Arctic Update Header
 February 27, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate begins consideration of two proposals to replace the impending sequester. The chamber is also working to reach an agreement to consider the nomination of Jacob J. Lew to be Treasury secretary. The House takes up the rule for floor debate on a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.


begichBegich Supports EPA Completing Controversial Watershed Review. Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich says he supports U.S. EPA finishing its controversial watershed assessment of the potential impact of large-scale mining in southwestern Alaska, raising eyebrows among advocates who follow the debate. While members of Alaska's congressional delegation are united in strongly opposing a pre-emptive EPA veto of the potential Pebble LP gold and copper mine in the Bristol Bay area, Begich's support for the agency's review -- albeit lukewarm -- is of note. E&E News


Arctic, Oil Spill Response Needs to be on the Table as Subpanel Weighs Service's Mission. The push and pull between the U.S. Coast Guard's various missions, including oil spill response and enforcement of fisheries laws, will be on display tomorrow as a House Transportation and Infrastructure subpanel contemplates how the service's resources are allocated. A hot topic, especially for the Coast Guard and Marine Transportation Subcommittee's No. 2 Republican, Rep. Don Young of Alaska, will likely be the Arctic. As northern sea routes open to commercial traffic and energy companies begin pouring money into the region, which is estimated to hold about a quarter of the world's undiscovered oil and natural gas, a debate is raging over what equipment the Coast Guard needs and how to pay for it. E&E News


Science Science Faces Sequestration Cuts. Cancer, Alzheimer's and many other diseases will face the prospect of fewer researchers working on cures as a result of the upcoming federal budget sequestration, National Institutes of Health chief Francis Collins said Monday. Already in the news for planned cutbacks in warships patrolling the Persian Gulf and air traffic controllers watching the skies, the March 1 federal budget sequester means across-the-board spending cuts totaling $85 billion spread across federal agencies. The sequestration's $1.6 billion cut to NIH, the world's leading medical grant agency, translates into a 5.1 percent cut to medical research, hurting new research grants in particular. Federal Times


Interpol Sets Up New Crime Unit to Tackle Illegal Fishing. Drug dealing, human trafficking and tiger poaching are among the global crimes targeted by the international police organization, Interpol. The newest addition to that list: illegal fishing. Project SCALE aims to crack down on the practice, which is estimated to cost between $10 billion and $23 billion a year from the worldwide fish trade. Interpol launched the initiative Tuesday at the first International Fisheries Enforcement Conference in Lyon, France, which was expected to bring together representatives from more than 60 nations. E&E News


greenlandDenmark Identifies POPs for Greenland Studies. Denmark's National Centre for Environment and Energy at Aarhus Univ. has identified a list of chemicals that should be included in pollutant monitoring activities in Greenland. The centre has reviewed information on the occurrence of "new" persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the Arctic, which are not currently monitored. The review - New contaminants relevant to the Arctic environment - lists compounds that are possibly accumulating in Arctic animals, including flame retardants and phthalates. Based on initial assessments, it identifies 11 chemicals that are "particularly relevant" for further studies in Greenland, including short-chain chlorinated paraffins, bis(4-chlorophenyl)sulfone and octachlorostyrene. Chemical Watch


China Interested in Russia's Yamal LNG stake: Source. A Chinese company has expressed its interest acquiring a stake in an Arctic project to produce liquefied natural gas led by Russia's Novatek, a source close to Novatek said on Wednesday. "There is interest from a Chinese company in a Yamal LNG stake," the source said, adding that Novatek Chief Executive Leonid Mikhelson was currently on a visit to China as a part of a Russian energy delegation. Economic Times


NOAA Arctic Nautical Charts: NOAA Plans Updates. NOAA's Office of Coast Survey has issued an updated Arctic Nautical Charting Plan , as a major effort to improve inadequate chart coverage for Arctic areas experiencing increasing vessel traffic due to ice diminishment. NOAA plans to create 14 new charts to complement the existing chart coverage. For example, seven of the charts will complete chart coverage from the Alaska Peninsula to Cape Lisburne at the edge of the North Slope, and more charts support the future maritime transportation infrastructure in the coastal areas north of the Aleutian Island. MarineLink


Early Ice Road Melt Threatens to Cut off Alberta's Arctic. Many are welcoming the above average temps in Alberta this winter-except those in Fort Chipewyan who say the unseasonably warm days are threatening to cut the northern community off from the rest of the Canadian province of Alberta. Alaska Dispatch

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events                      

Challenges for Science Agencies, February 28, 2013 (Washington, D.C.). The House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing on challenges faced by science agencies. The Subcommittee will consider the Inspectors General report.


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 Albert; 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.


Economic Opportunities and Impacts in a Changing Arctic.

March 6, 2013, Washington, DC.
Come here a COL panel involving Brendan Kelly (OSTP), Joel Clement (DOI), Frank Herr (ONR), Michael Kearns (National Ocean Industries Assoc.) and Bill  Mowitt (Staffer, Sen. Begich) discuss this topic, moderated by John Farrell (USARC). This panel is part of the 2013 Public Policy Forum sponsored by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


US-Canadian Arctic Roundtable, March 7, 2013 (Washington, D.C.). The event is hosted by the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER). The roundtable will provide an opportunity for regional stakeholders to learn more about the role of our Federal Governments in the Arctic and the potential impacts on Alaska, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. A remarkable group of participants and speakers will join the roundtable including, Alaska's U.S. Congressional Delegation and several legislators from PNWER jurisdictions.  They will be joined by Ambassador Gary Doer, Government of Canada and representatives from the U.S. State Department; and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission will attend as well. As PNWER's Arctic Caucus continues to look for solutions to the shared challenges of its three jurisdictions, this meeting will present an opportunity for caucus members and federal representatives to have a dialogue about key priorities for Arctic policy and economic development. The Roundtable will be moderated by Matt Morrison, PNWER Executive Director.


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.


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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