Past Seminar

Shipping in the Arctic: Promise, Preparations, and Impacts

Oct 7, 2015 Resources for the Future, 1616 P St. NW, Washington, DC, 20036

About the Event

An RFF First Wednesday Seminar in collaboration with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

President Obama’s recent trip to Alaska and the State Department’s GLACIER conference put a spotlight on climate change issues in the Arctic. With sea ice melting, shipping in the region—particularly in the Northern Sea Route that travels through the Bering Strait—is expected to increase, bringing new challenges associated with noise and sonar, pollution, the introduction of invasive species, ship strikes, and coordination with local groups.

This RFF First Wednesday Seminar will focus on understanding the science behind increased shipping and the related impacts on marine life, ecosystems, and the communities that depend on them.

  • What do we know about the impacts of shipping on the marine environment?
  • How might these impacts be different in the changing Arctic environment?
  • How can these impacts be best mitigated?

An expert panel will also discuss ongoing efforts by the Obama administration to plan for increased shipping in the Arctic, including the Port Access Route Study and proposed two-way routing plan, nautical charting updates by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Coast Guard, and expansion of the port at Nome.



  • Lawson Brigham, Distinguished Professor of Geography and Arctic Policy, University of Alaska Fairbanks; Member of the Arctic Security Working Group, The Hoover Institution
  • Jeremy Goldbogen, Assistant Professor of Biology, Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University
  • Alan J. Krupnick, Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future
  • The Honorable Denise Michels, Mayor, City of Nome, Alaska
  • Captain Scott Smith, Chief, Office of Navigation Systems, United States Coast Guard