Think you know what Alaska should do about climate change? Now’s your chance to be heard.
The Walker Administration is asking for public input as it develops a sweeping new climate policy for the state. The governor’s climate change task force has released an updated draft of the policy, and the public has until June 4 to weigh in online.
The draft proposes a series of short-term targets to shrink the state’s carbon footprint. Those include cutting greenhouse gas emissions by about a third from 2005 levels; increasing energy efficiency by 15 percent; and generating half the state’s electricity from renewable sources — all by 2025.
The task force proposes Alaska increase investments in the state’s clean energy economy and promote natural gas as a potential “bridge fuel.” But it emphasizes that the state remains dependent on oil production, and suggests using oil revenue to fund a “strategic transition” to renewable energy and a more diversified economy.
The draft also recommends the state play a more active role in helping local communities adapt to climate change, including planning for threats like coastal erosion, severe flooding and reduced access to subsistence foods.
Perhaps most controversially, the draft says the state should consider a version of a carbon tax — a carbon fee and dividend program — to encourage the switch away from fossil fuels. But the draft dropped language from an earlier version, which called it “an economic and ethical imperative” to transition away from fossil fuels.
Walker established the 20-person Climate Action Leadership Team this past winter. The task force is chaired by Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, and includes representatives from environmental groups, local communities, the University of Alaska system, commercial fishing, mining and the oil industry. The team is required to recommend a final statewide climate policy and action plan to the governor by September.
- Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium is continuing forward in acquiring Wrangell’s hospital. The Native nonprofit plans to build and operate a new hospital in the island town within the next three years.
- The measure, modeled on similar rules enacted in Anchorage last year, could make it easier for Alaskans to know how much they’re going to pay out of pocket for healthcare.
- The police chief recently named to the board that regulates Alaska's legal marijuana industry says the fight that has long been waged against pot in this country has been a "waste of time" and law enforcement resources.
- To beautify and dry out a wet section of your yard, Master Gardener Ed Buyarski recommends ligularia, primose, highbush cranberry, dogwood, cottonwood, and willow.