Arctic Update Header
November 29, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 

    

The Senate will consider a motion to proceed on the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill. The House will consider the STEM Jobs Act.

 

Governance and Sustainable Development in a Changing Arctic, November 29, 2012. "Governance and Sustainable Development in the Changing Arctic" is a special semJulie Gourley EIinar hosted by the European Institute. The event was held at the Cosmos Club, Washington, DC. Contact Natalie Fahey, 202-895-1670 for details.

Photo of Julie Gourley (US Dept. of State), on left, and Joelle Attinger (European Institute). 

Media 

 

 Seasonal-to-Decadal Predictions of Arctic Ice: Challenges and Strategies (2012). Recent well documented reductions in the thickness and extent of Arctic sea ice cover, which can be linked to the warming climate, are affecting the global climate system and are also affecting the global economic system as marine access to the Arctic region and natural resource development increase. Satellite data show that during each of the past six summers, sea ice cover has shrunk to its smallest in three decades. The composition of the ice is also changing, now containing a higher fraction of thin first-year ice instead of thicker multi-year ice. National Academies of Science

 

Walrus Responding to Oil Spills in Arctic Marine Environments. The National Research Council will assess the current state of the science regarding oil spill response and environmental assessment in the Arctic region (with a specific focus on the regions north of the Bering Strait), with emphasis on potential impacts in U.S. waters. As part of its report, the NRC-appointed committee will assess existing decision tools and approaches that utilize a variety of spill response technologies under the types of conditions and spill scenarios encountered at high latitudes. The report will also review new and ongoing research activities (in both the public and private sectors), identify opportunities and constraints for advancing oil spill research, describe promising new concepts and technologies for improving the response, including containment (surface and subsurface) approaches to reduce spill volume and/or spatial extent, and recommend strategies to advance research and address information gaps. The committee will also assess the types of baselines needed in the near-term for monitoring the impacts of an oil spill and for developing plans for recovery and restoration following an oil spill in U.S or international waters where a spill could potentially impact US natural resources. The National Academies 

 

Marine Board Workshop: Safe Navigation in the Arctic. The Transportation Research Board sponsored a Marine Board Workshop: Safe Navigation in the U.S. Arctic in October. The workshop explored the navigation safety challenges resulting from environmental changes in the Arctic. These changes are resulting in expanded commercial shipping and offshore operations, as well as the risks associated with navigation under existing ocean and infrastructure conditions. The workshop featured invited presentations and discussions on options, such as new infrastructure, policies, practices, and international partnerships, that may help ensure safe navigation in U.S. Arctic waters. Transportation Research Board

 

'Natural Gas & Energy Issues in New Congress' Policy Breakfast. Yesterday's event featured remarks from Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.). Video linked. The Hill

  

Lowey, Kaptur Fight for Appropriations Ranking Member Slot. Reps. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., and Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, are waging a closely fought race for the ranking member slot on the Appropriations Committee. Lowey asked for support Wednesday in a letter to colleagues, touting her past work as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairwoman and saying she is a good fit for the current atmosphere of partisan spending showdowns. Roll Call

 

capitalMurphy, Terry Get Key Energy and Commerce Subcommittee Chairmanships. Tim Murphy and Lee Terry will take over as chairmen of two key Energy and Commerce subcommittees, full committee chairman Fred Upton announced Wednesday. Murphy, R-Pa., will succeed defeated Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., as chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, while Terry, R-Neb., will replace defeated Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., as chairman of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade panel. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., will return as chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee; John Skimkus, R-Ill., as chairman of Environment and the Economy; Joe Pitts, R-Pa., as chairman of the Health Subcommittee; and Greg Walden, R-Ore., as chairman of Communications and Technology. Congressional Quarterly

 

Report: Chuck Hagel Vetted for Cabinet Post. The administration is vetting former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel for a top national security post in President Barack Obama's second term, according to a report. Hagel already co-chairs the president's Intelligence Advisory Board, and Foreign Policy Reports Hagel could move up to either secretary of State or secretary of Defense. The Nebraskan would add a bipartisan element to the second-term cabinet, as Republicans Bob Gates and David Petraeus have left and Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood may soon leave. Politico

 

[Alaska] New-Look Legislature to Priorities Energy Projects. After sweeping victories for Fairbanks Republicans in the November elections, the upcoming Legislature will look quite a bit different. Along with new leadership in the Senate comes a new set of committees that could shine a spotlight on Alaska's energy woes. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

 

Fishing Groups Protest Expanded Observers Program. Alaska fishing groups want the state's congressional delegation to intervene over a federal program that will put observers on a portion of commercial halibut boats next year. The Ketchikan Daily News reports 13 groups sent a letter to the governor and Alaska's congressional delegation seeking assistance. Anchorage Daily News

 

UAF Researcher Authors U.N. Climate Change Report. University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher Vladimir Romanovsky is one of the authors of a new United Nations report on the climate change ramifications of warming permafrost. Romanovsky, a permafrost researcher at UAF's Geophysical Institute, worked with three other scientists to create the report, "Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost." The report highlights the potential problems posed by the release of carbon dioxide and methane from warming permafrost, which aren't currently included in climate prediction modeling. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

 

Mat-Su's Ice-Breaking Ferry May Have a Job in the Tropics. The Mat-Su Borough's ice-breaking ferry may finally get a job -- in the tropics.The borough wants to cut its losses and give the boat to the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, said planner Emerson Krueger, who has become the borough's point man on the ferry project.The $80 million vessel, named the Susitna, was born out of a unique partnership between the U.S. Navy, which wanted a prototype for a fast military landing craft, and the borough, which wanted an ice-breaking ferry to transport commuters across Knik Arm. Anchorage Daily News

 

Canada-Denmark Agree on Boundary Between Ellesmere and Greenland: But the ownership of tiny Hans Island is still "the subject of continuing discussion." The ownership of Hans Island, a disputed 1.3 square-kilometre rock between Ellesmere Island and Greenland, remains unsettled, even after Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, who is also minister of the Arctic Council for Canada, and Villy S