Arctic Update Header
 February 21, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


Both chambers are in a week-long recess for Presidents Day and will be back in session Feb. 25.  


McCarthy, Moniz Top Picks for EPA, DOE. Environmental Protection Agency air chief Gina McCarthy and former Clinton Energy undersecretary Ernest Moniz are still seen as clear favorites to help lead President Barack Obama's energy and environment team, but the official announcements may not be imminent, sources tell POLITICO. The expectation that Obama will tap McCarthy to lead EPA and Moniz to head the Energy Department hasn't changed for weeks - and in fact, a limited backlash has already developed for both candidates. Some congressional Republicans are skeptical about McCarthy, while anti-fracking interests are objecting to Moniz because of ties between the petroleum industry and an energy initiative he runs at MIT. Politico


capital Issa Offers Alternative to Protect American Indian Women from Abuse. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Wednesday announced he will reintroduce a bill to protect American Indian women from domestic violence, an issue that has become the sticking point for House Republicans on the broader Violence Against Women Act reauthorization. Similar to the Senate bill (S 47), Issa's measure would authorize American Indian tribes to exercise jurisdiction over crimes of domestic violence that occur within that tribe's boundaries. The Senate passed that measure 78-12 on Feb. 12. Congressional Quarterly


Murkowski Talks Energy With Interior Alaska Legislators. On the eve before she's scheduled to address the Alaska Legislature, U.S. Senate Lisa Murkowski met with members of the Interior delegation to discuss their energy priorities. Murkowski, who will address lawmakers in a joint session of the House and Senate today, spent much of the Wednesday-night meeting discussing the merits and challenges ahead of the proposed natural gas trucking plan. Fairbanks News-Miner


Why Climate Change Joined GAO's High-Risk List. Typically, we think of the GAO focusing on territory familiar to auditors, which is what most of the high-risk list does: managing federal property, DOD supply chain management, NASA acquisitions management, modernizing federal disability programs, etc. But it has now added a politically-charged topic to its list: climate change. Government Executive  


What's Troubling Subarctic Bird Species Like Ptarmigan, Gyrfalcon? A Yukon biologist says ptarmigan and gyrfalcon populations could be in decline across Canada's northwestern Yukon Territory. Dave Mossop says the fluctuations in these two "key" species could be a sign of greater trouble across the food chain. Both populations usually peak in a 10-year cycle, but recent bird surveys do not indicate a peak as expected. Mossop says the unexpected change in the cycle could be a result of climate change or other factors. Alaska Dispatch


Healy, Coast GuardMobility and Ice Operations Division. Recently, the Coast Guard published a chart that details the size, type, age, and nationally of that major icebreakers of the world. A link to the chart is available here.




Europe to Get its First EU-wide Offshore Oil and Gas Law. The European Union on Thursday agreed to its first law to regulate safety in offshore oil and gas drilling across the 27-member bloc and to try and prevent any repeat of BP's catastrophic Gulf of Mexico spill. Some environmental campaigners said the law, which still needs final endorsement from member states and the European Parliament, was not robust enough. Others argued it could help to protect Arctic waters from oil spills. Reuters


Bleach and Antifreeze Integral to Arctic Animal Survival. Arctic Springtails start to produce hydrogen peroxide - better known as household bleach - when the temperature in Svalbard cools to a tipping point of -2C degrees. This prompts them to dehydrate and become cryogenically frozen in time. The Arctic Springtail is a small, mite-like creature that lives under rocks in the Arctic, where temperatures can get as low as -20C degrees. During winter these small creatures completely dry out, pushing all of the water out of their bodies until they could be mistaken for a 'crumpled up crisp packet,' says Dr Melody Clark from the British Antarctic Survey, co-author of the study. Phys.Org


Iceland Looks to Export Power Bubbling From Below. Soon after work began here on a power plant to harness some of the vast reserves of energy stored at the earth's crust, the ground moved and, along a six-mile-long fissure, began belching red-hot lava. The eruptions continued for nine years, prompting the construction of a stone and soil barrier to make sure that molten rock did not incinerate Iceland's first geothermal power station. New York Times

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events                      


Alaska Native Language Archive, February 22, 2013, Fairbanks. Please join ANLA and the Rasmuson Library for a Grand Opening Celebration to dedicate the new ANLA public service point on the second floor of the Rasmuson Library. The event will begin with an open house featuring collections in the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections, the Oral History Collection, and of course ANLA. This will be followed by a special panel session entitled Honoring Alaska's Native Languages: Past, Present, Future, reflecting on 50 years of Native language archiving at UAF.


Environmental Protection in the Arctic, March 1, 2013, Anchorage, Alaska. The Canadian Consulate General in Seattle will host a discussion of environmental protection issues with David Hik, President, International Arctic Science Committee, University of Alberta; Fran Ulmer, Chair, United States Arctic Research Commission; and Lilian Alessa, Director, NSF Alaska EPSCoR Program. The event will be held at Rusmuson Hall 101, the University of Alaska Anchorage campus at 5pm. Email to RSVP.


Tufts Energy Conference, March 2-3, 2013, Medford, MA. Availability, accessibility, affordability, and acceptability: these "Four As" are at the core of global energy security. As energy demands increase around the world, the global community must balance the "Four As" while keeping up with need. Thanks to major innovations in extraction technologies, fossil fuels remain an available and affordable global asset. Yet climate change, geopolitical risk, and environmental impacts are changing the energy debate and challenging the acceptability of fossil fuels. In the short term, emerging green technologies often lack accessibility, availability, and affordability. TEC 2013 will explore how both developing and developed countries are working to meet their energy needs, manage geopolitical risk, and ensure energy security. Through six diverse but interconnected panels, TEC 2013 will address a number of pressing questions.


The 43rd Annual Arctic Workshop 2013, March 11-13, 2013: Amherst, Massachusetts. The workshop is an annual gathering for international researchers to present work on any aspect of high-latitude environments (past, present, and future). Organizers strive for a relaxed, friendly, and interactive experience, fostered in part by the workshop's relatively small size. Researchers are invited to present their very latest research; the abstract deadline is just a few weeks before the workshop. Student participation is strongly encouraged, with partial support available to those making presentations (limited number of slots).

The Economist's "Arctic Summit: A New Vista for Trade Energy and the Environment," March 12, 2013. (Oslo, Norway) The event is hosted by The Economist. The Arctic Summit will discuss big issues concerning the region: chase for natural resources, impact of climate change, emergence of new trading routes and the need for responsible governance. The summit has been designed to focus attention and to promote constructive thinking prior to the next Arctic Council Ministers' meeting in 2013. A high-level group of 150 policy-makers, CEOs and influential commentators will spend a day tackling the issues at the heart of the Arctic's future, in discussions led by James Astill, environment editor of The Economist and author of the special report on the Arctic.


Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, March 12-13, 2013, Washington, D.C. The Standing Committee of the Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region will hold its next meeting in March. One of the main priorities of the Standing Committee was originally to support the establishment of the Arctic Council. The new organization, representing the eight Arctic states (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the USA) and the European Parliament was founded on 19 September 1996. Since then the Committee has worked actively to promote the work of the Council. The Committee participates in the meetings of the Arctic Council as an observer.


28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013, Anchorage. 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.


Arctic Science Summit Week, April 13-19, 2013. Krakow, Poland.

The ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science and to combine science and management meetings. Side meetings organized by groups with interest in the Arctic science and policy will also be held within the week. One of them is already planned: The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) will offer a one-day career development workshop during the ASSW 2013. Details will be published closer to the event here.



American Polar Society 75th Anniversary, April 15-18, 2013, Woods Hole, MA. The American Polar Society will hold a meeting and symposium at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. This meeting and symposium is titled "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics." 


Arctic Observing Summit 2013, April 30- May 2, 2013, Vancouver, BC, CA. The Arctic Observing Summit is led by the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC). It is a Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON) task and part of the broader SAON implementation process, which is led by the Arctic Council jointly with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). AOS is a high-level, biennial summit that aims to provide community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, coordination and sustained long term (decades) operation of an international network of arctic observing systems. The AOS will provide a platform to address urgent and broadly recognized needs of arctic observing across all components of the arctic system, including the human component. It will foster international communication and coordination of long-term observations aimed at improving understanding and responding to system-scale arctic change. The AOS will be an international forum for optimizing resource allocation through coordination and exchange among researchers, funding agencies, and others involved or interested in long term observing activities, while minimizing duplication and gaps.


International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013, Bergen, Norway. 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.


Private Sector Transportation, Infrastructure, Assets, Response, Capacity, and Development in the Arctic, May 30, 2012, Seattle, WA. A recently-held Arctic transportation workshop in Iceland highlighted the need to better understand private sector transportation infrastructure and assets, recognizing industry's role in the responsible development of resources, response and supportive infrastructure. As a follow-up to its efforts to inventory and map Arctic transportation infrastructure, the Institute of the North is hosting a workshop at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle, Washington that focuses on three critical areas: private sector assets and infrastructure in the Arctic, staging areas outside the Arctic that support Northern development, and vessels and technology that are difficult to map but need to be measured for future decision-making. Participants include industry representatives, technical experts, researchers, Coast Guard and other response personnel.

AGU Science Policy Conference, June 24-26, 2013. (Washington, DC) Hundreds of Earth and space scientists, students, policymakers, and industry professionals will discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our economy, national security, environment, and public safety. This meeting will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions related to energy, natural hazards, technology and infrastructure, climate, oceans, and the Arctic. The event is hosted by American Geophysical Union (AGU), a Washington, D. C.-based international nonprofit scientific association.



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