Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Alaska Permanent Fund Considers Fossil Fuel Divestment

In a historic move, the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC) Board of Trustees directed its staff to prepare an Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) Investment session for a future Board meeting.

The move comes in response to public testimony from former University of Alaska faculty Richard Steiner, who has long advocated for Fund divestment, and Ceal Smith, founder of the Alaska Climate Action Network (AK CAN!), speaking on behalf of the newly formed Coordinated Climate Action Work Group, a statewide grassroots coalition working to advance action on climate change.

Smith presented the petition (now signed by more than 300 Alaskan community leaders from every corner of the state), asking APFC to divest the Fund of its $5 billion in fossil fuel holdings.  The Coalition will continue to gather petition signatures and press Trustees until the Fund is fully divested. 

In addition to asking for divestment from fossil fuels, petitioners asked the Board to order an independent assessment of the performance of the Fund's fossil fuel holdings and their future prospects, to be presented in February 2018 at the next quarterly Trustee meeting in Juneau.

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation staff informed Rick Steiner of the boards request for the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Investment session in an email today.

"Some of us have been proposing this very thing to the APFC for 25 years, to no avail, until now.   This is the first such step ever taken by the Alaska Permanent Fund, and is truly an exciting development" said Steiner.  "This clearly isn't everything 200 Alaskans asked for yesterday, but it represents a potential sea change in the investment approach for the Alaska Permanent Fund", he said.

"That the Alaska Fund has taken this small step today represents a quantum leap in the Fund's appreciation for the real world of socially responsible investing, as it is growing around the world, and hopefully in the Fund's future approach to investing.  This is one small step for the Alaska Permanent Fund, one giant leap for responsible investment and a sustainable future", said Steiner.

"The risk is clear", said Smith.  "Global energy markets are rapidly shifting in favor of renewable energy, Paris Accord commitments are kicking in and the very real and worsening effects of climate change that threaten to wash away Alaska's coastal communities at any moment, are constant reminders that its time for Alaska to stop investing in fossil fuels.  We are encouraged that the Trustees have listened to Alaskans.   This is a historic first step in what we hope is a swift path to divesting the Nations largest Sovereign Wealth Fund, Alaska's Permanent Fund's fossil fuel holdings."

In response, the group recommends that the Alaska Fund consult with the Norway Funds Council on Ethics in developing the Environmental and Social Governance session for the Alaska Permanent Fund Trustees.  According to Steiner, "The much larger Norway oil Fund ($1 trillion) has had an ethical screening process for its investments for many years, and it has divested many holdings due to social or environmental harm".

Learn more on Environmental, Social and Governance Investing here, here, and here.

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

Alaska Permanent Fund Trustees: It's time to divest from dirty fossil fuels!

Alaskans have been calling for divestment of the Permanent Fund from fossil fuels for more than 25 years.  Fund managers have rejected citizen appeals on the grounds that the Fund is strictly mandated to maximize return on investment. 

Explosive growth in renewable energy, volatile but downward trending oil and natural gas prices and Paris Accord commitments are strong indicators that the era of fossil energy is coming to a close; investing in fossil fuels is increasingly high risk and already costing Alaskan’s millions in lost Fund revenue annually. 

The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund - the $1 trillion Norway Fund – is currently exploring divestment of its $37 billion oil and gas holdings, based “exclusively on financial arguments”.  The Bank of France and other major financial institutions are doing the same.  It’s time for Alaska to follow suit.

Tell Alaska’s Permanent Fund Corporation managers it’s time to divest Alaska’s Permanent Fund from high-risk fossil fuel investments. This petition will be presented to the Board of Trustees at their Dec. 12, 20117 meeting in Anchorage.

Click HERE to read the full letter and sign the petition, thanks! 

 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"Governor Walker: take action on Climate Crisis! Alaska groups Call on Walker to Join Bonn Pledge to Stem Carbon

Dear Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Mallott,

We are a working group of concerned Alaskans who have come together to advance climate justice, clean energy, and the retooling of our economy for the betterment of all Alaskans and the biosphere that supports us. Collectively, we represent communities all across the state, from the North Slope,  Southcentral, to Southeast and many points between.

We are encouraged by your recent appointment of Dr. Nikoosh Carlo as your Senior Climate Advisor and announcement of the Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team. These are important steps in the right direction of addressing climate change in our state.

In a recent press release, you acknowledged that Alaska is "ground-zero for climate change”.  We are grateful that you understand the profound impacts ever-increasing levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has on our people, economy, human-health, salmon and other wildlife, and the very survival of thousands of our residents who live in vulnerable coastal Alaskan communities and our unique way of life.

As thousands of dignitaries gather from around the world to solidify commitments to the Paris Accord in Bonn Germany this week, we are thus, very disappointed that there is no official representation for Alaska given the profound impacts of climate change on our state.

As we draft this letter, communities on the North Slope, from Utqiagvik (Barrow) to Shishmaref, are under emergency storm warnings as record high waves pummel their roads, homes and schools – the first of possibly many storms to hit the still ice-free coast this winter. That this single storm caused more than $10 million in damages is underscored by your subsequent emergency order.

Eben Hopson — grandson of Eben Hopson Senior, who famously helped draft ANCSA and breathed life to the Inuit Circumpolar Council—has created a short film titled simply, “Climate Change.” His film documents some of the changes currently affecting his community of Utqiagvik. We hope you will view it.

Much fanfare has been made about your recent trip to China to negotiate a potential joint development agreement on the liquefied natural gas project. We understand that until we have viable alternatives, Alaska will continue to be dependent on fossil fuel to generate revenue for government services. We also understand that energy markets are shifting rapidly in response to new climate-sensitive signals emanating from the Paris Accord and the rapid growth of cost competitive renewable energy technologies.

Many experts, including the renowned energy expert and physicist, Amory Lovins, predict that by 2050 fossil fuels will be largely replaced by renewable energy.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is also clear that our window of opportunity to avoid 2 degrees Celsius warming requires we reach net-zero emissions globally by 2050.

With appropriate measures to manage methane released during production and a plan to systematically draw down production between now and 2050, we believe Alaska can make a smooth transition to a diverse, clean energy-based economy.  A fair share production tax on proceeds from our relatively “clean” known conventional gas reserves combined with targeting low-carbon markets, (such as those emerging in California and EU) will give Alaskans the most return on the resource that will enable us to finance a smooth and just transition.

According to the McGlade and Ekins ground-breaking study, we must draw down our known reserves and commit to no new oil, gas (and of course coal) development in Alaska, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, National Petroleum Reserve, and (especially) offshore oil exploration.

First and foremost, Alaska must stop subsidizing fossil fuel exploration, production and transportation and require industry to pay its fair share, including the cost of mitigating climate change impacts and transitioning our economy.  The LNG plan you have put forth to the Alaskan people is worrisome as it requires a $45-65 billion investment for transportation, before even a molecule of gas flows to market.  Such a tremendous debt would require indefinite expansion of oil and gas, certainly beyond 2050.

Given the inevitable eclipse of fossil fuels on the global market, we believe this level of investment is too risky to the State’s long-term economic health. We propose the state explore more cost effective transportation options, such as far less costly rail system that offers benefits beyond merely moving gas from the North Slope.

We urge you to make an equally strong commitment to fighting climate change as you have to procuring more fossil fuel contracts and begin systematically transitioning Alaska away from a fossil-fuels dependent economy.  We ask that you officially join, and commit with the strength and conviction that Alaskans deserve, the US Climate Alliance to solidify your commitment to the Paris Accord.  Lastly, we urge you to begin a serious exploration of new, innovative ways for Alaska to underwrite its transition to a clean, resilient and renewable future.

The time has come for Alaskans to work together to fight climate change, defend our way of life and embolden the industries of the future.

Sincerely,

1) Ceal Smith, Director, Alaska Climate Action Network, Coordinated Climate Action Working Group, Chair, Alaska Climate Caucus, Eagle River, AK

2) Bjorn Olson, Director, Alaskans Know Climate Change, Coordinated Climate Action Working Group, Homer, AK

3) Eban Hobson, Coordinated Climate Action Working Group, Utquiagvik, AK

4) Qaiyaan Harcharek, Coordinated Climate Action Working Group, Utquiagvik, AK 

5) Roberta Highland, President, Kachemak Bay Conservation Society, Homer, AK

6) Elisabeth Dabney, Executive Director, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Fairbanks, AK

7) Maia Mares, Sitka Conservation Society, Sitka, AK

8) Brandon Hill, Alaska Rising Tide, Homer, AK

9) Satchel Pondolfino, Cook Inletkeeper, Homer, AK 

10) Willy Dunne, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, Fritz Creek, AK

11) Robbi Marie, Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges, Homer, AK 

12) Scott Gruhn, Coordinated Climate Action Working Group, Alaska Climate Action Network, Anchorage, AK 

13) Soren Werth, Alaska Climate Education Project, Coordinated Climate Action Working Group, Girdwood, AK

14) Brent Watkins, Alaska Climate Caucus, Coordinated Climate Action Working Group, Kodiak, AK 

15) Eric Schaetle, Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, Coordinated Climate Action Working Group, Fairbanks, AK

16) Stephen Arturo Greenlaw, Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, Fairbanks, AK

17) Jackie Qatalina Schaeffer, Shishmaref, AK

18) Kendra Zamzow, Chickaloon, AK

19) McKibben Jackinski, Author, "Too Close to Home", Nikiski, AK

20) Sandy Harper, Alaska Climate Action Network, Anchorage, AK

21) Kerry Williams, Alaska Climate Action Network, Eagle River, AK

22) Shelley Gill, Homer, AK

23) Joni Bruner, Alaska Grassroots Alliance, Anchorage, AK

24) Jenna Schnuer, Alaskans Stronger Together, (5500 strong/Alaska wide) 

25) Jake Magoon, District 10 Democrats, Wasilla, AK

26) Shauna Thornton, Coordinated Climate Action Working Group, Alaska Climate Caucus, Sitka, AK

27) Pamela Miller, Executive Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Anchorage, AK

28) Jessica Thornton, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Anchorage, AK

29) Danielle Redmond, Coordinator, Renewable Juneau, Juneau, AK

30) Zachary Brown, Founding Director, Inian Islands Institute, Gustavus, AK

31) Elaine Schroeder, 350Juneau - Climate Action for Alaska, Juneau, AK

32) Patricia O'Brian, SE President, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Juneau, AK

33) Jim & Suzanne Kowalsky, Chair, Alaskans for Wildlife, Fairbanks, AK Climate change already has, and will continue to have, dramatic negative consequences for Alaskan wildlife, marine and terrestrial, as it will have upon wildlife worldwide.  This  impact will translate to a negative impact upon Alaska’s long range economic future as well.  We must, here in Alaska and elsewhere, immediately and earnestly pursue development of renewable fuels to replace carbon based fuels.

34) Christine Wilcox, Spruce Tip Farm and Nursery, Anchorage, AK

35) Dulse Ben-East-, Alaska Wild Harvest, LLC, Palmer, AK

36) Susie Sillook, Gambell, AK  There is a strong need to begin the process of adaptation to the current and projected and likely changes around food security, subsistence economy, and shorelines disappearing. It's already here, Alaskans know that, especially in remote areas.

37) Susan Todd, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Vice-chair, Alaska Climate Caucus, Fairbanks, AK

38) Libby Roderick, Musician, Anchorage, AK

39) Marybeth Holleman, Author, Anchorage, AK

40) Shoshanah Stone, Indivisible Alaska, Anchorage, AK 

41) Alfredo Bolivar, Anchorage, AK  

42) Jan Bronson, Alaska Friends Conference (Quakers), Anchorage, AK

43) Lauren Henry, People POWer, Craig, AK

44) Jamie Rodriguez, Anchorage, AK 

45) Charles Rodriguez, Anchorage, AK

46) Lacey Rodriguez, Anchorage, AK 

47) Kristen Collins, Coordinated Climate Action Working Group, Alaska Center, Anchorage, AK

48) Polly Carr, Executive Director, Alaska Center, Anchorage, AK

49) Mark Gutman, Talkeetna, AK

50) Bhree Roumagoux, Alaska Climate Action Network, Anchorage, AK 

51) Elizabeth Flodin, Romig Middle School, Anchorage, AK 

52) Janeen Herr, Anchorage, AK 

53) Amy Christiansen, Homer, AK

54) Chelsea Vukovich, Anchorage, AK

55) Nadia Bacon, Fairbanks, AK 

56) Samantha Decker, Eagle River, AK

57) Mark Houston, The Comforts of Home, LLC, Anchorage, AK 

58) Sara Dykstra, Anchorage, AK

59) Nancy Caudill , Anchorage, AK

60) Delia Vargas Kretsinger, Fairbanks, AK 

61) Karen Deatherage, Anchorage, AK

62) Jill Wittenbrader, Attorney, Kodiak, AK

63) Jeremy Pataky, Author, Anchorage, AK

64) Kari Gardey, Anchorage, AK 

65) Bill Sherwonit, Anchorage, AK

66) Betty Bang, Anchorage, AK

67) Barbara Hood, Anchorage, AK

68) Jeff Fair, Author, In Wild Trust, Palmer, AK   

69) Mark Luttrell, Seward, AK

70) Rick James, Wasilla, AK

71) Mary McCarthy, Soldotna, AK

72) Kim & Melanie Heacox, Gustavus, AK

73) Cindy Kinard, Retiree: Corp of Engineers USAF, FAA, Anchorage, AK

74) Wray Kinard, Retiree: DOD, APD, Neighborworks Alaska, Anchorage, AK

75) Catherine Coward, Anchorage, AK  

76) Ann McKay Bryson, Anchorage, AK 

77) Scott Maxwell, Anchorage, AK

78) Susan Olsen, Anchorage, AK 

79) Carol Hult, Kodiak, AK

80) Sarah Hayes, Healy, AK

81) Birgit Hagendorn, PhD, Anchorage, AK 

82) Breanna Peterson, Kodiak, AK

83) Michelle Schuman, Ecologist, Sutton, AK

84) Helen Nienhuese, Coauthor, 55 Ways to the Wilderness in Southcentral Alaska, Anchorage, AK

85) Dave Cannon, Aniak, AK

86) Tom Meacham, Natural Resources Attorney, Anchorage, AK 

87) Jan Myers, Anchorage, AK

88) Maryann Ray, Juneau, AK

89) Clare M. Hiratsuka, Anchorage, AK

90) Barbara Brease, Healy, AK

91) Heather Evoy, Tsimshian, Juneau, AK

92) Frances Inoue, Anchorage, AK 

93) David Braun, Healy, AK

94) Doug Molyneaux, Anchorage, AK

95) Laura Marcus, PhD student, Stanford University, Gustavus, AK  

96) Patricia Gibbs, Kodiak, AK

97) Amy Dalton, Alaska Huts, Anchorage, AK

98) James Apone, Anchorage, AK 

99) Virginia Moore, Homer, AK

100) Haylee Gilmore, Homer, AK

101) Morgan McBride, Homer, AK

102) Kathleen Eagle, Homer, AK

103) David Lofton, Homer, AK

104) Nicole Arevglo, Homer, AK

105) Heather Johnson, Homer, AK

106) Alayne Tetor, Homer, AK

107) Patricia Cue, Homer, AK

108) Charles Trowbridge, Homer, AK

109) Jim Stearns, Homer, AK

110) Martha Krohn, Homer, AK

111) Kate Firen, Homer, AK

112) Morika Movn, Homer, AK

113) Bud Johnson, Homer, AK

114) Art Koeninger, Homer, AK

115) Kim McNett, Homer, AK









 
  

Friday, August 18, 2017

Climate Change 101: a panel discussion moderated by Fran Ulmer

A timely special event at “Crossroads: There is No Planet B”, an art installation at Side Street Espresso, 412 G Street, Anchorage, AK.

Thursday, August 24th from 5:00p-7:00p

Distinguished Alaskan Fran Ulmer has played many roles in service to the people of Alaska—from Lieutenant Governor to Mayor of Juneau to Chancellor of UAA.   Ulmer has had global influence on issues relating to the Arctic and recently stepped down as the Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission.

Panel Members:

Ilarion Merculieff

Merculieff had a traditional upbringing and a Western education, earning a BA from the University of Washington.  He has served as Chair of the Indigenous Knowledge Sessions of the Global Summit of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change.  He has also served as co-founder of the Indigenous Peoples Council for Marine Mammals, the Alaska Forum for the Environment, the International Bering Sea Forum, and the Alaska Oceans Network.  Merculieff is currently the President of the Global Center for Indigenous Leadership and Life Ways.

Yereth Rosen

Rosen was born and raised in Washington, DC and came to Alaska in 1987 to work for The Anchorage Times.  After the grounding of the Exxon Valdez, she started stringing for Rutgers and that turned into a full-time job she has held for more than twenty years.  In 2013, she started working at The Alaska Dispatch in what was then a newly-created job: Arctic Editor and reporter.  She has since reported for the Bureau of National Affairs (now known as Bloomberg BNA), the Christian Science Monitor, and a number of magazines.  Rosen has a BA in History and Economics from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the University of Colorado.  No science degrees, but she did take a lot of math courses!  She was a Journalism Fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado and the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island.

George Donart

Donart is the Citizen Climate Lobby Anchorage group leader, as well as Alaska State Coordinator for Citizens Climate Lobby.  As a commercial fisherman in western Alaska, Donart has long been concerned about the effect that oceanic acidification and climate change have had on salmon and those who rely on them.  He is also a retired teacher.  In his life, he has planted 330,000 trees and counting!  The Citizen Climate Lobby is a national non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting a carbon-fee and dividend solution that has broad-based support among economists and policy analysts.  Both climate scientists and economists say is this plan is the best first step to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic climate change from global warming.

Dr. Travis Rector

Rector is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UAA.  Dr. Rector was instrumental in designing UAA’s planetarium and visualization theatre.  He teaches about climate change in several of his classes, including the physics behind why it is happening, how we know it is happening, and how we know it is being caused by human activity.

Ceal Smith

Smith has worked as a field biologist, writer, environmental compliance expert, researcher, energy and climate policy analyst and organizer since the mid-1990s.  She is Chair of the Alaska Climate Caucus and founded the grassroots Alaska Climate Action Network (AKCAN!) in 2014 to work on climate and energy issues on the front lines.  She has an MSci in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona and a BA in Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy from UC Santa Cruz.  Smith was recognized as a Credo Climate Hero in 2015.

All panelists are available for interviews.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

It's time for Alaska to reckon with the end of fossil fuel era.

Interior Secretary Zinke’s recent tour of Alaska and the filing of a permit to drill “a giant area in the Susitna Basin[1]” are just the latest news sparking debate about Alaska’s energy future.

25 MW Eva Creek Wind, Alaska biggest wind project, Healy, AK
What is not news is that our climate is rapidly warming [2] and Alaska's Arctic twice as fast as the global average [3].  Or the piles of climate science studies that say we must curtail burning fossil fuels by 2050 to avoid catastrophic warming [4].  Or that much of the world is committed to sharp reductions in fossil fuel use [5].

None of this will change even with the Trump administration renegeing on the Paris Agreement [6] or attempts to open every corner of the earth to oil and gas drilling.

Even if climate change wasn't biting us, Alaska would do well to acknowledge the shift in global energy markets that is signaling an end to the fossil fuel era.  According to the International Energy Agency, more than 50% of all new net electricity generation was from renewable sources in 2015 [7].  That's still Just a fraction of our total energy output but renewables are growing exponentially and expected to explode in the mid 2030’s. Solar and wind are now cheaper [8] and support more jobs [9] than coal, gas and oil globally. Transportation will be largely electrified by 2030 [10]. Many towns and even countries have 100% renewable energy targets, including some major US cities [10b].

The best move Alaska could make would be to sell its remaining known conventional gas from Pt. Thompson to emerging low-carbon energy markets and leave the rest in the ground.  California [11] and the European Union [12] cap and trade programs pay premium carbon credits for low-carbon, conventional oil and gas.

New oil and gas fields require unconventional extraction methods like high-volume slick water hydraulic fracturing (aka "Fracking") that are expensive, toxic and carbon intensive.  According to industry, new fields require “five to 10 years before oil flows with permitting requirements, limited work seasons and other challenges” [13].  By the time oil and gas from these wells gets to market, renewables will be even more competitive as costs continue to plummet [14].

With foresight and a smart marketing strategy, proceeds from Alaskas low-carbon, conventional gas fields could be used to finance our 20-30 year transition to a sustainable, clean and diversified economy.   But first we must reckon with the reality that demand for fossil fuels will steadily shrink to a fraction of its current level by 2050.

Two key questions Alaskans deserve answers to from those pushing evermore fossil fuel development:

(1) how many $ billions in subsidies will we have to throw at the oil and gas industry to develop new fields in the Susitna Basin (or Cook Inlet, ANWR, NPR, Arctic Ocean or the North Slope), and

(2) given the high probability that demand for oil and gas is going to steadily shrink, can we afford the risk?

View this in Arctic Now
View this in Anchorage Dispatch News

By Ceal Smith.  Founder, Alaska Climate Action Network (AK CAN!) and Chair, Alaska Climate Caucus. 

References

[1] Alex DeMarban, State considers opening land near Talkeetna and Willow for oil and gas exploration, Alaska Daily News, May 30, 2015.
[2] The World Bank, Climate Change
[3] Alaska Climate Research Center
[4] McGlade & Ekins. The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2degreesC. Nature.
[5] Wikipedia, Paris Agreement.
[6] Associated Press. Trump, EPA chief meet ahead of decision on climate change. May 30, 2017. 
[7] Adam Vaugn, The Guardian.
[8] Zachary Shahan. Low Costs of Solar Power & Wind Power Crush Coal, Crush Nuclear, & Beat Natural Gas. CleanTechnica, Dec. 25, 2016.
[9] Allen Hoffman.  For Job Creation, Investing In Renewable Energy Beats Fossil Fuels.  May 28, 2017.
[10] Tony Seba.  Clean Disruption (2015).
[10b).  Gilpin, Lyndsey.  Large or small, cities' 100% renewable energy pledges are more than symbolic . Southeast Energy News, May 22, 2017. 
[11] State of California Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
[12] The EU Emissions Trading System.
[13] Alex DeMarban, Caelus claims Arctic oil discovery that could rank among Alaska’s biggest ever.  Anchorage Daily News, Oct. 5, 2016
[14] International Renewable Energy Agency.  Dramatic Price Drops For Solar & Wind Electricity Set To Continue.  Jun. 15, 2016. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Open Letter of Support for HB173 establishing a Climate Change Response Commission

We, the undersigned urge you to support HB173[1], establishing a Climate Change Response Commission through a small surcharge on oil produced in Alaska.

Climate change is impacting Alaska profoundly and at an alarming rate. Rising temperatures twice exceeding lower latitudes[2] are triggering cascading effects[3], including large scale coastal flooding and erosion, permafrost melt, the dramatic retreat of glacial and sea ice, ocean acidification and marked increases in the scale, frequency and intensity of wildfires. Other impacts include an increase in toxic algae blooms, shifting fisheries, invasive species and landscape scale ecological changes. Cumulatively, these effects are threatening Alaska’s public health, subsistence life-ways, infrastructure and economy.

Alaskans know climate change[4]. We have deep connections to the land and sea that extend back many generations. While we are accustomed to the vagaries of extreme seasonal weather patterns and natural fluctuations, the changes Alaskans now see are unprecedented even in the oral history of Alaska Natives[5].

The trends are not encouraging. Every year since 2014 has been record-breaking. This fall temperatures soared 20 degrees Celsius (34 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal across large stretches of the Arctic Ocean[6]. At least 14 communities around the state recorded their highest average temperatures ever[7].

The failure to act on climate change is hurting Alaskans. Below are some, but certainly not all of the ways climate change is affecting our people, communities and environment:

Nearly 15 years ago the General Accounting Office reported that flooding and coastal erosion threatens 184 out of 213 or 86% of Alaska’s Native villages[8]. Kivalina, Koyukuk, Newtok and Shishmaref are in "imminent danger” and still, no action has been taken

Glaciers across Alaska are melting and reducing in mass, including Eklutna glacier that provides municipal water and hydropower for our most populous city, Anchorage. Recent studies predict that Eklutna could disappear this century or sooner[9]

Arctic sea ice reached a record minimum for the third straight year and the lowest maximum in the 38-year satellite record, on March 7th of this year[10]. Increased wind and waves, thinning ice, Polar bear behavior changes and increased shipping activity are having profound effects on Alaska’s coastal communities

Warmer, more acidic, less oxygen-rich waters along the West Coast have increased the occurrence of harmful algal blooms, affecting shellfish harvests and possibly causing the largest marine-mammal[11] and seabird mortality events ever recorded in the state[12]

A marked increase in the frequency, intensity and scale of wildfires. More than 5 million acres burned in 2015, destroying a main buffer against climate change: the carbon-rich boreal forests, tundra and permafrost that serve as vital carbon sinks[13]

Significant infrastructure (building, airport, railroad and pipeline) damage from near-surface permafrost thaw that could cost the state $5.5 billion this century[14]

Hundreds of thousands of caribou, musk ox, moose and ice seals perished when unseasonal rain-on-snow locked browse beneath a layer of ice and destroyed snowy nursery lairs needed for survival[15]

The evidence is clear and overwhelming and now is the time for action. HB 173 will restart the important work of the State in addressing climate change, financed appropriately by the industry that has benefited the most from its cause: the production and burning of fossil fuel[16].

Given the scale and intensity of impacts, the small $0.02 surcharge per barrel of oil produced on State lands proposed by HB173, while an important start, isn’t sufficient to support the work that is needed to fully address climate change issues in Alaska. We urge you to make the following amendments:

1. Direct the Commission to prepare a comprehensive Alaska Climate Change Adaptation Plan and detailed implementation timeline within 2 years,

2. Expand Commission representation to include three NGO representatives with expertise in climate change and one member each from Fairbanks Borough, Denali Borough, Southeast Fairbanks census area and Yukon-Koyukuk census area,

3. Convene an annual statewide conference on climate change,

4. Increase the per barrel surcharge to $0.50 in ensure that the Commission has the capacity to fulfill its directives. The proposed $0.02 surcharge is wholly insufficient.

State action on climate change is long overdue. HB173 is a small, but extremely necessary step to head off enormous impacts to all sectors of Alaska’s economy. If we act decisively now, Alaska can not only avert the worst case scenarios, we can spark innovation across the state and drive a new energy transition that paves the way to a sustainable future for Alaskans.

We urge you to support, expand and build on this important legislation, posthaste.

Sincerely,

Letter and signatures 1-170 were submitted to the legislature on May 3, 2017.  We will continue to add signatures until the HB173, or a better bill, is successfully passed.  

There are 3 ways to add your signature to the letter:

1) Post your preferred name, affiliation, town, zip and any remarks you'd like to make in the comments below, 
2) If you don't have a google account, or this isn't working for some reason, send your preferred name, affiliation, town, zip and any remarks you'd like to make in an email to: ceal at theriver dot com 
3) Lastly, you can send your preferred name, affiliation, town, zip and any remarks you'd like to make in a message to Ceal Smith on Facebook.  

Many thanks to everyone!  We will continue to remind our state elected representatives that the time has come for action on climate change in Alaska. 



1.     Ceal Smith, Chair, AK Climate Caucus/Founder, AK Climate & Energy Action Network (AK CLEAN), Eagle River, AK      99577
2.     Bjorn Olsen, Alaskans Know Climate Change Education Campaign, Kachemak Bay Conservation Society, Homer, AK.  For a state warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the US, it seems entirely unreasonable to not have a branch of government following, studying, and advising on climate change.
3.     Mark Gutman, Chukchi Sea Watch, Talkeetna, AK 99676
4.     Danielle Redman, Renewable Juneau, Juneau, AK
5.     Tristan Glowa, Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, Fairbanks, AK
6.     Eric Schaetzle, AK CLEAN/Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, Fairbanks, AK 99708
7.     Kerry Williams, Vice Chair, Alaska Climate Caucus/AK CLEAN, Eagle River, AK
8.     Princess Lucaj, Fairbanks, AK
9.     Callan Chythlook Sifsok, Girdwood, AK  99587
10.  Martha Itta, Tribal Administrator, Native Village of Nuiqsut, AK
11.  Wilson Justin, AK Climate Caucus, Chistochina, AK 99586
12.  Kendra Zamzow,  Chickaloon, AK  99674 Governor Walker should directly appoint a science-policy advisor with strong understanding of the drivers and impacts of climate change on Alaska to be an official advisor to him within the office of the Governor. I support HB173 as an addition to a Governor's advisor.
13.  Margaret Stock, Attorney, Cascadia Cross Border Law Group, Anchorage, AK
14.  Brent Watkins, Vice Chair Alaska Democrats, member DNC, AK Climate Caucus, Kodiak, AK 99615
15.  D’Arcy Hutchings, AK Climate Caucus, Anchorage, AK 99508
16.  Pamela Miller, Ex Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Anchorage, AK 99508
17.  Libby Roderick, Turtle Island Records, Anchorage, AK  99508
18.  Caroline Cannon, AK CLEAN, Point Hope, AK
19.  Nick Moe, Spenard, AK  99503
20.  Rev. Dr. Curtis Karns, Presbytery of Yukon, Eagle River, AK  99577
21.  Vick Briggs, Alaska Food Policy Council, King Salmon, AK  99613
22.  Cynthia Wentworth, Passenger Rail for Commuters, Anchorage, AK 99540 
23.  Alyson Pytte, 49 Moons, Anchorage, AK
24.  Malinda Chase, AK CLEAN, Fairbanks, AK  99708
25.  Shoshanah Stone, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK
26.  Susan Sommer, Alaskans Stronger Together, Palmer, AK
27.  Cameron Cowles, Our Revolution Alaska, AK
28.  Joshua Spring, AK Climate Caucus, Alaska Young Dem Volunteer Corp, Anchorage, AK
29.  Pete LaFrance, Palmer City Council, Palmer, AK  99645
30.  Stephen Greenlaw, Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, Fairbanks, AK  99708
31.  Cindee Karnes, Cold Climate Permaculture, Eagle River, AK 99577
32.  Brandon Nakasato, AK Climate Caucus, Anchorage, AK
33.  Dave Musgrave, Indivisible Alaska, Palmer, AK
34.  Chase Stoudt, Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, Fairbanks, AK  99708
35.  Kate Smith-Utley, AK Climate Caucus, Fairbanks, AK  99708
36.  Patricia Rivera, Institute of Marine Science, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK  99709
37.  Susan Todd, AK Climate Caucus, Fairbanks, AK  99709
38.  Deirdre Coval, AK Climate Caucus, Soldotna, AK
39.  Scott Maxwell, AK Climate Caucus, Anchorage, AK 
40.  Dave Scott, AK CLEAN, AK Climate Caucus, Auke Bay, AK 
41.  Ed Wesley, Anchorage, AK  99501
42.  Derek Reed, Anchorage Democrats President, AK Climate Caucus, Anchorage, AK  99504
43.  Elizabeth Manning, 907 Hub, Anchorage, AK 99501
44.  Kevin D. McGee, NAACP, Anchorage, AK  99504.  "We have but one earth, stop the rush to destroy it"
45.  Sally Russell Cox, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK
46.  Kathleen Menke, AK CLEAN, Haines, AK  99827
47.  Alfredo Bolivar, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK
48.  Katie Kennedy, Save the Kenai, Ninilchik, AK 99639.  Given the accelerated rate of methane gas from melting permafrost, loss of ice fields and glaciers, it makes sense for Alaska to be a leading scientific state on climate change.  We need to stop extraction of fossil fuels to achieve this goal and be leaders on the most important topic of our time.
49.  Amy Christiansen, AK CLEAN, Homer, AK
50.  Cyndy Earnshaw, AK CLEAN, Eagle River, AK  99577
51.  McKibben Jackinsky, AK CLEAN, Homer, AK  99603
52.  Robin Solfisburg, Take Action Skagway, Skagway, AK
53.  Philip-Robin Clark, Take Action Skagway, Skagway, AK
54.  Judy Williams, March on Alaska, Eagle River, AK
55.  Chris Prussing, AK CLEAN, Juneau, AK
56.  Donna Marie, Alaskans Stronger Together/Indivisible Alaska, Wasilla, AK  99654
57.  Lila Vogt, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK 99517 Lifetime Alaskan
58.  Lydia Darby, Anchorage, AK  99503
59.  Oliver Schiess, AK Climate Caucus, Eagle River, AK  99577
60.  Constance Fredenberg, Palmer, AK
61.  Andria Bond, AK CLEAN, Salcha, AK
62.  Jill Missal, Anchorage, AK
63.  Stacy Koster, Wasilla, AK
64.  Suzanne McCausland, AK.  Climate change is threatening our children, and grandchildren. We must take responsibility and action now.
65.  April Wisebaker, Alaskans Stronger Together, Anchorage, AK
66.  Christina Peterson, Fairbanks, AK.  I'd like to see us pursue an industry for Climate study in Alaska, as well as renewable and independent energy production.
67.  Cheryl Lovegreen, Indivisible Alaska, Anchorage, AK
68.  Anke Kelly, Indivisible Alaska, Anchorage, AK
69.  Chandra McGee, Indivisible Alaska, Fairbanks, AK
70.  Anne Green, Indivisible Alaska, Anchorage, AK
71.  Amy Dalton, Alaskans Stronger Together, Anchorage, AK
72.  Amy Jackson, Concerned Citizen, Kenai, AK  99611
73.  Wendy Alward, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK  99508
74.  David Cheezem, Co-owner Fireside Books, Palmer, AK
75.  Chelsea Vukovich, Alaskans Stronger Together, Anchorage, AK
76.  Barbara McDaniel, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK
77.  Leanna Heffner, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK
78.  Bhree Roumagoux, 907 Hub, Anchorage, AK
79.  Sonja Barnard, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK  99507
80.  Tracy Anna Bader, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK 99515
81.  Tyler Fox, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK 99577
82.  Rosemary Reynolds, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK 99515
83.  Courtney Brown, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK 99508
84.  Alex Lopez, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK 99505
85.  Lesa Hollen, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK  99505
86.  Patrick Hanson, AK Standing Up, Gustavus, AK  99826
87.  Tricia Elliott, Indivisible Alaska, Anchorage, AK 99516
88.  Sandra Calvillo, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK  99504
89.  Barbara Johnson, Indivisible Alaska, Chugiak, AK  99567
90.  Dana Markey, Alaskan Native, MS  64040
91.  Judy Macnak, Renewable Juneau, Juneau, AK  99801
92.  Michelle Schmidt, Alaskans Stronger Together, Anchorage 99502
93.  Stacey Fritz, AK CLEAN, Fairbanks, AK
94.  Denise Atwood, Alaskans Stronger Together, Seward, AK  99664
95.  Simon Vansintjan, Take Action Skagway, Skagway, AK  99840
96.  Donna Braendel, AK CLEAN, Chickaloon, AK  99674
97.  Danielle Stickman, Eagle River, AK  99577
98.  Breanna Walker, Student, University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau, AK 99801
99.  Katie McCaffrey, Geography & Environmental Studies, University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau, AK 99801
100.        Camilla Hussein, AK CLEAN, University of Anchorage, Eagle River, AK
101.        Ali Stover, University of Anchorage, Anchorage, AK  99502
102.        Kelly Musgraves, North Pole, AK  99705
103.        Liliane Ulukivaiola, engineering student, University of Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK  99504
104.        Sylvester D. Mazen Jr., Homer, AK 99603
105.        Catherine Shenk, Anchorage, AK  99501
106.        Randi Gill, AK Climate Caucus, Anchorage, AK 99502
107.        Sharon Alden, Fairbanks, AK  99712
108.        Sean McGuire, Fairbanks, AK 99712
109.        Rocco Haro, University of Anchorage, Anchorage, AK  99515
110.        Celia Crossett, Alaskans Stronger Together, Anchorage, AK  99507.  It’s important to fund good evidence-based climate practices.  Please support this initiative!
111.        Susan C. Klein, Anchorage, AK  99508
112.        Antonia Fiflis-Fowler, Anchorage, AK  99507
113.        Mari Jamieson, Educator, Anchorage, AK  99503
114.        Patty Ginsburg, Anchorage, AK  99508
115.        Scott Hayden, Anchorage, AK  99515
116.        Myra Scholze, Sierra Club Alaska Chapter, Kodiak, AK 99615
117.        Annemieke Powers, Palmer, AK 99645
118.        Lea Harkrider, Eagle River, AK  99577
119.        Catherine Shenk, AK CLEAN, AK 99501
120.        John Barton, Anchorage, AK 
121.        Andria Bond, Anchorage AK
122.        Penny Kaye McClain, Kasilof, AK  99610
123.        Michael Fenster, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK
124.        Carol Schuldt, Sterling, AK 99672
125.        Sharon Hale, Soldotna, AK  99669
126.        Bonnie Nichols, Soldotna, AK  99669
127.        Candace Cahill, Take Action Skagway, Skagway, AK 99840
128.        Jennifer Cesar, Anchorage, AK  99517
129.        Michele Vasquez, Many Voices, Shared Vision Soldotna, AK  99669
130.        Lisa Sinnott, Chugiak, AK  99567
131.        Bob Braunstein, Environmental Consultant, Eagle River, AK  99577
132.        Eric Lee, AK CLEAN, Petersberg, AK
133.        Jeannine Haney, March on Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99709
134.        Barbara Ward, Alaskans Stronger Together, Anchorage, AK  99503
135.        Lydia Johnson, Anchorage 99501
136.        Bridget Paule, Anchorage, AK  99503
137.        Sara Dykstra, Anchorage, AK  99508
138.        Heidi Chay, Kenai Change, Kenai, AK 99611
139.        Jennifer McCard, Soldotna, AK  99669
140.        Scott Gruhn, Anchorage, AK  99507
141.        Barbara Johnson, Indivisible Alaska, Chugiak, AK
142.        Christy Everett, Indivisible Alaska, North Pole, AK 
143.        Michelle Schuman Indivisible Alaska, Sutton, AK
144.        Mark Clark, Indivisible Alaska, Sutton, AK
145.        Stephanie Warnock, Indivisible Alaska, Anchorage, AK
146.        Steve Nazaroff, Indivisible Anchorage, AK
147.        John Lutterman, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK
148.        Cheryl Humme, Barrow, AK  99723
149.        Yvonne Leutwyler, Homer, AK  99603
150.        Amy Utley, Anchorage, AK  99502.  It is irresponsible and unforgivable to ignore something as critical as climate change. We see the impact in Alaska first-hand. We need to act now.
151.        Susan Soule, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK  99507
152.        Forrest Simpson, University of Alaska, Anchorage, AK  99516
153.        Georgine Stover, Anchorage, AK  99502
154.        Barry Stover, Anchorage, AK  99502
155.        Matt Moore, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK  99507
156.        Nancy Caudill, Anchorage, AK  99517
157.        Marilyn Wheeless, Kenai, AK 99611
158.        Sanne Berrig, Anchorage, AK  99501
159.        George Kapolchok, Anchorage, AK 
160.        Michael Fenster, AK CLEAN, Anchorage, AK  99515
161.        Laurie Murdock, Kodiak, AK.  Please act now.
162.        Kalie Harrison, AK CLEAN, Girdwood, AK  99587
163.        Mickie Montoya, Alaskans Stronger Together, Anchorage, AK  99507.   Our environment is degrading on a daily basis. We see the signs as clearly as our own faces. We have to put our environment and climate as a top priority. Ignoring the facts doesn’t change them. We have to take action now -- it’s already past a point of return in some areas. When will we do what's right instead of what's easy or not profitable? We are the stewards of this planet and it's time we remember that our children and grandchildren will bare the brunt of our lack of action. What will we tell them when they look to us for answers? We didn't know? We didn't care! Or it was too hard? Do what's right and protect our planet. Support HB 173.
164.        Carrie Ann Nash, Alaskans Stronger Together, Fairbanks, AK  99709
165.        Linda Reagan, Alaskan’s Stronger Together, Indian, AK  99540
166.        James Tinius, Alaskan’s Stronger Together, Eagle River, AK  99577.  Concerned about climate change. 
167.        Shawn Proudfoot, Alaskans Stronger Together, Anchorage, AK  99501
168.        TJ Bredehoft, Alaskans Stronger Together, Ketchikan, AK 99901
169.        Deborah Limacher, AK CLEAN, Homer, AK  99603
170.        Hosanna Heartsong, Alaskans Stronger Together, Soldotna, AK* 

The above signatures were submitted on May 3, 2017, new signatures and updates to this letter will be posted periodically.
 
171.        Susan Kay, AK Climate Caucus, Wasilla, AK 
172.        Larri Irene Spengler, Juneau 99801
_____________________

[1] HB 173: Climate Change Commission. 30th Legislature (2017-2018). http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Detail/30?Root=HB%20173 
[2] National Climate Assessment, U.S. Global Change Research Program, Alaska. http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report#section-1946 
[3] Kazmierczak, Jeanette. In Alaska’s ‘last frontier,’ climate change provides new horizons for invasive species. NASA Global Climate Change, July 7, 2015. https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2306/in-alaskas-last-frontier-climate-change-provides-new-horizons-for-invasive-species/ 
 [4] Alaskans Know Climate Change Project: https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol17/iss1/art10/ https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol17/iss1/art10/ 
[5] Moerlein, K.J. and C. Carothers. 2012. Total Environment of Change: Impacts of Climate Change and Social Transitions on Subsistence Fisheries in Northeast Alaska. Ecology and Society. Vol. 17, No. 1. Art. 10. https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol17/iss1/art10/ 
[6] Vidal, John. 'Extraordinarily hot' Arctic temperatures alarm scientists. The Guardian, Nov. 22, 2015. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/22/extraordinarily-hot-arctic-temperatures-alarm-scientists 
[7] Essig, Blake. 2016 shatters record for Alaska’s warmest year. KTUU, Jan. 2, 2017. http://www.ktuu.com/content/news/2016--409402135.html 
[8] Alaska Native Villages: Most Are Affected by Flooding and Erosion, but Few Qualify for Federal Assistance. United States General Accounting Office, Report to Congressional Committees. December 2003. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04142.pdf 
[9] Rosen, Yereth. Eklutna Glacier, a source of Anchorage drinking water, is disappearing drip by drip. Alaska Daily News. Feb. 19, 2017. https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/environment/2017/02/19/eklutna-glacier-source-of-anchorages-water-is-dripping-away-but-oh-so-slowly/ 
[10] Another record, but a somewhat cooler Arctic Ocean. Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis. National Snow and Ice Data Center, April 11, 2017. http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ 
[11] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events. http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/health/mmume/events.html 
[12] Doherty, Sierra. Common Murre Update: Growing Awareness of Sea Bird Die-off Thanks to Citizen Reporting. Alaska Fish and Wildlife News. http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildlifenews.view_article&articles_id=770
[13] Milman, Oliver. One quarter of Alaska permafrost could melt by 2100 – US Geological Survey. The Guardian, Dec. 9, 2015. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/09/alaska-permafrost-melting-us-geological-survey-study 
[14] Melvin, A. M., Larsen, P. et al. Climate change damages to Alaska public infrastructure and the economics of proactive adaptation. PNAS. Nov. 9, 2016. http://www.pnas.org/content/114/2/E122.full.pdf 
[15] Rosen, Yereth. Rain on snow takes a toll on wildlife and the natural environment in the far north. https://www.adn.com/arctic/article/rain-snow-takes-toll-wildlife-and-natural-environment-far-north/2014/02/02/ 
[16] Causes of Climate Change, Climate Change Science, US Environmental Protection Agency website: https://www.epa.gov/climate-change-science/causes-climate-change

__________

This letter was submitted to the following Alaska State legislators and Governor Bill Walker on May 3, 2017. 

House State Affairs Committee 
Chair, Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Representative.Jonathan.Kreiss-Tomkins@akleg.gov, 907-465-3732
Vice-Chair, Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, Representative.Gabrielle.LeDoux@akleg.gov, 907-465-4998

House Resources Committee 
Chair, Rep. Andy Josephson (sponsor), Representative.Andy.Josephson@akleg.gov, 907-465-4939
Co-Chair, Rep. Geran Tarr (co-sponsor), Representative.Geran.Tarr@akleg.gov, 907-465-3424

House Finance Committee 
Co-Chair, Rep. Neal Foster, Representative.Neal.Foster@akleg.gov, 907-465-3789
Co-Chair, Rep. Paul Seaton, Representative.Paul.Seaton@akleg.gov, 907-465-2689
Vice-Chair, Rep. Les Gara, Representative.Les.Gara@akleg.gov, 907-465-2647