Arctic Daily Update: June 20, 2013
The agenda is available here.
Joint Ocean Commission Initiative: "Charting the Course: Securing the Future of America's Oceans." This report, released today, calls on "President Obama and Congress to improve the management of our ocean resources. The report describes specific recommendations for the Administration and Congress that prioritize areas where short-term progress can be readily achieved. The report outlines measures for immediate implementation that focus on four action areas:
Spoils of the Sea Elude Many in an Alaska Antipoverty Plan: "The humble pollock, great cash fish of the north, conquered the world through the flaky bland hegemony of a fish stick. At more than $1 billion a year, there is no bigger fishery for human consumption on the planet. But pollock was also meant to be a savior, part of a Washington-backed antipoverty plan aimed at residents here on Alaska's mostly undeveloped west coast. A generation ago, organizers envisioned federally guaranteed shares of the pollock catch that would create a rising tide of funds to lift up poor, isolated villages where jobs and hope are scarce." New York Times
Norway using research to prove sealing's humane: "We do hunt moose, we do hunt other animals. Sealing is a hunting thing." "Norway, hit hard by the European Union's seal product ban, wants to use research to show the world that they're sealing in an acceptable manner. The two most common arguments leveled by seal hunt critics is that too many seals are being caught, and that seals are being hunted in an inhumane way." Nunatsiaq Online
Finland says no to fur-farming ban. "The Finnish Parliament has rejected a proposed ban on fur farming, as expected. The bill was historic in that it was the first ever brought before the legislature by a grassroots civic movement." Alaska Dispatch
What the changing Arctic means for Finland: Will Finland become the trade crossroads of the future. "Global warming, the melting of the Arctic Ocean and new rail lines could open great opportunities for Finland. Its time decision makers wake up to such possibilities, advise future researchers. Finland's geopolitical position could undergo a radical change by the year 2040, according to future researcher Dr. Mika Aaltonen from Aalto University and Michael Loescher, an ex-adviser to the U.S. administration." Eye on the Arctic
Norway opens Arctic border area to oil drilling. "Norway's Parliament has opened up a new area on the fringe of the Arctic Ocean to offshore oil drilling despite protests from opponents who fear catastrophic oil spills in the remote and icy region. Most of the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea, which the Nordic country shares with Russia, is already open to petroleum activities." Business Week
Don't get caught out in the cold. "Eyes are looking north to a vast region of lucrative international trade promise - a region served rudimentarily for the most part by seaports. The superpowers are becoming ever keener to assert their strategic interests in the warming Arctic." Port Strategy
Opinion: Why the Bering Strait is under siege. "...Arctic coastlines have been compared to the Serengeti because of their abundant wildlife corridors, but what many people don't realize is that deep beneath the water's surface, another vast migration unfolds every spring and fall. The Bering Strait becomes the Serengeti of the oceans during those seasons, and the abundance of animal life has fed Yup'ik people and cultural traditions for millennia. Now, climate change has begun to threaten those traditions..." Life Science
Demilitarizing Arctic, NATO's positive signal to Russia. "Predictable power balance in the High North may open up the possibility of extended economic cooperation between former Cold War rivals. The Arctic ice is melting and business struggle gradually becomes stronger. In late May Norway's military 'hawks' failed to persuade NATO to establish a stronger military presence in the Arctic. It's definitely good news for the international business community investing in the region (Shell, Exxon, Rosneft, Statoil to name a few), because political risks usually go hand-in-hand with additional safety and insurance expenses." Press TV
CNOOC seeks Arctic energy partner. "CNOOC is the latest of the big state-owned Chinese oil and gas entities to pursue Arctic energy supplies, putting its name forward as a partner with Iceland's fledgling Eykon Energy to search for oil in waters off the north-east coast of Iceland." The Australian
NASA image: Rare clear view of Alaska. "On most days, relentless rivers of clouds wash over Alaska, obscuring most of the state's 6,640 miles (10,690 kilometers) of coastline and 586,000 square miles (1,518,000 square kilometers) of land. The south coast of Alaska even has the dubious distinction of being the cloudiest region of the United States, with some locations averaging more than 340 cloudy days per year." Phys.org
Promoting Canada's eastern Arctic as airplane test site. "A delegation from Iqaluit, Canada, is in Paris this week, pitching the city's cold to the aviation industry. They're at the 50th annual Paris Airshow -- the world's biggest meeting of the industry -- to promote Iqaluit as an ideal location for cold-weather testing of aircraft." Alaska Dispach
USDA-RD seeks applications to finance rural broadband in remote areas. "USDA-Rural Development (USDA-RD) Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund announced today that applications are being accepted for grants to finance broadband deployment in remote, rural areas. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today's announcement is one part of the Department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy." Anchorage Daily News
The breathing ocean: Reducing the effects of climate change. "Each year, between the burning of fossil fuels and the clearing of old growth forests, humans put about 10 petagrams of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. A petagram is one quadrillion grams. Ten petagrams is equivalent to the mass of Halley's comet, to put it in perspective." Phys.org
Yesterday, the Senate passed S. 157, the Denali National Park Improvement Act by Unanimous Consent.
"Hundreds of Earth and space scientists, students,
The U.S. National/Naval Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) are co-hosting this 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.
New info: Meeting is open to all. Registration is $175. DOD participants can register and pay for this without special approval. The meeting is co-sponsored by the DOD, and in your internal request document, we've been advised that you should indicate that this activity is a "Review of Arctic Change Impacts." For Navy personnel, this means that approval by the DoN/AA is NOT needed.Among the many confirmed speakers are:
Alaskan senators (Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich)
Arctic Exchange, September 16-17, 2013 (Stockholm). "The Exchange brings an evolutionary concept in networking and business information delivery. The concept 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 offered, 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, 2013 (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."
Workshop: Community Oil Spill Response in Bering and Anadyr Straits, November 7-8, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "This workshop will bring together diverse stakeholders 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."