Arctic Daily Update: May 22, 2013
The Senate will consider legislation to reauthorize farm, agriculture and conservation programs. The House will consider a Keystone XL pipeline approval measure and several items under suspension of the rules.
Coast Guard Releases its "Arctic Strategy." Yesterday morning the Commandant of the Coast Guard gave an address under the auspices of the Center for Strategic and International Studies at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. At the event, Admiral Papp announced the release of the Coast Guard's Arctic strategy. More information, and a link to that document, is available for download here.
Top House Republican Tells Navy to Scrap "Fantasy" Shipbuilding Plan. A top House Republican is demanding that the Navy face up to fiscal realities by overhauling its shipbuilding plan. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), the chairman of the House Armed Services seapower subcommittee, said the Navy is living in a "fantasy land" by putting forward a 30-year shipbuilding plan when the service can't guarantee funding beyond five years. The Hill
University of Alaska Plans Sequestration Strategy.When Carla Beam prepared a report on the so-called "fiscal cliff" for the University of Alaska Board of Regents in December, she found unexpected inspiration in a Looney Tunes clip. Wile E. Coyote's legs would keep churning in the old cartoons, whether he was running off a ledge or still had the ground beneath him. Today it looks like a good metaphor for UA, which will need to work harder to claim its share from a shrinking pool of federal dollars. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Cultures Collide in Bethel Court With Future of Kuskokwim Kings Hanging in Balance. The strangely cathartic business of assembly-line justice ground its way through a state court here Tuesday as one by one the defendants from last summer's fishery revolt on the Kuskokwim River appeared before a judge to say their piece and await their sentencing. Alaska Dispatch
FAA's Concerns Hold Up Use of Wildfire Drones. As wildfire season begins in Western landscapes that were covered in smoky haze for weeks at a time last summer, the federal government's firefighters are exploring the use of small remote-controlled drones with infrared cameras that could map a fire's size and speed, and identify hot spots, a particular danger. Anchorage Daily News
Captain: Winter Transit of Kulluk Across Gulf of Alaska was Possible. A vessel captain in charge of towing Shell's troubled oil drilling rig, the Kulluk, when it left a Seattle shipyard back in June said Tuesday that the gear was more than strong enough, the crews were qualified and that under the right conditions, a winter transit through the Gulf of Alaska could have been done safely. Anchorage Daily News
Nunavut Spending Far Less Than Yukon or Northwest Territories on Education. A report from Statistics Canada shows that the eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut spends significantly less on students than the Northwest Territories (NWT) or Yukon Territory. In the 2008-2009 school year, Nunavut spent $15,428 per student in kindergarten to grade 12. That's far above the Canadian average of $11,044, but also far below the amounts spent on students in NWT and Yukon. Governments there spent $22,784 and $19,499 per student, respectively. Alaska Dispatch
An Arctic Economic Boom? Not So Fast, Analysts Say. Two Finnish analysts warn that due to its enormous risks, the world's Arctic regions won't likely experience a big boom in shipping or gas and oil development any time soon. In the paper, published by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, analysts Harri Mikkola and Juha Käpylä say the popular image of the Arctic as a trove of wealth is sexed-up and over-hyped. Nunatsiaq Online
China Seeks to "Act in a Positive Way" Within the Arctic Council, Ambassadors Say. China plans to act as "a serious player and peaceful power" and "act in a positive way" as an observer at the Arctic Council, the Chinese ambassador to Finland Huang Xing told the Xinhua news agency. "I am pleased to learn the news that China has been accepted as a formal observer of this organization," Huang told Xinhua in an interview in Helsinki late May 17. Nunatsiaq Online
No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.
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."
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.