Arctic Update Header
September 26, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.



Oil Drilling in AlaskaFrench Oil Company Warns Against Arctic Oil Drilling. French oil company Total SA says the costs to be incurred from an oil disaster in the Arctic outweigh the potential resources that could be extracted. Total CEO Chrisophe de Margerie told The Financial Times in an interview published Wednesday that the risks of Arctic drilling are too great. "Oil on Greenland would be a disaster," de Margerie said. "A leak would do too much damage to the image of the company." De Margerie said he's not entirely opposed to Arctic drilling in principle. Indeed, he specified that gas leaks were easier to deal with than oil spills. The company's main Arctic energy assets are natural gas-related, including a part of the Shtokman field in the Barents Sea. CBC News


erosionAn Alaskan Town Threatened by Climate Change Loses in Court. In the wake of the Supreme Court's seminal opinion on climate change last year, a federal appellate court in California has rejected a case against Exxon. Mobil, Chevron, and a handful of other energy companies accused of emitting greenhouse gases that endanger the remote Alaskan village of Kivalina. Forbes


Russia Holds Navy Maneuvers in the Arctic. Russia is holding navy maneuvers in the Arctic seas of Kara and Barents. Among other ships, the atomic missile cruiser "Pyotr Velikiy", or "Peter the Great", will take part in the maneuvers. The maneuvers will include landing on an inhabited island in the Laptev Sea. The Russian navy in the Arctic protect important energy facilities and scientific stations, as well as the security of passenger ships. Voice of Russia


caribouReindeer Hate Rain. Arctic reindeer have no problems with snowstorms but are badly affected by rain, a finding that has implications for assessing how climate change affects wildlife, a study on Wednesday says. Norwegian researchers looked at population figures for a well-studied species, the Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus), which inhabits the island of Spitzbergen. Over 17 years of observations, from 1995 to 2011, the number of calves per female fluctuated sharply according to rainfall patterns during the November-April winter. TimesLIVE


North vs. South: Polar Sea Ice at the Extremes. In the wake of last week's announcement that Arctic summer sea ice extent had reached its lowest level in the satellite record - and possibly the lowest for the last several thousand years - a few 'skeptic' blogs were keen to trumpet what they proclaimed to be a different sea ice record. Discovery News


Spending Bill Adds Money for Well Cleanup in Alaska Arctic. A proposed federal spending bill would increase funding for cleanup of abandoned wells in the Alaska Arctic. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who sits on the appropriations committee, announced that $6.5 million is being proposed for the cleanup and remediation of so-called legacy wells. A spokesman says a focus of that funding will be work in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Some 136 wells were drilled under the federal government's direction as part of an exploratory oil and gas program from the 1940s to 1980s. The wells are managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Arctic Bigfoot? Balding Polar Bear? Inquiring Minds Want to Know. Is there a Bigfoot on Alaska's North Slope? One Barrow family thinks so, and it has them worried about a remote cabin property they own about 35 miles south of America's northernmost community. Sarah Skin has been camping at the cabin every year for the last half-century. In the last three years, she and her family say they've repeatedly seen 10-foot tall, bipedal creatures that are black, brown or grayish in color. Skin said that they've seen the creatures three years running, each time in the fall when the family heads to the cabin to hunt for caribou. Alaska Dispatch 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.J. Res 117, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013 (Rep. Rogers, presented to the president)

Future Events                      


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.

USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter 

4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203, USA 
(703) 525-0111 (phone)