Executive Summary for January 27th

We review the latest Arctic news, including signs that the U.S. may keep a steady course in the Arctic under its new president, concerns that a U.S. agency’s climate change data may disappear and Norway’s plans for a post-oil future.

Published on Jan. 27, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Into the Unknown

There was one big question on the minds of those attending Norway’s Arctic Frontiers conference: What will Donald Trump’s U.S. presidency mean to the Arctic? The answer offered by one U.S. rep in attendance: “The truth is I don’t think anybody really knows yet.”

As Alaska Dispatch News reports, that was ventured by David Balton, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for oceans and fisheries and the current chairman of the Arctic Council’s Senior Arctic Officials group.

Balton did go on to offer this assurance: The U.S. goals and objectives in the Arctic – largely focused on Alaska – haven’t changed dramatically in the past 30 years, and he doesn’t expect any big policy shifts in the future, either. The impact of climate change on Alaska will also remain too important to ignore, Balton said.

EPA’s Climate Websites Safe for Now

The Trump administration appears to have backtracked on plans to remove climate change information from the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. Some worried researchers have backed up data to be safe.

Concerns have also been raised about how political appointees are expected to have more sway over how scientific findings are communicated to the public. As the Washington Post reports, such an effort to vet what researchers say could run afoul of the EPA’s policy of encouraging scientists to conduct their research “accurately, honestly, objectively, thoroughly, without political or other interference.” The policy also states that the EPA’s scientists can “freely exercise their right to express their personal views” as long as make it clear they aren’t speaking on behalf of the agency.

After the Last Oil

Norway is preparing to make big investments in research and development to prepare for the day when its offshore oil dries up.

Attendees of the Arctic Frontiers conference got a hint of what the country’s forthcoming oceans strategy will look like. Sustainable fisheries play a big role, reports Arctic Journal.

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