dialogue with Canada on the Arctic Council and (with Norway) on Arctic policy," she said. "Canada and Norway have very much the same views on the Arctic - we want economic development but also environmental regulations." Ottawa Citizen


Canadian PM Announces Increased Resource Revenue for Yukon. Canada's northwestern Yukon Territory is going to be able to cash in more on resource development in its own backyard thanks to an updating of revenue sharing agreements on Tuesday that was overseen by Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his northern tour. Harper visited a copper and gold mine in Minto, about 150 miles north of Whitehorse, along with John Duncan, minister of aboriginal affairs and northern development. Duncan signed an agreement with Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski that amends two existing resource revenue sharing agreements. The federal government says the reformed agreements will ensure a greater portion of the revenues generated from the mining and resource economy in Yukon will stay in Yukon. Alaska Dispatch 


Alcohol Abuse Stephen Harper: Resource Development Will Relieve Social Woes Across the North. The billions of dollars of benefits generated from resource projects across Canada's north offer a solution to the serious social challenges confronting this isolated region, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says. And Harper is promising to streamline environmental reviews to help get those development projects across the north up and running faster. The prime minister made the comments Tuesday during a visit to a sprawling copper mine hailed as an example of the ability of resource projects to pump investments into the local community. The Star

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal action was taken on Arctic legislation.

Future Events    


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-27, 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.


10th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, September 5-7, 2012. The 10th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region will take place in Akureyri, Iceland 5-7 September 2012. The conference will be attended by members of parliament from the eight Arctic countries and the European Parliament, Arctic indigenous peoples and a variety of observers. The main items on the agenda are:

1.       Arctic Governance and the Arctic Council

2.       Economic opportunities in the Arctic

3.       Human Development in the Arctic: Interplay of Research, Authorities and Residents


The Conference will adopt a statement directed to the Arctic Council, the governments in the Arctic Region and the institutions of the European Union. 

Fifth Polar Law Symposium 2012, September 6-8, 2012. The theme for the symposium is quite open. It covers a wide variety of topics relating to the Arctic and the Antarctic. These include:

  • Human rights issues, such as autonomy and self-government vs. self-determination, the rights of indigenous peoples to land and natural resources and cultural rights and cultural heritage, indigenous traditional knowledge.
  • Local and national governance issues.
  • Environmental law, climate change, security and environment implications of climate change, protected areas and species.
  • Regulatory, governance and management agreements and arrangements for marine environments, marine mammals, fisheries conservation and other biological/mineral/oil resources.
  • Law of the sea, the retreating sea ice, continental shelf claims.
  • Territorial claims and border disputes on both land and at sea.
  • Peace and security, dispute settlement.
  • Jurisdictional and other issues re the exploration, exploitation and shipping of oil, gas and minerals, bioprospecting.
  • Trade law, potential shipping lines through the north-west and north-east passages, maritime law and transportation law.
  • The roles and actual involvement of international organizations in the Polar regions, such as the Arctic Council, the European Union, the International Whaling Commission, the

For more information, please see the Arctic Center


inuitconferencelogoArctic/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.  


28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of  responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors.


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