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June 6, 2013


There are no Arctic related events today.


Witness the Arctic | Volume 17, Number 2 - Spring 2013. The Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) released its Spring newsletter featuring multiple articles detailing new Arctic developments, studies, and perspectives. Included is an article by the US Arctic Research Commission delineating our 2013-14 goals and summarizing our recent activities. ARCUS
Arctic needs a new Arctic Ocean Council, says Greenlandic politician. "Arctic peoples may be small in number, but they must take their place on the global stage as economic superpowers shift attention to their huge lands and resources, says Greenlandic politician Josef Tuusi Motzfeldt, who wants to see the creation of new 'Arctic Ocean Council.'" Nunatsiaq Online

Bering Sea canyons may become new marine wildlife preserve.
The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, NPFMC, the Federal agency responsible for commercial fisheries in the Bering Sea, is considering classifying the Bering Sea Canyons as a wildlife preserve. This would be a landmark decision according to some. The NPFMC is conducting its meetings in Juneau this week. The Federal agency is comprised of fifteen (15) members from Alaska, Washington State, and Oregon. Alaska's Governor nominates five candidates to serve on the Federal fisheries council.

Canada's Amundsen icebreaker back in service, headed to Arctic. "The Canadian Coast Guard research vessel Amundsen is on its way back to the Arctic after spending last year in dry-dock for repairs. The ship was launched on Friday in St. Catharines, Ontario. There were significant repairs to its engines and new generators were installed. A news release said it was a $6 million contract for Seaway Marine and Industrial." Alaska Dispatch

China's CNOOC Eyes First Foray Into Offshore Arctic Oil Drilling. "China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CEO), or CNOOC, is partnering with Iceland's Eykon Energy in an application for a license to explore and produce oil and gas in Arctic waters offshore Iceland, the country's hydrocarbon licensing manager told Dow Jones Newswires Wednesday. If the application is successful and a license is awarded, it would mark the Chinese company's first foray into offshore Arctic oil drilling. The industry's biggest players are scrambling to enter this new area in efforts to replenish reserves, an area which has become increasingly controversial." Wall Street Journal

Arctic Council Ministerial meeting anticlimactic as Canada assumes chair. "On the face of it, the Arctic Council Ministerial that took place on May 15 was largely business as usual. The biggest story of course was the acceptance of five Asian states (Japan, India, China, South Korea and Singapore) as Observers and the delay, but not denial, of the European Union, pending a resolution with Canada over its seal product ban. There may have been some eleventh hour politicking, and the outcomes were not foregone conclusions. But it must be conceded that the real story here was that the EU and major Asian nations wanted to be admitted as observers to the Arctic Council in the first place -- and that is a story that began in 2006." Alaska Dispatch

China plans to open Arctic research centre. "China plans to expand its study of the Arctic's resources as well as the region's shipping and economic potential, the Chinese institute for polar research said June 6 on the official English-language website of the China News Service. ENCS said the Polar Research Institute of China plans to set up a China-Nordic Arctic Research Centre in Shanghai to increase awareness and knowledge of the Arctic, promote cooperation for its sustainable development, and provide opportunities for Chinese and Nordic researchers to conduct Arctic research." Nunatsiaq Online

Arctic Broadband Connection in the Works. "A Norwegian project aims to achieve the ambitious goal of bringing broadband to the Arctic. A broadband network that could transmit large amounts of data over many channels would benefit the oil and gas industries, search-and-rescue operations and shipping traffic communications, among other things. The Norwegian Space Center Telenor and the Scandinavian company MARINTEK are proposing such a project to link up the far north."

Rosneft and Gazprom both awarded Arctic Shelf permits. "Gazprom and Rosneft are officially the only companies with the right to explore the Russian Arctic shelf, as they both received exclusive extraction licenses in return for large cash payments. In 2009, Rosneft agreed to pay 1.4 billion roubles ($450 million) and Gazprom 1.2 billion in a resolution passed by the state Duma, but the exact amount paid on Wednesday for the licenses is unknown." RT

Major study assesses sea level changes due to ice sheet losses. "Improved satellite measurements and computer simulations of ice sheets are creating a more accurate picture of the current and future rise in the global sea level, according to an international team of climate experts including Slawek Tulaczyk, a professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz."

The argument against oil drilling in Arctic Seas. "The Natural Resources Defense Council has issued a statement concluding that recent events - most notably the grounding of a Shell Oil drilling rig in Alaska - show the oil industry is not ready to safely, cleanly drill offshore in the Arctic. I agree. There's no logic for pushing fossil-fuel frontiers this extreme while neglecting energy-efficiency measures at home." New York Times Opinion

Funding cuts to major aboriginal political groups undermine 'potential for progress,' Chief Shawn Atleo says. "The Harper government is slashing funding to several major aboriginal political organizations - including the Assembly of First Nations - a surprise move that the group's national chief says flies in the face of the government's stated intention to work with First Nations. A letter from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, sent to 43 Aboriginal representative organizations and obtained by Postmedia News, outlines changes to the way the groups will be funded, including sharp reductions in dollars." Ottawa Citizen

Oil company gives up exploration licenses in Canada's Mackenzie Delta. "MGM Energy Corp. has surrendered its exploration licenses in the Mackenzie Delta region of Canada's Northwest Territories (N.W.T.), saying without the Mackenzie pipeline, it can't get its natural gas and oil to markets. The plan to build a 1,200-kilometer (745-mile) pipeline down the Mackenzie Valley is on hold due to weak natural gas prices." Alaska Dispatch

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


The House Committee on Natural Resources' Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a subcommittee hearing on H.R. 2231, "The Offshore Energy and Jobs Act" (Hastings of WA) at 10 am. This legislation seeks to increase energy exploration and production on the Outer Continental Shelf. Additionally, it would provide for equitable revenue sharing for all coastal States and also implement the reorganization of the functions of the former Minerals Management Service into distinct and separate agencies. Committee Site

Future Events


The Science and Stewardship of Coast Hazards Response in Protected Areas, June 7, 2013 (Washington, D.C.). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists in conjunction with Congressman Sam Farr and responders will highlight how they access and interpret science to keep communities safe and commerce moving through a hypothetical California-based scenario impacting a National Marine Sanctuary, walking participants through each step of the response.  The scenario will cover: oil spill response, marine debris tracking and removal, early Natural Resource Damage Assessment efforts, information management, and public involvement.  There will be many opportunities for audience engagement and discussion.


workshop for the revision of the 2004 Arctic Marine Strategic Plan; a AMSA II(C)/AMSA II(D)-PSSA bridging workshop; and an ecosystem Approach to Management workshop.


A Top of the World Conference, June 12-13 (Barrow, Alaska). The Alaska Arctic Policy Commission will meet in Barrow.  More information will be available on the new AAPC website: here.


AGU Science Policy Conference, June 24-26, 2013. (Washington, DC)   AGU logo

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 (see 6/25 forum titled "US Government Investment in Arctic Change Research"). The event is hosted by American Geophysical Union (AGU), a Washington, D. C.-based international nonprofit scientific association.


3rd Cargo Airships for Northern Operations Workshop, July 10-12, 2013. (Anchorage, Alaska).
The 3rd airship workshop will follow up the achievements of last year's workshop by focusing on potential approaches and actions that would facilitate establishing strong cargo airship business commitments for cargo airship services for customers in Alaska and other Northern area customers. Workshops will look at specific actions that may be initiated.

5th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and icedimArctic Maritime Operations, July 16-18, 2013 (Washington, D.C.). The

U.S. National/Naval Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) will co-host this follow-on symposium to address the changing state of Arctic sea ice and associated environmental conditions vis-a-vis emerging or expected naval, maritime, and associated activities and operations in the region. Invited speakers include nationally and internationally recognized experts on Arctic observations, climate change, and maritime operations.
101st Meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission, August 26-27, 2013 (Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, Alaska). The 101st meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission will be held in Dutch Harbor/Unalaska. The meeting agenda will be posted on the USARC website,, closer to the meeting date. 

7th International Workshop on Ice Drilling Technology (September 9-13, 2013) (Madison, WI). The event is sponsored by the Ice Drilling Program Office- Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDPO--IDDO), International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences (IPICS), International Glaciological Society (IGS). Following in the footsteps of the six previous ice drilling technology workshops held between 1974 and 2006, the Seventh International workship on Ice Drilling Technology will take a comprehensive look a the latest innovations in ice drilling technology, including ice coring, borehole logging, subglacial sampling, core logging and handling, and field logistics.


Arctic Exchange (September 16-17, 2013) (Stockholm). The Exchange brings an evolutionary concept in networking and business information delivery. The concept is designed to meet specific business objectives during  two days for promoting cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the Arctic communities addressing key issues such as sustainable business development and regional protection. As more and more data has confirmed that the Arctic is extremely rich in oil and gas reserves, locations such as Greenland and the Barents Sea have seen a huge growth in interest from the hydrocarbon industry. Despite the opportunities offered, there are many challenges that may hinder operations. The presence of cold temperatures, ice and a lack of infrastructure pose logistical problems that make exploration expensive and risky. 


The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit, October 8-10, (Akureyri, Iceland). The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit is a multidisciplinary event expected to draw together several hundred industry officials, scientists, academics, policymakers, energy professionals and community leaders to collaborate and share leading approaches on Arctic energy issues. Building on the work done at the highly successful 2007 Arctic Energy Summit and Technology Conference, the 2013 Summit will address energy extraction, production and transmission in the Arctic as it relates to three thematic areas: richness, resilience and responsibility.  The 2013 Summit will be hosted by the Institute of the North in cooperation with local host Arctic Portal.


The Inaugural Meeting of The Arctic Circle, October 12-14, 2013 (Reykjavik, Iceland). The inaugural Arctic Circle will be held October 12-14, 2013. Subsequent Arctic Circle gatherings will be held in a different Arctic location each year, so that participants can become familiar with the challenges, needs and opportunities presented by these unique environments. The agenda for the first Arctic Circle gathering will include plenary sessions with international leaders on emerging topics of interest, such as: Sea ice melt and extreme weather; Security in the Arctic; Fisheries and ecosystem management; Shipping and transportation infrastructure; Arctic Resources; and Tourism.


Community Oil Spill Response in Bering and Anadyr Straits, (November 7-8, 2013) (Anchorage, Alaska). This workshop will bring together a diversity of stakeholders to learn more about and respond to community desires to be part of oil spill first-response efforts that help protect food security and other local resources; come to agreement on the multiple roles local community members can play in responding to oil spills; and create an action plan for moving forward on this topic. The workshop is sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society. 


Arctic Cities, Global Processes, and Local Realities, December 2-4, 2013 (Rovaniemi, Finland) The conference is organized jointly by the City of Rovaniemi and the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, Finland. The goal of the conference is to present the latest scientific research and knowledge about the global processes as they become local realities. Even if the Conference is scientific in orientation, it aims to bridge science and knowledge into action by bringing top scholars to share their research results, and to organize joint discussion with the leaders of the Arctic Cities. Sessions include: Rovaniemi Process: past, present, future; Arctic responses to global environmental problems; people and extractive industries; tourism in the Arctic; the Arctic in global economy; climate change in the Arctic; indigenous peoples in cities; and, Arctic global flows. Cross cutting themes include: Arctic cities and global processes; management and governance in the Arctic; and, Arctic together with non-Arctic.

Sciences Association (IASSA) announces the 8th International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS VIII).  ICASS is held every three years, bringing together people from all over the world to share ideas about social science research in the Arctic. ICASS VII, held in Akureyri in June 2011, attracted 450 participants from 30 different countries.  ICASS VIII's theme is Northern Sustainabilities. By using the plural, we underscore both that "sustainability" has social, cultural, economic, political and environmental dimensions, and that definitions of the concept vary. 


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