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 February 7, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act for five years. William "Mo" Cowan of Massachusetts will be sworn in to temporarily fill former Senator John Kerry's seat. The House is not in session.



president signingA Look at Obama's Remaining Cabinet Picks. President Obama on Wednesday chose Sally Jewell, chief executive of the outdoor retailer REI, to succeed Ken Salazar as Interior Secretary and may be on the verge of picking hotel heiress and longtime supporter Penny Pritzker for Commerce Secretary. Here is a look at the changes Obama has made to his Cabinet so far and the jobs he still needs to fill: Government Executive



Nomination Battles are Flourishing. President Barack Obama, who once fantasized about a dream Cabinet fashioned after Abraham Lincoln's "Team of Rivals," now faces the less glamorous task of filling his second-term Cabinet. And that process - like so many other polarizing subjects in Washington these days - has not been easy. Obama's rumored first choice for secretary of State, United Nations Ambassador Susan E. Rice, withdrew her name from consideration after Republicans launched a campaign against her because of public comments she made in the aftermath of the September terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. And Obama's selections for Defense, Treasury and the CIA have faced similar troubles as senators seek answers on everything from that terrorist attack to the classified drone program and the administration's outlook for Medicare. Congressional Quarterly


Alaska Delegation Responds to Obama Pick. Members of Alaska's congressional delegation offered restrained statements Wednesday about President Obama's nomination of the head of a national outdoors equipment retailer to be his interior secretary. Both Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Mark Begich are interested in reviewing Ms. Jewell's qualifications before supporting her nomination. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


The Arctic: Tequila Sunset. ON SEPTEMBER 16th 2012, at the height of the summer melt, the Arctic Ocean's ice sheet had shrunk to an area of 3.41m square kilometres (1.32m square miles), half what it was in 1979. And its volume had shrunk faster still, to a quarter of what it was in 1979, for the sheet is getting thinner as well as smaller. One culprit is global warming, which is fiercer at the poles than elsewhere. The world's average temperature in 2012 was nearly 0.5C above the average for 1951-80. In the Arctic, it was up almost 2C. The Economist


Energy and Commerce Dems Try to Force Science Discussion. House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats made clear again today that they plan to spotlight climate change in the new Congress. Democrats offered two amendments during a markup of the panel's oversight plan for the new Congress that would have required the committee to hold hearings on the science of man-made climate change and on its effect on coastal areas. E&E News


Iceland: $10 M of Herring Die in Fjord. Nearly $10 million worth of herring were found dead in Iceland this week, and researchers say low oxygen levels in the water are likely to blame. Tens of thousands of herring were found dead in the shallow Kolgrafafjordur fjord for the second time this winter. Roughly a season's worth of herring has been lost. E&E News


canadian flagCanada: Government Fails to Protect Against Pollution-Report. The Canadian government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper has failed to protect its citizens and the environment from oil and gas and mining pollution, the country's environment commissioner said in a report to Parliament. The shortcomings detailed in audits released yesterday by Federal Environment Commissioner Scott Vaughan included the absence of regulations on chemicals used by the oil and gas industry and the lack of preparedness for tanker accidents and oil spills. The government must provide more enforcement as investments in pipelines, offshore drilling, oil sands development, shale gas production and mining all continue to grow, he said. E&E News


Oceans: Debris Turns Alaska Coastline into 'Landfill.' Debris believed to be from the March 2011 tsunami in Japan has been washing up on Alaskan shores since last year, state officials and cleanup crews said. An aerial survey paid for by the state and conducted last summer inspected 2,500 miles of Alaska's coast. Debris was found on every beach photographed, said Elaine Busse Floyd of the state Department of Environmental Conservation. "They took over 8,000 pictures, and it was more widespread and in greater quantities than we even expected," Floyd said. E&E News


Polar Bear Eating FishPolar Bears 'May Need to be Fed by Humans to Survive.' The day may soon come when some of the 19 polar bear populations in Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Norway, and Russia will have to be fed by humans in order to keep them alive during an extended ice-free season or prevent them from roaming into northern communities. Some bears may have to be placed in temporary holding compounds until it is cold enough for them to go back onto the sea ice. In worst-case scenarios, polar bears from southern regions may have to be relocated to more northerly climes that have sufficient sea ice cover. Far-fetched, draconian, and unlikely as some of these scenarios may sound, 12 scientists from Arctic countries are, for the first time, suggesting that the five nations with polar bear populations need to start considering these and other management strategies now that sea ice retreat is posing serious challenges to the bears' survival. In worst-case scenarios, the scientists say that polar bears with little chance of being rehabilitated or relocated may have to euthanized. Zoos, which are currently having a difficult time acquiring polar bears because of stringent regulations that prevent them from doing so, will at some point likely be offered as many animals as they can handle, according to the scientists. The Guardian


EU Seal Ban to Factor in its Arctic Council Bid. The European Union's ban on commercial seal hunt products will factor into Canada's decision whether to support it in its bid for a seat on the Arctic Council. The EU, along with 14 countries and organizations, is seeking observer status with the eight-member council, a high-level intergovernmental body made up of Arctic nations. Canada takes over as chair of the council in May for two years under Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq's leadership. In an interview with QMI Agency on Wednesday, the minister said Canada is still considering whether to support applications of countries including China, organizations such as Greenpeace and bodies like the EU. Canmore Leader

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered 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.


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.


Wakefield28th 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:


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.


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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