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.
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