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May 24, 2013

The House and Senate are in recess until June 3rd.


capital Hispanic Caucus Backs Grijalva for Markey's Ranking Member Post. The chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus yesterday urged Democrats to back Rep. Raśl Grijalva (D) to succeed Rep. Ed Markey as ranking member on the Natural Resources Committee, calling the Arizonan "one of the strongest public lands advocates our party has seen in a long time." The endorsement of CHC Chairman Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas), should give Grijalva a boost in his uphill battle against Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) to succeed Markey, who is battling Republican Gabriel Gomez in Massachusetts' June 25 special election to replace former Sen. John Kerry (D), who left to become secretary of State. E&E News


India Has Science, Business Interests in the Arctic. India's status as an observer at the eight-nation Arctic Council will give it a chance to understand the ice cap's climate, which impacts the Indian monsoon, along with the possibility of exploring the mineral-rich North Pole and shorter shipping routes for future business, a senior official said. "At the moment our interest is mainly from the science (of the region). But later, we could explore business prospects too," Shailesh Nayak, secretary in the Ministry of Earth Sciences, told IANS. New York Daily News


arcticcouncil Arctic Council Issues Regional Vision After Kiruna Meeting. During the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Kiruna, Sweden, on March 15th, the body's Secretariat released the "Vision for the Arctic" (PDF). The Secretariat is composed of the eight Arctic States together with the six permanent participants, the Arctic Indigenous Peoples' Organizations.  The vision has seven sections, which I analyze below. The document's introduction describes how the region has become "an area of unique international cooperation." Indeed, this is true, as it is one of the few international forums in the world where indigenous people are consulted at such a high and consistent level, although still not as fully equal partners. Unsurprisingly, a study in a 2011 issue of the International Journal of Cultural Property found that the power structures and decision-making processes of multilateral bodies disadvantage indigenous peoples, even when they are not fully excluded. Alaska Dispatch


Oil and Gas Group Sues Over Bearded Seal Listing. The Alaska Oil and Gas Association is suing over a federal decision to list certain populations of Arctic bearded seals as threatened. The trade association says there is no scientific evidence linking climate change to adverse effects on the seals. It also says that scientific data indicates the populations currently appear to be healthy. Alaska Public Radio


The North Pole is on the Move. The North Pole's surprise trip toward Greenland is due to Earth's rapidly melting ice sheets, a new study finds. The distribution of mass across the planet determines the position of Earth's poles. Because Earth is a bit egg-shaped, the North Pole is always slightly off-center. It's also been slowly drifting south, responding to long-term changes since the last Ice Age, as the enormous ice sheets that once covered large swaths of the planet melted and parts of the Earth rebounded from the lost weight. The Weather Channel


Chinaflag Race to the North: China's Arctic Strategy and Its Implications. The Arctic, during the Cold War a locus of intense military competition between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, is rapidly reemerging as a geostrategic flash point. As accelerating climate change melts the Arctic's perennial sea ice, littoral as well as peripheral actors are preparing to exploit emergent economic and strategic opportunities in the High North. Although the possibility of armed conflict over Arctic resources has been somewhat discounted, a fair amount of saber rattling in recent years among the "Arctic eight"-the United States, Russia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden-has given rise to the notion that circumpolar security actors may be priming for a "new kind of Cold War" in the North.Russia, for example, has warned that countries could be at war within a decade over resources in the Arctic region. US Naval War College

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events



The Promise of the Arctic, May 29-30, 2013. (Seattle, WA) The economic potential of the Arctic is one of the 'hottest' topics on the national-and international-economic agenda. But what is the true potential? The Promise of the Arctic is a policy-driven conference that seeks to explore the opportunities-and honestly expose the challenges-of the harsh Arctic environment. The goal of the conference is to identify real economic opportunities for the maritime industry, and the obstacles for maximizing the promise of the Arctic. Attendees will hear from economists and the financial sector, policymakers...and private sector maritime companies currently involved in the Arctic.


10th International Symposium on Cold Regions Development (ISCORD 2013) (June 2-5, 2013) (Anchorage, Alaska) The International Association for Cold Regions Development Studies (IACORDS) and the Technical Council on Cold Regions Engineering of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will host a conference on "Planning for Sustainable Cold Regions." Special Keynote Sessions each day include "Bridging the Gap Between Climate Change Science and Engineering Practice"; "The Challenges of the Debris from the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake in Japan"; and "Energy in Alaska - Current and Future Projects."


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.


The 3rd airship workshop will follow up the achievements of last year's workshop by focusing on potential approaches and actions for creating incentives that would facilitate the establishment of strong cargo airship business commitments for cargo airship services for customers in Alaska and other Northern areas. Workshop topic areas 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) 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.


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 sixprevious 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 - one that 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 on offer, 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 advance a collective dialog 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 research scientific 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.


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