Alaska’s climate is changing. We know about warmer winters, melting glaciers and permafrost, we watch animals like salmon and Dall sheep struggle to keep up with changing habitat, we know about coastal erosion and community relocation, about warming oceans and drier summers. Alaskans know climate change because we are living it. These changes are happening more quickly than ever recorded. Elders observe that conditions are unlike even the oldest stories. Scientists conclude that the global climate is warming because of rising emissions of gases like carbon dioxide and methane (the consensus on this is similar to the consensus that cigarette smoke causes cancer). However, many in our state are struggling to connect the dots, and politicians are doing little to address this looming crisis.
This is not a left or right issue. It is about our way of life. Our campaign is working to develop non-partisan climate change resources to help our citizens recognize the scope of these changes and to see why they are driven primarily by human activity. We are working to inspire action toward climate change mitigation to preserve our beloved state of Alaska. Many of us feel powerless in the face of climate change. It's time we put our minds together and start working to confront the greatest threat humanity has ever faced.
As temperatures warm in the interior and Arctic, the number of wildfires increases. The fires destroy the lichens that caribou depend on for winter forage. These lichens do not grow back quickly and caribou are forced to move.
Watersheds that historically have been fed by deep snowpack are seeing fluctuations in their snowpack. When there’s not enough snow on the mountains, rivers run low in the summer and streams go dry the following summer. Alaska’s Permafrost
Over the past 60 years, the average temperature across Alaska has increased by approximately 3°F. This increase is more than twice the warming seen in the rest of the United States. This study concludes that climate change could add $5.6–$7.6 billion to the state budget from now to 2080.
Skeptics of man-made climate change offer various natural causes to explain why the earth has warmed 1.4° Fahrenheit since 1880. But can these account for the planet’s rising temperature? Click this link to see how much different factors, both natural and industrial contribute to global warming.
Renewable Energy Alaska Project’s (REAP) is working to increase the production of renewable energy in Alaska. Their work saves 30 million gallons of diesel and 25 million gallons heating oil per year statewide.
Climate change is going to be expensive. To account for added costs for things like road repair and harbor modifications, growing numbers of Republicans and Democrats support shifting taxes from income to fossil fuels. Tax the stuff that hurts you. This strategy is working in British Columbia and Denmark. Check out Citizens Climate Lobby to find out about a proposal for the USA.
There’s no one right way to take on this challenge. You might want to insulate your home or buy a more efficient stove. Start with a carbon calculator to find out what emissions you are responsible for. Then, check out Carbon Offsets to get the biggest bang for your buck.