Arctic Update Header
January 17, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will meet in pro forma session. The House meets to elect a new Sergeant-at-Arms.


SCICEXGAO Report on Arctic Capabilities Released. The gradual retreat of polar sea ice, combined with an expected increase in human activity--shipping traffic, oil and gas exploration, and tourism in the Arctic region--could eventually increase the need for a U.S. military and homeland security presence in the Arctic. As a result, the Department of Defense (DOD) must begin preparing to access, operate, and protect national interests there. House Report 111-491 directed DOD to prepare a report on Arctic Operations and the Northwest Passage, and specified five reporting elements that should be addressed. House Report 112-78 directed GAO to review DOD's report. GAO assessed the extent to which 1) DOD's Report to Congress on Arctic Operations and the Northwest Passage (Arctic Report) addressed the specified reporting elements and 2) DOD has efforts under way to identify and prioritize the capabilities needed to meet national security objectives in the Arctic. GAO analyzed DOD's Arctic Report and related documents and interviewed DOD and U.S. Coast Guard officials. A full copy of the report is available here.

Media Reviewtodaysevents 


president signingObama Administration Warns the Left: You will Not Like Our Budget. Top White House officials are warning liberal and labor leaders to brace themselves for President Obama's budget proposal.  Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, sought in meetings last week to lift the left's gloom about Washington's crackdown on spending by promising that the president this year will focus on job creation rather than deficit cutting. Obama staffers sought to present their budget plan as a glass half full. According to sources familiar with the briefings, they promised that the president will focus on jobs and the economy, instead of deficit-cutting, which dominated last year's debate on Capitol Hill. The Hill  


Chamber Officials Push for Legislative Action in Election Year. The top lobbyist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce rejected the conventional wisdom that nothing gets done in an election year, arguing Thursday that lawmakers need to act to spur vital economic growth. "We don't want this year to be a wasted year in Washington," R. Bruce Josten said at a news conference. Josten, along with Chamber President Tom Donohue, offered a laundry list of legislative priorities for the coming year, from action on the expiring Social Security payroll tax cut to a major reauthorization of highway programs and the Federal Aviation Administration. Congressional Quarterly


Can We Save the Whales by Putting a Price on Them? Every year, a group of anti-whaling nonprofit organizations that includes Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, and the World Wildlife Fund spend, by conservative estimates, some $25 million on a variety of activities intended to end commercial whaling. And every year, commercial whaling not only continues, but grows....Now, an economist and two marine scientists writing in the January 12 issue of the journal Nature suggest a new strategy that they believe could save whales by putting a price on them. Science Daily 


defense spendingDOD's Strategy for Arctic Lacking, Agency Reports. The Defense Department lacks a clear strategy for ensuring it will have the resources to operate in the Arctic, which is gaining strategic importance as melting ice opens new shipping possibilities and potential access to untapped natural resources, according to a Government Accountability Office report. While the DOD has begun to assess the capabilities needed to better operate in the Arctic's harsh environment, the report said, it needs to better prepare to meet the challenges of navigating in the Arctic, where the U.S., Russia and other nations are competing for control of potentially valuable resources. Stars and Stripes  


Denmark Appoints Arctic Ambassador. Denmark appointed its first permanent arctic ambassador whose primary task will be to coordinate activities connected to the country's arctic strategy. Ambassador Klavs Holm is appointed to the post and will, according to Foreign Minister Sovndal, ensure the Danish National Community a visible position in the international debate on the Arctic. Barents Observer 


Plenty of Interest in Oil Exploration in the Arctic- Norway. Norway has seen considerable interest in its upcoming licensing round for oil exploration in its Arctic areas, the country's energy minister told a conference on Tuesday. "There has been a lot of interest in the concession round," Ole Borten Moe, the minister of petroleum and energy, said. Reuters 


Russia Warming at Alarming Pace. Temperatures in Russia in the past century rose at twice the rate of warming in the rest of the world, the emergencies ministry said. "Despite ongoing discussions in the scientific community about the nature and long-term outlook for global climate change, the fact of global warming itself is uncontroversial," the ministry said in its forecast of emergency situations in 2012. "Average warming in Russia in the past 100 years was 1.5 to two times higher than overall global warming," the forecast read. The Economic Times 


Arctic Ocean May be Approaching 'Tipping Point.' The Arctic Ocean might look like an isolated body at the top of the world, but several multi-year investigations have found deep interconnections with the Pacific and Atlantic oceans -- and new evidence that the polar sea may be poised to undergo a dramatic change in structure and life, senior climate oceanographer Eddy Carmack told the opening session of an annual marine science conference in Anchorage. "Are we approaching a tipping point -- a new state?" Carmack said to several hundred scientists gathered at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium in the Hotel Captain Cook ballroom. "In the Arctic, the non-linear future is here." Alaska Dispatch 


canadian flagCanada Urged to Clarify Polar Policies as Arctic Council Meets. Sixteen years after the eight-nation Arctic Council was born at an international meeting in Ottawa, organizers of a Toronto conference that begins Tuesday are urging Canada to clarify its polar ambitions before taking a second turn chairing an organization widely viewed as key to shaping the future of the contentious region. But Mary Simon, the national Inuit leader who helped create the council and became its first leader in 1996, is also urging arctic countries to maintain the body's original vision of protecting the northern environment - increasingly viewed as a potential resource treasure house - and serving the needs of indigenous people who have inhabited the circumpolar world for millennia. Montreal Gazette


Arctic Council has Boosted Cooperation in the Arctic: Survey. The results of a new survey on the effectiveness of the Arctic Council shows the organization has made a definite impact on how the world views the Arctic. But the survey also found the intergovernmental body of Arctic states still has a way to go before realizing its full potential. Two researchers from the University of Lapland in Finland prepared 21 questions and circulated them last winter to individuals and groups who have been active in the Arctic Council's affairs. Nunatsiaq Online


arcticcouncilCanada Takes Over Leadership of Arctic Council Next Year, But Is It Ready? Canada is being urged to get its ducks - or should that be ptarmigan - in a row as it prepares for its two-year gig as head of the Arctic Council next year. "Canada can play a leadership role in a way that not only advances the public interest in Canada but also Canada's standing in the world," former Yukon premier Tony Penikett. Penikett is chairing a conference in Toronto this week to help set out the Canadian agenda for its term in the rotating council chairmanship, which begins in April 2013. YAHOO! News


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                                   


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 researchAMSSlogo

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. Click here. PS: Senator Murkowski may participate in person... 


Workshop: Responding to Arctic Environmental Change: Translating Our Growing Understanding into a Research Agenda for Action Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2012.   Queen's University, Kingston, Canada. Co-sponsored by International Study of ArcISAC logotic Change (ISAC) and the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University. Endorsed by the International Arctic Science Committee, this workshop is the first in a planned series of meetings that aim to collectively shape and coordinate initiatives for research that directly addresses the needs of stakeholders who are affected by change or who are addressing arctic environmental change. The long-term objective is to enable local people, the arctic nations and the wider global community, including the scientific community, to better respond to a changing Arctic. This workshop is a pre-IPY 2012 Conference event. It is intended to develop a science plan that will feed into and further evolve at IPY 2012 Conference "From Knowledge to Action". For more information and to register for the workshop go here. 


Juneau Arctic Policy Forum, February 2, 2012. The Juneau Arctic Policy Forum will be hosted by the Institute of the North and will highlight the work done to IONdevelop and promote Alaska's role in Arctic decision-making. There will be presentations and discussion about the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) Arctic Caucus and results from the Northern Waters Task Force. We also hope to include updates from the U.S. Coast Guard and the University of Alaska. Click here.  



Arctic Policy Forum, February 16, 2012. This Arctic Policy Forum will feature a compelling panel discussion of the history, current issues, and future plans of IONNORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) in Alaska. This Arctic Policy Forum, hosted by the Institute of the North and sponsored by the Government of Canada, will leave participants with an increased understanding of:
* A 50 year partnership and cross-border collaboration
* Arctic governance and sovereignty
* Public safety; and search and rescue
* Maritime and aviation issues related to the Arctic environment



Arctic Workshop, March 7-9, 2012. The Workshop is hosted by the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. The meeting is open to all interested in the Arctic, and will consist of a series of talks and poster sessions covering all aspects of INSTAARhigh-latitude environments. Previous Arctic Workshops have included presentations on arctic and antarctic climate, archeology, environmental geochemistry, geomorphology, hydrology, glaciology, soils, ecology, oceanography, Quaternary history, and more. A traditional strength of the Workshop has been Arctic paleoenvironments. Click 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 here


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


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  


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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 to follow. 


American Polar Society 75th Anniversary Meeting and Symposium, "The APSlogoPolar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics", May 2-4, 2012, 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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