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May 30, 2013

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


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.  



capital Democrats Seek House Hearing on Costs of Ignoring Climate Change. Democratic leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are reiterating calls for the panel's GOP leadership to hold hearings on climate change, this time focusing on the economic impact of ignoring greenhouse gas emissions. The committee's ranking Democrat, Henry A. Waxman of California, and the top Democrat on the Energy and Power Subcommittee, Bobby L. Rush of Illinois, cited a recent Congressional Budget Office analysis of the policy implications of a carbon tax. CBO reported last week that delaying carbon pollution reductions "would increase the expected damage from climate change by increasing the risk of very costly, potentially even catastrophic, outcomes." Congressional Quarterly   


Arctic Current Flowed Under Deep Freeze of Last Ice Age, Study Says. During the last ice age, when thick ice covered the Arctic, many scientists assumed that the deep currents below that feed the North Atlantic Ocean and help drive global ocean currents slowed or even stopped. But in a new study in Nature, researchers show that the deep Arctic Ocean has been churning briskly for the last 35,000 years, through the chill of the last ice age and warmth of modern times, suggesting that at least one arm of the system of global ocean currents that move heat around the planet has behaved similarly under vastly different climates. Phys.Org 


russian flag Russia Sends Coast Guard Vessel to Svalbard. The vessel is planned to start patrolling on June 5 and will have inspectors from the Federal Fisheries Agency on board. Russian authorities believe that there will be fewer Norwegian detentions of Russian fishing vessels as long as the Russian vessel is in the area."The Svalbard zone is still a sore spot in the relations between Russia and Norway", Head of the Barents and White Sea branch of the Fisheries Agency Konstantin Drevetnyak said, according to Rossiyskaya Gazeta. "As long as the FSB and the Fisheries Agency are there, Russian vessels will have no big problems. If they don't break the rules, of course" he said. Barents Observer 


What China's Arctic Ambitions Mean for the Environment. It may be a long way from home but China is muscling its way into the Arctic, cozying up to countries that line the Arctic Ocean. So what does this mean for the environment? In May, the nations of the Arctic Council opened the door to six non-Arctic states, including China. Although mostly symbolic - they were admitted as observers so don't get an official say - for China, it was the culmination of years spent trying to gain a foothold in the region. New Scientist


Arctic on Russian-Finnish Military Agenda. During his two-day visit to Helsinki this week, the Russian defence minister expressed interest in a stronger military cooperation with the neighboring Finland. According to Shoigu, Finland should consider to acquire Russian-made military equipment as part of its major ongoing modernization process. "Moscow and Helsinki have all opportunities to give their military cooperation a higher level of dynamics", the Russian minister says in a press release. "Both the Finnish and Russian armed forces are undergoing wide-reaching modernization and it is important for us to discuss the problems which our countries are facing in the course of this transformation", Shoigu adds. Barents Observer


canadian flag Canada Hopes Arctic Council Business Forum "Will Have Ongoing Life." Canada hopes that the circumpolar business conference planned for its Arctic Council chairmanship will have "an ongoing life," the chair of the council's meetings of non-elected officials, Patrick Borbey, told reporters May 29 in Iqaluit. "At the end of the day, it's not really going to be an Arctic Council initiative in the long term. We're going to help create it, but it's going to have to sustain itself through its membership," Borbey said. Nunatsiaq Online


Arctic Sea Ice Melt Disrupts Weather Patterns. Shrinking Arctic sea ice is shifting polar weather patterns, especially in fall and winter, a new climate modeling study finds. For the study, researchers looked at weather patterns in 2007, when sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean hit one of its lowest summer extents since satellite tracking began in the late 1970s. Live Science


Infants, Youth Comprise Two-Thirds of Poor in Nunavik: Researcher. Nearly four in 10 Nunavik households still live in poverty. That's according to continuing research studies on poverty in Nunavik by Gérard Duhaime, a sociologist from Université Laval. Nunatsiaq Online


arctic shipping Shipping Experts to Discuss Arctic Opportunities. Minister Trond Giske, Secretary General Koji Sekimizu, Chairman Masamichi Morooka and Director General Sturla Henriksen will meet the press on Wednesday, June 5 at 2 p.m. to discuss a major Summit in Oslo, where the Board of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) will meet with political leaders from major shipping nations and the Secretary General of the United Nations' International Maritime Organization (IMO) to discuss sustainability and shipping in the Arctic. The objective is to create a dynamic arena for dialogue between policy makers and the shipping industry. The Summit is being hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Norwegian Shipowners' Association (NSA), in conjunction with the ICS Annual General Meeting. MarineLink


Getting Broadband in the Arctic. Is it really possible to get broadband coverage in the Arctic? "Yes, indeed!", say Telenor, the Norwegian Space Centre and the SINTEF company MARINTEK, who are currently looking into how they can make it happen. A meeting was held recently, attended by representatives from these companies' R&D centres and a number of potential users of an Arctic broadband system, in order to mark the start of a project which has been given the name "ASK" (a Norwegian abbreviation of Arctic Satellite Communications). Phys.Org


Salmon Accessibility a Concern for Arctic Food Security. A unique meeting of minds and cultures underway in Darwin this week, is highlighting many similar experiences in facing global challenges. The first World Indigenous Network conference has brought together delegates from more than 50 countries, covering topics from mapping marine areas in Indonesia, to reducing Indigenous poverty in Pakistan. ABC News


NATO Rejects Direct Arctic Presence. Norway's ambition of persuading NATO to establish a strong direct military presence in the Arctic High North - and as a strategic counterweight to Russia's intensifying rearming programs in the region - suffered a setback after the leader of NATO said the alliance has no plans to expand its role there. Russia's multibillion-dollar rearming of its northern and eastern naval, air and land combat capabilities has raised the ire of its Nordic neighbors in recent weeks. Defense News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events


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."


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 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.

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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