Alaska Climate Action Network

Alaskans Demand Immediate Action on the Climate Emergency

 

"Unless we take immediate action, by the time today’s children are middle-aged, the life-supporting systems of the Earth will be irretrievably damaged.” (1)

 

Context

The climate crisis is harming the Arctic at twice the rate of other regions of the globe. Alaska is experiencing a wide range of alarming climate damages, including:

  • Forest fires
  • Coastal surges and erosion 
  • Ocean acidification
  • Threats to wildlife and subsistence, including wildlife die-offs
  • Arctic sea ice disappearance
  • Melting permafrost
  • Weather disasters/extreme weather
  • Glacier retreats
  • Sea level rise

Many indigenous and coastal communities in Alaska are suffering accelerating threats to lives, lifeways, livelihoods, subsistence, ecosystems, cultures, and infrastructure. Destruction of the material basis of Alaska’s indigenous cultures is a serious violation of human rights.

Global scientists have clearly stated that drilling in the Arctic is a “climate-breaking” activity. Nonetheless, local and international pressures are increasing to exploit the fossil fuel resources of the Arctic.

President Obama’s recent statements on the urgency of climate change and the federal government’s responsibility to act is heartening, but insufficient.

We therefore demand that the U.S. government, President Obama, and our Alaskan Senators and Representatives fulfill their responsibility to the citizens of Alaska by taking the following actions. These actions constitute the basic requirements to preserve a livable climate for communities in the Arctic. 

 

Demands

  1. A rapid transition to renewable energy 
  2. Protection of Indigenous rights and communities 
  3. No offshore drilling in the Arctic 
  4. Binding agreements at the 2015 UN Climate Conference that are on par with the science

 

1) Support an immediate shift to the development and widespread implementation of renewable energy sources.

a) Fully enact the Clean Power Plan, including Alaska; 

b) Fund & develop renewable infrastructure by implementing the Stanford University plan for 100% renewable by 2050 in all 50 U.S. States;

c) Eliminate federal subsidies for oil companies. Use the resulting income to fund renewable infrastructure and upgrades, to provide tax incentives for renewable & efficiency development; and to fund training programs for workers transitioning into the renewable energy sector;

d) Adopt the Citizen’s Climate Lobby’s Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal to put a fee on fossil fuels at their source and return all revenue to individuals in the form of dividends; http://citizensclimatelobby.org/remi-report/

e) Reject trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership which would undermine American sovereignty and prevent the U.S. from being able to fully enact and enforce such policies.

 

2) Support the call by global scientists to keep 80% of the world’s fossil fuel reserves in the ground:

a) Revoke Shell Oil’s permit to drill in the Arctic and immediately cease sale of outer continental shelf lease sales;

b) Develop no new fossil fuel infrastructure (i.e., reject the Keystone XL pipeline, Enbridge pipelines, coal export terminals, etc.);

c) Remove the Halliburton loophole for fracking. 

 

3) Protect and champion the rights of communities of color on the front lines of climate change.  

a) Prioritize funding and other support for indigenous, lower income and communities of color suffering disproportionately from the effects of climate change and environmental contamination;  

b) Direct FEMA and/or other federal agencies to provide funding and other resources to Alaska Native villages experiencing coastal erosion, permafrost melt, coastal surges, sea level rise, disappearing ice, wildfire, and negative impacts to subsistence hunting and fishing due to climate disruption. Villages need these resources to protect lives and livelihoods, to bolster failing infrastructure, and, where necessary, to plan and execute community relocations;

c) Include these communities in decision-making processes. 

 

4) Commit the U.S. to legally binding commitments at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference: 

a) 80% carbon emissions reduction by 2050; 

b) Keeping 80% of the world’s fossil fuel reserves in the ground;  

c) Elimination of subsidies for fossil fuel industries; 

d) 80% increase in investments in renewable energies.

 

We further demand that Governor Walker and State Senators and Representatives make the following changes within the State of Alaska:  

  1. Re-establish the statewide subcabinet on Climate Change and immediately develop a plan for climate adaptation and mitigation;
  2. Repeal SB 21, which grants over $10 billion in subsidies to the oil industry and invest these funds in renewable energy development, job training, and public transportation infrastructure for Alaskan cities; 
  3. Establish an Alaska Climate Change Response Fund for statewide mitigation and adaptation efforts; 
  4. Pass House Bill 191, introduced by Republican Senator Paul Seaton, which would return the state to a “separate accounting” system, rather than the current “worldwide apportionment” system which allows oil companies to deduct losses from out-of-state operations against the corporate income taxes they pay in Alaska; 
  5. Divest the Alaska Permanent Fund and Pension Funds from fossil fuel investments;
  6. Take immediate action to prevent further ocean acidification, which dangerously threatens Alaska’s fisheries and all marine life; 
  7. Regulate methane emissions from oil production facilities within the state;
  8. Make oil and coal industries operating in Alaska subject to the Clean Power Plan.

 

[1] Anthony D. Barnosky and 500 scientists. “Scientific Consensus on Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century: Information for Policy Makers.” Mahb.stanford.edu/consensus-statement-from-global-scientists


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