Arctic Update Header
May 1, 2013

 

The House and Senate are in recess this week.

 

Alaska Rural Energy Conference, April 29-May 1, 2013. (Anchorage Alaska) The Alaska Rural Energy Conference is a three-day event offering a large variety of technical sessions covering new and ongoing energy projects in Alaska, as well as new technologies and needs for Alaska's remote communities. Building on the growing success, the Alaska Energy Authority and the Alaska Center for Energy and Power have joined forces again to organize and sponsor the 8th annual Alaska Rural Energy Conference. 

Media
 

Nutrition North Changing How Northern Retailers Do Business. Changes to the supply chain for Arctic Co-operatives Ltd. are creating new transportation routes in the High Arctic. Arctic Co-operatives Ltd. is ending its decades-long relationship with First Air. Starting Saturday, Canadian North will coordinate Arctic Co-op's freight deliveries to the Baffin region of Nunavut, pairing up with Cargojet and Calm Air and using Winnipeg as a hub. CBC News 

 

caribou Caribou the Missing Piece of Arctic Warming Puzzle. Caribou grazing has not previously been recognized as a key component to controlling tundra plant growth and therefore has been left out of models that project changes in arctic ecosystems and arctic warming. "Even at low population sizes, caribou restrict tundra plant growth, which indirectly may help restrict climate warming," says Queen's University PhD candidate Tara Zamin (biology). Plant growth has been increasing in the Arctic tundra over the past several decades. These changes in plant biomass could increase climate warming by increasing the amount of heat absorbed by the Earth's surface." Phys.Org 

 

House Science Subpanels Mulls Cost, Risks of Global Warming Policy. A House Science, Space and Technology Committee subpanel slogged over familiar ground yesterday in a hearing on man-made global warming -- including whether or not it is happening. But while the Environment Subcommittee and the three experts who had been invited testified on the reliability of climate models and other themes, they devoted more time to a discussion of the costs of global warming to society and on which policies might or might not be justified to avoid them. E&E News 

 

arctic shipping 'Decoding' the Polar Code. In this second of two blog posts, policy officer for clean shipping, Antoine Kedzierski, looks back at the origins of the Polar Code, the international code of safety for shipping in Polar waters, the recent International Maritime Organization (IMO) decision on the environmental chapter and what a robust Polar Code should look like. Kedzierski's previous blog set out the difficulties encountered when navigating through most of the 'conventional wisdoms' about Arctic shipping. One important overriding theme, however, pervades all these messages: as the Arctic ice melts, shipping activities there are reporting double-digit growth. Rapid action is therefore necessary to ensure maritime safety and guarantee environmental protection in this particularly fragile and unique ecosystem. The IMO came to a similar conclusion in 2002 when it adopted voluntary guidelines for ships operating in Arctic ice-covered waters. One thing is clear though: we cannot rely on a set of voluntary standards as the only instrument to effectively protect the polar environment. Bunker World 

 

Alaska Watches as Canada Considers Shipping Tar Sands Oil Across Arctic Ocean. Is Alaska nearing the day when large oil tankers will sail by its Arctic shoreline, carrying Canadian tar sands oil to foreign markets? The provincial government of Alberta is toying with the idea, sinking money into a study to find out if an Arctic shipping plan makes more sense than moving its oil through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to the Lower 48, or pipelines west or east through Canada. Alaska Dispatch 

 

Iceland New Era in Icelandic Politics? During Saturday's parliamentary elections in Iceland, two center-right parties seized power from the incumbent Social Democrats. Iceland Review states that the Independence Party won a reported 28.5 percent of the vote, while the Progressive Party won 25.2 percent. What does this mean for Iceland's Arctic strategy and the region at large? First of all, EU membership is now likely off the table. Both the Progressives and Independents oppose acceding to the union. In fact, it was the Progressive Party which promoted the idea of replacing the Icelandic kr