Arctic Daily Update: June 4, 2013
The Senate will resume consideration of a farm and conservation bill.The House will consider the Military Construction-VA appropriations bill, which the White House has threatened to veto.
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."
ICC Must Consent to UN Law of the Sea Treaty: ICC. Inuit and other Arctic indigenous peoples need to be more involved in the United Nations Law of the Sea negotiations. That was the message that Inupiaq academic and indigenous rights expert Dalee Sambo Dorough, also on the Inuit Circumpolar Council advisory committee on UN Issues; presented May 30 at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Under UNCLOS, nations with Arctic Ocean coastlines - like Canada, Russia, the United States, Denmark and Norway - can claim offshore territory beyond the 200-nautical-mile limit if they can prove by 2013 that underwater geology shows the seabed is actually an extension of their land base, the continental shelf. Nunatsiaq Online
Cantor Balancing Research Priorities, Fiscal Concerns. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is calling for medical research to gain precedence over some other issues, as Congress tries to balance competing priorities with limited dollars. The Virginia Republican has been highlighting the research issue, which remains largely free of the bitter politics surrounding the health care law, along with other policies designed to move the House GOP beyond fiscal concerns. Congressional Quarterly
Finland's President Accuses Swedish Air Force of "Dozing Off." Finland's president Niinistö says that despite an ongoing military realignment in neighboring Sweden, the two countries still see eye-to-eye on security issues. President Sauli Niinistö says that Finland and Sweden are pursuing the same security policy, even though the Swedish government emphasized the threat from Russia in a security white paper issued on Friday. Alaska Dispatch
Swedish Security Report Raises Concerns with Russia. A major security analysis presented to Sweden's government Friday says that Russia is moving in the wrong direction, resulting in more instability in the region. The report, the result of a cross-party Defense Advisory Committee, will be the foundation for the government's major decisions on defense starting in 2015. Alaska Dispatch
Future of the Arctic in Focus as More Countries State Playing in the Region. As interest in the Arctic region, its exploration and preservation rapidly grows, the Arctic Council is getting more hands to help out with the new Permanent Arctic Council Secretariat starting its work in northern Norway. Eight Arctic nations, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the US, make the Arctic council, but as of May 15, twelve permanent observers have joined the Council. These include countries away from the Arctic circle such as China, Italy, Japan and South Korea. With Arctic ice melting and new opportunities for commercial transportation and extraction of mineral resources, new players are being attracted to the region. The decision on permanent observers reflects growing interest toward the Arctic among non-Arctic states. RT
USA: NEPA Meetings Scheduled for Arctic Deep Draft Ports Feasibility Study. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Alaska District has scheduled three National Environmental Policy Act scoping meetings to receive comments for the district's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Arctic Deep Draft Ports Navigation Improvements Feasibility Study being conducted as a general investigation study. Meetings are planned for Nome at 6 p.m. June 11 at Old St. Joe's, Brevig Mission at 1 p.m. June 12 in the multipurpose room and Teller at 7 p.m. June 13 in the community/bingo hall. Dredging Today
Medvedev Optimistic About Northern Sea Route. Russian Prime Minister Medvedev believes shipment volumes via the Northern Sea Route (NSR) may reach 10 million and even more tons annually. "The Northern Sea Route is a major advantage that our entire region should benefit from. We believe it is vital we should launch a certain set of up-to-date projects and raise infrastructure to get the best of its commercial potential," said Medvedev. Barents Nova
Russia Joins Forces With Scandinavia to Finance Arctic Oil Rush. Russia, Finland and Norway are in talks to create a fund that will help pay for investments in the Arctic Barents region as part of a plan to gain access to billions of barrels of oil and natural gas. Talks between nations gathered for the 20th anniversary of the Barents Euro-Arctic Cooperation agreement focused on "how better to use the money or institutions we already have," Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said in an interview today in the Norwegian city of Kirkenes, close to the Russian border. "It could be a kind of common fund, where the money could come from Russia" and lenders such as the European Investment Bank and the Nordic Investment Bank, he said. Bloomberg
New Financial Tools Needed for the Arctic. Barents Euro-Arctic council (BEAR) may create new financial instruments for development of the Arctic region, said Russian PM Medvedev. The Barents Summit meeting held 3-4 June in the Norwegian town of Kirkenes has summoned Prime Ministers and other high-level representatives of the members of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council. "Iceland came up with a proposal to establish an investment bank," Medvedev said. "Our suggestion is to think of certain state-private partnership projects. If necessary we could set up funds. These tools may involve joint European structures. The idea is of large scale, but the most important thing is to secure it with money." Barents Nova
IASC Data Statement. In this spirit of open collaboration, the IASC (International Arctic Science Committee) Council recently endorsed a new "Statement of Principles and Practices for Arctic Data Management." The document asserts that all IASC-endorsed scientific results shall be verifiable and reproducible through ethically open access to all data necessary to produce those results. Data should be made fully and freely available with minimal delay and with only limited ethical, not proprietary, restrictions. IASC
Northern Sea Route Slated for Massive Growth. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday during an international conference on the Barents sea that shipping along the Arctic northern sea route could more than double, while experts said it could grow more than thirty-fold over the next eight years and account for a quarter of cargo traffic between Europe and Asia by 2030. The Moscow Times
Air Monitors in Canada's Arctic to Track Pollution From Increased Shipping. Environment Canada has installed air quality monitors in two communities in Canada's eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut to track the pollution that may come with more industry in the North. Dr. Ralf Staebler recently installed the monitors in Resolute and Cape Dorset. He said those communities were chosen for a few reasons. Alaska Dispatch
China Signals Hunger for Arctic's Mineral Riches. When China - along with Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India, and Italy - was granted permanent observer status in the Arctic Council last month, it left many experts wondering whether a paradigm shift in geopolitics is taking place in the region. Until recently, security issues, search and rescue protocols, indigenous rights, climate change, and other environmental priorities were the main concerns of the intergovernmental forum, which includes the eight voting states bordering the Arctic and several indigenous organizations that enjoy participant status. But the admission of China and other major Asian economic powers as observer states is yet another strong sign, experts say, that the economic development of an increasingly ice-free Arctic is becoming a top priority of nations in the region and beyond. The Guardian
Senators to Examine Cuts to Wildfire Suppression, Prevention. With the peak wildfire season approaching, a Senate hearing Tuesday will investigate whether officials are sacrificing fire prevention to fight active blazes in the face of deep budget cuts. Sequestration has slashed Interior Department and the Forest Service firefighting accounts, leaving lawmakers from Western states and appropriators trying to determine how much they can reasonably boost those accounts in their spending bills. Congressional Quarterly
Rain Brings Relief from Interior Alaska Wildfires. Wildfires calmed down Sunday night and Monday after rain showers and cool weather moved in after a week of high temperatures and dry weather. But the respite will be brief. Warmer, drier weather is expected to return by Thursday and continue into the weekend. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
H.R. 2219, To reauthorize the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System (Young, introduced and referred to committee)
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.
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.
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.
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.