Today's Congressional Action:
The House and Senate are not in session.
Al Jazeera Documentary Tells Tale of Two Eroding Alaska Villages. The Alaska coastal villages of Kivalina and Newtok, under threat from erosion, are the subject of an Al Jazeera America documentary scheduled to air on Sunday.
Arctic Native Leaders: Paris Climate Agreement Didn't Address Indigenous Rights. Reggie Joule says the plan to reduce global greenhouse-gas emissions that emerged from the Paris climate talks last week didn't include some very important provisions. "We were definitely trying to get, in the binding part of the agreement, the recognition of the rights of indigenous people," said Joule, the mayor of Alaska's Northwest Arctic Borough. "And that did not make it in. And that was a little - that was disappointing." KAUC
Report to Congress on US Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization. Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The operational U.S. polar icebreaking fleet currently consists of one heavy polar icebreaker, Polar Star, and one medium polar icebreaker, Healy. A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Mission Need Statement (MNS) approved in June 2013 states that "current requirements and future projections ... indicate the Coast Guard will need to expand its icebreaking capacity, potentially requiring a fleet of up to six icebreakers (3 heavy and 3 medium) to adequately meet mission demands in the high latitudes.... " Congressional Research Service
Western Arctic Caribou Herd May No Longer be Alaska's Biggest. A caribou herd in northwestern Alaska has been the state's largest for several years, but its population is on a downward slide and now it may have lost that status. The Western Arctic Caribou Herd, which peaked in 2003 at 490,000 animals, is likely down to about 200,000 today, and some hunting restrictions could be in the offing, according to experts from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Alaska Dispatch News
Arctic Research Initiative Relies on Collaboration. As the international eye is focused on climate change in the Arctic, scientists, agencies and locals are coming together to form a large-scale observing network to get a better handle on when, where, and how the effects will be manifest. It's guided in part by the University of Alaska Fairbanks International Arctic Research Center through a program called the Study of Environmental Arctic Change, or SEARCH. Alaska Dispatch News
Arctic Reindeer Poo Acts a Flame Retardant. The study, recently published in the journal Chemosphere, is a reminder of how persistent flame retardants are in the environment, such that they can even reach some of the most remote and sparsely populated regions of the planet. The chemicals examined in the study are called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs. Discovery
Arctic Missing From Paris Climate Agreement. "(The agreement) was historic, yes," said Okalik Eegeesiak, chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), the organization that represents the world's approximately 155,000 Inuit living in Canada, Greenland, Russia and the United States. "(But) Inuit and Saami peoples wanted to have more recognition and respect for Arctic peoples," she said in a phone interview. "There is some mention of indigenous peoples and our rights and our role in climate change (issues) but there isn't much commitment to work with us." Radio Canada International
Friday, Congress passed legislation to continue to fund government operations.
"Arctic Matters" day at the National Academy of Sciences, January 14th, 2016 (Washington, DC, USA)This symposium is part of an ongoing initiative of the National Academies of Science Polar Research Board to expand public understanding of why the dramatic changes affecting the Arctic region ultimately matter to us all. The agenda features engaging presentations and discussions with top Arctic science and policy experts, and displays and interactive exhibits that illustrate Arctic change and its global impacts. The event is free and open to the public. There are sponsorship opportunities, and a call for exhibitor applications. Audience space is limited, so register today; and please encourage your friends, neighbors, and colleagues to participate-as our goal is to reach well beyond the small circle of specialists who typically attend Arctic-themed events in the DC area.
The U.S. Arctic Research Commission is the primary sponsor of this event.
** New this week** East-West Arctic Cooperation During Times of Global Tension, January 15, 2016.
Can the United States and its allies cooperate with Russia, China and other Asian nations during times of tense relations - or will cooperation on common interests in the Arctic succumb to the more familiar geopolitical tensions of the Cold War era? Stimson will host this event. Vice Admiral Charles Michel, the Vice Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, will deliver a keynote speech on the new Arctic Coast Guard Forum established to promote maritime safety and security cooperation in the Arctic. Following VAdm. Michel's presentation, a panel of experts will discuss the progress and challenges to future East-West cooperation in the Arctic region.
Building upon the preceding Arctic Encounter event in Paris, the third annual Arctic Encounter Symposium (AES) in Seattle, Washington will convene policymakers, industry leaders, and leading experts to confront the leading issues in Arctic policy, innovation, and development. The AES mission is to raise awareness, engage challenges, and develop solutions for the future of a region and a people. The two-day program includes two keynote luncheons, expert plenary sessions, break out sessions, a networking cocktail reception and seated dinner. A closing reception will take place at the conclusion of the program.
2016 Arctic Frontiers, January 24-29, 2015 (Tromso, Norway).The Arctic is a global crossroad between commercial and environmental interests. The region holds substantial natural resources and many actors are investigating ways to utilise these for economic gain. Others view the Arctic as a particularly pristine and vulnerable environment and highlight the need to limit industrial development. Arctic Frontiers 2016 will discuss the balance between resource utilisation and preservation, and between industrial and environmental interests in the Arctic. Envisioning a well-planned, well-governed, and sustainable development in the Arctic, how can improved Arctic stewardship help balance environmental concerns with industrial expansion? How can the industrial footprints from future business activities be minimised? And last, but not least, what role will existing and emerging technologies play in making industrial development profitable and environmentally friendly, securing a sustainable growth scenario for Arctic communities?
** New this week ** Alaska Forum on the Environment, February 8-12, 2016 (Anchorage, Alaska, USA).
The Alaska Forum on the Environment (AFE) is Alaska's largest statewide gathering of environmental professionals from government agencies, non-profit and for-profit businesses, community leaders, Alaskan youth, conservationists, biologists and community elders. The diversity of attendees and comprehensive agenda sets this conference apart from any other. Each year there are over 80 technical breakout sessions and sensational Keynote Events. There will be a full week of sessions on climate change, energy, environmental regulations, cleanup and remediation, fish & wildlife, solid waste, and more.
5th Annual Fletcher Opening Arctic Conference, March 12, 2016. The Opening Arctic Conference builds on the Fletcher School's Warming Arctic International Inquiry series, to bring together high-level thought leaders from across disciplines, Fletcher's hallmark. Staged annually, Fletcher's event continues to address the foreign policy, economic, environmental and security implications of the opening Arctic, while dispelling myths.
14th IATS Seminar, June 19-25, 2016 (Bergen, Norway). The University of Bergen (UiB) is honored to host the 14th IATS Seminar in Bergen, Norway, from Sunday 19 to Saturday 25 June 2016 in co-operation with the Network for University Co-operation Tibet-Norway, an academic network with the universities of Oslo, Bergen and Tromsø as partners. The convenor is Professor Hanna Havnevik, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo, and Chair of the Network. ** New this week** Alaska Rural Energy Conference, April 26-28, 2016 (Fairbanks, Alaska, USA). The Alaska Rural Energy Conference is a three day event offering a large variety of technical sessions covering new and ongoing energy projects in Alaska, as well as new technologies and needs for Alaska's remote communities. Building on the growing success, the Alaska Energy Authority and the Alaska Center for Energy and Power have joined forces again to organize and sponsor the 10th annual Alaska Rural Energy Conference.
ICETECH 2016, August 15-18, 2016 (Anchorage, Alaska, USA). The Arctic Section of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) together with Alaska's Institute of the North (ION) will host the International Conference and Exhibition on Performance of Ships and Structures in Ice (ICETECH 16), the premiere international conference on ships and structures in ice. The conference will take place in Anchorage starting with an opening icebreaker reception on the evening of Monday, August 15, and concluding in the afternoon on Thursday August 18, with a possible workshop on Arctic EER on Friday August 19.
Inuit traditions are a repository of Inuit culture and a primary expression of Inuit identity. The theme for the 2016 Inuit Studies Conference invites Elders, knowledge-bearers, researchers, artists, policy-makers, students and others to engage in conversations about the many ways in which traditions shape understanding, while registering social and cultural change. The institutional hosts of "Inuit Traditions," Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Nunatsiavut Government, invite you to contribute to an exchange of knowledge to be held in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, October 7-10, 2016. Presentations on all aspects of Inuit studies will be welcome.
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