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October 1, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.



Arctic MapGeopolitics, Resources Put Maritime Disputes Back on Map. Small and occupied largely by seabirds, goats and a unique indigenous species of mole, the islands named Senaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China have long been largely ignored. But as rising powers face off against each other in a battle not just for influence but also vital resources, such disputed islets, reefs, and areas of seabed are swiftly growing in importance; and not just in Asia. From the melting and resource-rich Arctic to the eastern Mediterranean, the South Atlantic to the East China Sea, legal wrangling, diplomatic posturing and military sabre rattling are all on the rise. Reuters


As Arctic Melts, Inuit Face Tensions with Outside World. Sakiasiq Qanaq has seen a lot of changes on the north coast of Baffin Island in recent years as the retreat of summer sea ice has continued unabated. But the Inuit hunter has never seen anything quite like this year, when sea ice loss in the Arctic hit a record low. First, the community's spring narwhal hunt, which usually yields roughly 60 of the tusked whales, produced only three. The sea ice was so thin that the Inuit couldn't safely stand on it and shoot the narwhal as they migrated into Arctic Bay from Greenland through channels in the ice. Then an unprecedented number of killer whales, or orcas - rarely seen in heavy ice - showed up in the largely ice-free water, with Inuit hunters in nearby Pond Inlet observing three pods of orcas that reportedly killed some of the narwhals and scared off the others. Environment 360


Oil Drilling in AlaskaOn Russian Shelf, a Battle for Control. The slow pace on Russian Arctic shelf exploration is adding pressure on Rosneft and Gazprom, the two state-controlled companies with monopoly rights in Arctic waters. The Russian Minister of Natural Resources Sergei Donskoi now proposes to give private companies drilling licenses on the shelf without tenders in order to step up the level of offshore exploration. His view is strongly disputed by Rosneft President Igor Sechin, who in a recent letter to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev underlined that the opening of the shelf to private companies will "give losses to the state treasury and the economy as a whole". "As owner of the shelf and main shareholder of the companies [Gazprom and Rosneft], the state is directly participating in the generation of values and has an obvious interest in the revenues from shelf development," the letter obtained by newspaper Izvestia reads. Oil & Gas Eurasia


MurkowskiMurkowski Urges Creation of Arctic Ambassador: Senator recommends Secretary of State Clinton advance out "Arctic nation" status. Senator Lisa Murkowski is encouraging U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to designate a senior political official as the nation's "Ambassador to the Arctic" and to seize the present opportunity to engage more fully with the Arctic community. After a successful trip to the 10th Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians in Akureyri, Iceland in early September, Senator Murkowski came away convinced of the acute need to "make the Arctic more relevant to the rest of the world" and that the United States must achieve a higher level of commitment to Arctic issues, particularly with the U.S. taking over as Chair of the Arctic Council in 2015. Political News


polar bear iceAlaska Scientist Who Observed Drowned Polar Bears Reprimanded in Other Case. An Alaska scientist whose observations of drowned polar bears helped galvanize the global warming movement has been reprimanded for improper release of government documents. An Interior Department official says emails released by Charles Monnett (moh-NAY') were cited by a federal appeals court in decisions to vacate approval of an oil company's Arctic exploration plan. The official, Walter Cruickshank, says in a memo that an inspector general's investigation contained findings that Monnett had improperly disclosed internal government documents. He also says the investigation made other findings in regards to Monnett's conduct but that he wasn't taking action on those. The Washington Post


Canadian High Arctic Research Station Needs Link with Traditional Knowledge: CamBay consultation "The research station should be a two-way bridge, not a one-way bridge." People in Cambridge Bay got a chance to become personally involved in the Canadian High Arctic Research Station this past week. At a Sept. 26 public meeting, a small group of local residents told the CHARS team, which included federal government bureaucrats, a scientist, an architect and two engineers, how they think the new $142.5 million research facility should be built and operated. Speaking at a public meeting, Richard Ekpakohak said he wants to make sure CHARS, slated to open in July 2017, pays more than lip service to Inuit. Nunatsiaq Online


antifreeze fishFish Getting Smaller as the Oceans Warm. Changes in ocean and climate systems could lead to smaller fish, according to a new study led by fisheries scientists at the University of British Columbia. The study, published September 30 in the journal Nature Climate Change, provides the first-ever global projection of the potential reduction in the maximum size of fish in a warmer and less-oxygenated ocean. The researchers used computer modeling to study more than 600 species of fish from oceans around the world and found that the maximum body weight they can reach could decline by 14-20 per cent between years 2000 and 2050, with the tropics being one of the most impacted regions. Science Daily

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered Friday.

Future Events                      


SAON Board Meeting, October 1-2, 2012. The Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON) will hold a board meeting will be held in Potsdam, Germany. For meeting documents please see here. 


Debate on Arctic Challenges Set for Brussels, October 4-5, 2012.The challenges facing the Arctic during a time of change and global warming uncertainty will be the subject of frank and lively debate between policymakers, Ambassadors from European Union and Arctic nations, polar scientists, and representatives industry and Arctic indigenous peoples groups, at the 2012 Arctic Futures Symposium, taking place in Brussels on October 4th and 5th. High-level speakers include Prince Albert II of Monaco, Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Belgian Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs Didier Reynders, and Charles Emmerson, Chatham House Senior Research Fellow on Energy, Environment and Resources, and author of The Future History of the Arctic.  Guest speakers will also include Sweden's Arctic Ambassador Gustav Lind, Greenland's Deputy Foreign Minister Inuuteq Holm Olsen, Robert Blaauw, Senior Advisor to Shell's Arctic programme, Bernard Funston, Chair of the Canadian Polar Commission, British Antarctic Survey glaciologist Prof. David Vaughan and Lars-Anders Baer, chair of the Working Group of Indigenous Peoples in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region.


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.  


U.S.-Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum (2012) Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum 2012, November 13-15, 2012. The Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum is a biannual event with representation from government, industry, academia, Aboriginal groups, and northerners from both Canada and the United States. The forum provides an opportunity for United States and Canadian decision makers, regulators, Aboriginals, industry members, non-governmental organizations and scientists to discuss current scientific research and future directions for northern oil and gas activities. The focus is on technical, scientific, and engineering research that can be applied to support management and regulatory processes related to oil and gas exploration and development in the North. The North Slope Science Initiative and the U.S. Department of the Interior is hosting, in partnership with our counterparts in Canada and the United States, the third United States - Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum from November 13 to 15, 2012, at the Hilton Hotel, Anchorage, Alaska. The Forum will showcase the value of Northern scientific research in support of sound decision-making for oil and gas management. 


Wakefield28th 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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