Arctic Daily Update: April 16, 2013
The Senate resumes consideration of a measure that would expand background checks to all gun sales. The House votes on three suspensions, all dealing with information networks and cybersecurity.
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."
Committee to Vote on Moniz Nomination Thursday. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday will vote on Ernest Moniz's nomination to lead the Department of Energy. Moniz, a former DOE official who now directs MIT's Energy Initiative, is widely expected to be confirmed as the next Energy secretary. The vote will take place just before a previously scheduled hearing on DOE's budget, the committee announced yesterday. E&E News
Once Considered a Backwater, Invigorated Panel Tries to 'Maximize Its Potential.' When jostling for committee assignments, most lawmakers are gunning for one of the "A" committees, like Appropriations, Ways and Means or Energy and Commerce. The House Science, Space and Technology Committee? Not so much. But 2014 candidates take note -- getting on the science panel might be a little more competitive next time around. Current committee members seem serious about addressing some of the biggest issues facing the nation and the world, from tomorrow's economy and climate change, to city-flattening asteroids. E&E News
Reminder about Public Comment Ending April 22. The draft report, entitled "Arctic Marine Transportation System: Overview and Priorities for Action," is available for review and comment until April 22, 2013. The Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS) draft document is available on the CMTS website by clicking the icon of the report. Substantive comments and/or questions regarding the draft report should be submitted to ArcticMTS@cmts.gov
Frontier Scientists: Updates. The Anchorage Daily News blog Frontier Scientists includes recent updates on Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Day/ Night Band use in the Arctic; reports burned areas of Alaska may cause additional wildfire activity; northern movement of plant species; etc.
China, India, Singapore Could Join New Arctic Circle Forum. The non-profit forum, Arctic Circle, will hold its first meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland's capital, in October. Such a gathering is needed, Grimsson said, because, while most countries have a stake in the melting of Arctic ice, only eight - Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States - are members of the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental group set up in 1996. Some non-Arctic countries can observe the deliberations, but they have no formal voice on the Council about sustainable development and environmental protection in the region. Reuters
China Signs Free Trade Agreement With Iceland as it Looks for Foothold in the Arctic. China and Iceland signed a free trade agreement Monday, offering hope to the small North Atlantic country for its recession-battered economy and giving Beijing a leg up in its drive for expanded influence in the Arctic. The China-Iceland free trade pact will lower tariffs on a range of goods and is expected to boost seafood and other exports from the remote Nordic state to the world's second-largest economy. It comes at the start of a five-day visit to China by Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir that highlights her country's attempts to diversify an economy that was badly mauled by the bursting of a massive financial bubble in 2008. Washington Post
Federal Arctic Working Group Calls for Review of Agencies' Activities. An Alaska interagency working group called for a review yearend of more than 20 federal agencies, departments, and executive offices at work in the Arctic as it issued a report to US President Barack Obama on Apr. 4. It did not recommend any new regulations or policies. The report recommended adoption of an integrated management strategy with a coordinated approach using the best available science to integrate cultural, environmental, and economic factors in decision-making about development and conservation. Oil & Gas Journal
Will Melting Arctic Open Up LNG Shipping Lanes? As Alaska continues to struggle with jumpstarting construction on a massive natural gas pipeline project, Russia is marching ahead with plans to tap its own Arctic gas reserves. But unlike Alaska, which is pinning its hopes on an 800-mile-long pipeline and terminal project that could cost more than $65 billion, Russia's effort would involve icebreaker tankers transporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Arctic's ice-clogged waters. Alaska Dispatch
Aker Arctic to Design Icebreaker for Finnish Government. The government has already taken earlier a decision in principle to procure a new icebreaker; and 125 million euro has been earmarked for its construction by winter 2016. The capacity of the new icebreaker in all parameters will comply with the Urho-class icebreaker. Due to its diesel-electric machinery, it will be able to move continuously through about 1.6-meter-thick level ice, to break a 25-meter-wide channel in 1.2-meter ice at speed of 6 knots, as well as to reach 9-11 knots of average assistance speed in the Baltic Sea. The draught of the vessel with full fuel tanks should be maximum 8 meters, which enables operation and support to vessels on all major sea routes. The cruising speed of the vessel in open water should be minim 16 knots. Marine Link
No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.
** New ** Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS 2013), April 22-24, 2013 (Washington, D.C.) Sponsored by the World Ocean Council, SOS 2013 is designed to bring together a diverse range of ocean industries: shipping, oil and gas, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, offshore renewable energy, ports, dredging, mining, cables and pipelines, marine science, engineering and technology, the maritime legal, financial and insurance communities, and others - as well as ocean stakeholders from the government, inter-governmental, academic and environment communities. On Wednesday, April 24th, USARC's John Farrell will be a speaker at "The Arctic Challenges and Opportunities for Responsible Industries."
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.
5th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and 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.
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.
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.