Arctic Update Header
March 1, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents  


The House and Senate are not in session. Congressional leaders meet with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss the sequester.


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.


** This weekend** 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 Alaska Arctic Policy Commission Seeks Aide. The Alaska Arctic Policy Commission (AAPC) was created by legislation through the Alaska Legislature. (Text of legislation available here) The Alaska Legislature created AAPC to assist in the development of Alaska's Arctic policy and strategy, a recommendation of the Northern Waters Task Force. The Commission will begin hold an inaugural meeting on March 23rd, in Juneau, to identify a mission and vision for Alaska in the Arctic and develop goals and action items for future decision making.


AAPC is accepting applications for an aide to assist in commission. The aide will:

  • Report directly to the co-chairs and oversee Commission communication and direction in coordination with the co-chairs;
  • Maintain contact with federal agencies in Washington, D.C. and coordinate Commission outreach and public education within the state;
  • Help arrange meeting logistics, coordinate speakers, assist with public outreach, draft meeting minutes, and assist the commission with writing the preliminary and final report with the commissioners;
  • Work with Legislative Research to identify prior State of Alaska statements related to the Arctic and provide to Commission;
  • Produce any other background materials requested by Commissioners;
  • Report to research requests during the length of the study period;
  • Provide background research on circumpolar northern strategies and policies (both national and sub-national), and any other background materials or research requests in the form of topic specific white papers. 

Interested parties should email a resume and cover letter to AAPC co-chairs at and


A link to the commissioners and alternates is available here. 


Jewell, SallyInterior Nominee Affirms Support for Continued Arctic Oil and Gas Exploration. During a meeting on Thursday with U.S. Sen. Mark Begich to discuss her confirmation, Interior Secretary nominee Sally Jewell voiced her support for continued Arctic exploration with the right rules in place. She also committed to coming to Alaska as soon as possible to talk to Alaskans about key issues like oil and gas development and subsistence. "I am glad Ms. Jewell understands the great potential for our state and nation from Arctic oil and gas development," Begich said.  "We all agree development must take place in a safe and responsible manner.  With the amount of resources in Alaska's Arctic, the question is no longer if development will take place, the question is how." Alaska Native News


Begich Continues Work to Prepare Alaska for Future of the Arctic. Citing expanding commerce and activity in the Arctic, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich on Thursday introduced The Arctic Deepwater Ports Enhancement Act to promote the development of much-needed deepwater ports in the region. "Arctic ports will have a big effect on the way we produce and export natural resources and on our ability to reduce high fuel costs in the region," said Sen. Begich.  "The ports will strengthen the Alaska economy by providing jobs and opportunities for small business.  I expect the increases in shipping, oil and gas exploration and tourism to pave the pathway for greater economic growth." Alaska Native News


Arctic Sea Ice: Researchers, Students Partner With Naval Academy in Arctic Training Exercises. "We will walk out onto the water," explained Cathleen Geiger, research associate professor of geography in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. "It's not often you get to stand on the ocean." Geiger and her research team will be measuring sea ice using cutting-edge technology to quantify shifts in this dynamic environment, where seawater freezes in the winter and melts in warmer months. At the same time, they will be training undergraduates from the U.S. Naval Academy in techniques that include 3-D mapping of ice contours and cross-referencing locations into geographic information systems (GIS). Phys.Org


russian flagEEC Classifies Arctic Icebreaker Pilotage as Natural Monopoly. The board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) has classified icebreaker and ice pilotage of ships along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) as a natural monopoly in Russia. The decision, posted on the EEC website Thursday, goes into effect on March 29. The NSR is the shortest sea route between European Russia and the Far East, and has historically served as Russia's national shipping route in the Arctic. The route serves ports on the Arctic and on the big rivers of Siberia. Russia Beyond the Headlines


Arctic Research Station Site Unveiled. Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, has announced that the Cambridge Bay's Plateau site will be the location of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) in Nunavut. "This is another key milestone in the construction phase of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station," said Valcourt. Daily Commercial News


canadian flag [Canadian] Feds Eye Central Arctic Exploration. The federal government is opening a vast new frontier for oil and gas activity in Nunavut's high Arctic with a call for companies to indicate their interest in bidding for exploration rights. In a notice this week, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada issued a call for nominations - essentially asking industry to select promising blocks that would then be put up for competitive bidding. Globe and Mail


Norway, Germany Seek Arctic Energy Cooperation. German Chancellor Angela Merkel traveled to Oslo recently to meet with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to discuss the euro crisis and energy issues, including cooperation in the Arctic. This was the pair's fifth meeting in nine months. Stoltenberg stressed the importance of German and European companies in assisting with the development of the Arctic region. After his meeting with Merkel, he remarked, "We also touched on the North and Arctic, and the possibilities inherent in the North, both energy and other resources. Here, I conveyed that it is important that more good effort involved to develop this important region. This applies to Europe as a whole, including Germany and German industry. Alaska Dispatch


US Arctic researcher calls Canada's new confidentiality rule 'chilling'. The Canadian federal government is imposing new confidentiality rules, and the impacts on a proposed Canada-US project are concerning. "I'm not signing it," said Andreas Muenchow, of the Univ. of Delaware. View the wonderfully sardonic video on this issue by Canadian Rick Mercer, below 

RMR: Rick's Rant - Scientists Muzzled Again
RMR: Rick's Rant - Scientists Muzzled Again


McCarthy Stresses Need for Climate Change Action, Stays Mum on Expected Nomination. Speculation continues to swirl about when the White House will tap Gina McCarthy to head U.S. EPA, but there is little doubt that she is on her way up. In remarks at last night's award dinner in a Washington, D.C., hotel for the EPA-sponsored Climate Leadership Conference, McCarthy stayed mum about the promotion and took no questions. E&E News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events                      


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.


Lecture: Melting Ice: What is happening to Arctic sea ice and what does it mean for us? March 20, 2013, Washington DC.
The National Research Council is sponsoring the 14th annual Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture, to be given by Dr. John Walsh of the Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks. The lecture, which starts at 5:30 pm in the Baird Auditorium, in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (10th Street and Constitution entrance) is free, and open to the public, but
pre-registration, for planning purposes, would be appreciate. Please contact Pamela Lewis ( with questions.


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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