Arctic Update Header
October 25, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session. 


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.  



navyUS Navy Focuses on Charting Arctic Changes. The U.S. Navy needs to predict Arctic weather changes the same way the service does elsewhere in the world as the region becomes a growing international battleground for resources, Navy officials say. There is no doubt the Navy will need to increase its Arctic operations, says Navy Oceanographer Rear Adm. Jonathan White, who is also director of oceanography, space and maritime domain awareness. "How much we're going to operate there is the question," he said Oct. 22 at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Naval Science and Technology Partnership Conference in Washington. The environmental and climatic changes in the Arctic are driving the increase in Navy interest, he says, adding there is now the "lowest ice on [the] surface of the Arctic in history." The Navy has operated in the Arctic for decades, with particular emphasis on submarine missions. Now, though, the service will have to adopt more tactics to deal with the climatic changes there. "It is a challenge of how we're going to operate there," he says, adding the Navy will need to figure out how, for example, it will operate automated vehicles in Arctic waters. Aviation Week


thiniceNew Ways to Respond to Climate Change in the Arctic. The impact of climate change in the Arctic has drawn considerable global attention. As numerous scientific studies have shown, climate in the region is an indicator for climate change worldwide. Moreover, climate change in the Arctic has been recognized for some time. Average temperature has risen twice as fast in the Arctic as in the rest of the world. Of particular interest is the rapidly receding and thinning Arctic Ocean sea ice, which demonstrates how quickly climate change progresses-the year 2012 marked the lowest summer sea ice since satellite measurements began in 1979. The rise in temperature will have overwhelming repercussions for the region's ecosystems and render its economic potential more accessible. Sea ice retreat and other changes have brought about opportunities for economic development and, in turn, have prompted numerous studies on how the region's oil and other natural resources could be exploited, its tourism potential increased, and its navigational waterways utilized. This Insight will first briefly review the work of the Arctic Council and examine how this inter-governmental forum has tried to respond to climate change challenges in the region by producing scientific assessments and soft law guidance. Scientific assessments have changed the way the region is perceived, from the frozen desert of the past to the rapidly transforming space of today. This altered perspective has put pressure on the Council to transform from a decision-shaping to decision-making body. This is evidenced by the Council's current push for legally binding agreements between the eight Arctic states: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Russian Federation, and the United States. Finally, a few conclusions are provided in terms of what role international law could and should play in responding to climate change in the Arctic. American Society of International Law


It's Time for Movement on Arctic Telecoms. [Editorial] You know how bad it can get. It's the government employer who blocks websites to save bandwidth. It's the internet link that dies in the middle of an email download. Or maybe it's the cell phone - if you're lucky enough to even get cell service - that never works when you need it the most. No regular person who reads this - especially any Arctic resident reading this on the internet - can deny that a top-to-bottom overhaul of northern Canada's rickety telecommunications system is long overdue. The companies who sell these services, and now, even governments, know what you know about how bad it can get. Nunatsiaq Online


Up North. [Blog] Just back from Sweden and Finland -- not NATO allies, but certainly premier partners both.  I visited both in my hat as Commander of US European Command. In both nations, I spent time discussing our work together in Afghanistan and Kosovo, as well as potential operations with the NATO response force for training and exercises in the time ahead. Of note, I was also at the Northern European Chiefs of Defense meeting in Helsinki, Finland -- CHODs or senior reps from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway were all present. We discussed four topics: pooling and sharing resources to support the NATO framework; air policing; Nordic-Baltic military coordination; and evolving Arctic concerns. United States European Command


PutinPutin Urges Shift in Response to Shale Gas. Russian President Vladimir Putin urged national-gas giant Gazprom to retune its strategy to adapt to the growing threat from shale gas, marking a shift in Russia's view of how the new resource is shaking up competition the global gas market. Mr. Putin, who for years followed Gazprom's line that shale gas poses no threat to the company's exports, said that "politicians, experts and businessmen are talking about shale revolution," noting that its development, together with growing trade in liquefied gas is reshaping the market. "We must take in account the current developments and have a clear view how the situation will develop not only in the next two to three years, but through the next decade," he said. Wall Street Journal

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                      



Climate Change: The Arctic as an Emerging Market, October 29, 2012. As part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Science and Society: Global Challenges series, Jed Hamilton, senior Arctic consultant with Exxon Mobil; Dr. Julieanne Stroeve of the National Snow and Ice Date Center; and Dr. John Farrell of the US Arctic Research Commission will discuss the Arctic as an emerging market.


Foreign Policy Panel Debate: "Is the Law of the Sea Treaty in the United States' Best Interests?" October 30, 2012. The American Academy of Diplomacy and the World Affairs Council cosponsor a panel discussion on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.  


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. 


Arctic Transportation Infrastructure: Response Capacity and Sustainable Development in the Arctic, December 3-6, 2012. The Arctic Council's Sustainable Development Working Group approved a project during the Swedish Chairmanship (co-led by the United States and Iceland) to assess transportation infrastructure. The Arctic Marine and Aviation Transportation Infrastructure Initiative (AMATII) seeks to evaluate Northern infrastructure -ports, airports, and response capability - by inventorying maritime and aviation assets in the Arctic. As part of this project, the Institute of the North is hosting an Arctic transportation infrastructure conference 3-6 December at the Icelandair Hotel Natura in Reykjavik, Iceland. The conference theme is "Response Capacity and Sustainable Development in the Arctic." Participants will include policy makers and government officials; aviation and marine subject matter experts from the private, public, independent and academic sectors; as well as community leaders and Permanent Participants.


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.


International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, and the University of British Columbia, Canada, host a conference to consider Arctic Ocean acidification. Topics will include response of Arctic Ocean to increasing CO2 and related changes in the global carbon cycle, social and policy challenges, Arctic Ocean acidification and ecological and biogeochemical coupling, implications of changing Arctic Ocean acidification for northern (commercial and subsistence) fisheries, and future developments.

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