From C. Nikoosh Carlo, Senior Advisor, Climate and Arctic Policy, Office of the Governor, State of Alaska
Thank you for your interest in this Administration’s efforts in support of our Alaska Climate Change Strategy, including development of a climate action plan. This policy initiative is an exciting opportunity for Alaskans to develop a range of solutions in response to climate change that help make wise use of our resources, provide for the health and welfare of Alaskans today, and meet our responsibilities to future generations of Alaskans. Input from Alaskans like you will help assess impacts of potential climate actions and ensure that our climate solutions reflect the diverse needs, interests, and expertise around the state.
I am pleased to share an update on the collective work of the Administration’s Cabinet Climate Team (CCT) and the Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team (CALT).
Governor’s Climate Change Webpage
The new climate change webpage, part of the Governor’s website, is accessible at climatechange.gov.alaska.gov. The page provides links and summaries of state agency, University of Alaska, and AEA efforts on climate change, as well as information about the CALT, including CALT meeting summaries, draft future work plans and schedule of upcoming meetings. The Institute of the North serves as the Secretariat for the CALT and information is also posted to https://institutenorth.org/project/alaska-climate-leadership/.
Climate Leadership Team
The Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team held its inaugural meeting on December 18, 2017, in Anchorage. Team members identified near-team and long-term (2030 and 2050) goals and visions for Alaska’s climate policy, and developed an initial work plan for 2018. As stated in the Administrative Order, the leadership team has a September 2018 deadline to present its recommended climate action plan to the Governor.
CALT members will participate in one or both working groups on mitigation and adaptation. The Mitigation Working Group will focus on growing renewable energy, energy efficiency, and community and commercial emissions reductions. The Adaptation Working Group will focus on strengthening social, environmental, and economic resilience in the context of climate change. As they develop policy recommendations, both groups will meet regularly, engage with stakeholder groups and pursue partnerships, identity gaps and potential research.
Both working groups met via teleconference – and in-person for those members who are based in Anchorage and Juneau – on Tuesday, January 30 (Adaptation) and Wednesday, January 31 (Mitigation) and will continue to meet approximately the fourth week of each month. The agenda for both meetings was to finalize the scope and operations of each working group and to continue discussions of recommended climate actions. Past and future meetings will continue to be open to the public as observers; details of upcoming meetings will be posted via the public notice system.
Recently both the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released reports that support agencies’ and the climate team’s work to identify climate change impacts of concern and prioritize mitigation and adaptation actions.
On January 8, the DHSS Section of Epidemiology released the “Assessment of the Potential Health Impacts of Climate Change in Alaska”, which outlines how the health of Alaskans could be affected by climate change. The report highlights physical and mental health challenges that Alaskans are currently experiencing, as well as those that could be expected in the future due to warming temperatures and changing weather patterns related to climate change. The report also includes specific adaptation strategies, including support for community mental health programs and developing community response plans for wildfires. The report can be found at http://www.epi.alaska.gov/bulletins/docs/rr2018_01.pdf.
On January 30, DEC release an updated Alaska Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report, which describes and quantified human-caused sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions occurring between 1990 and 2015 from Alaska operations and facilities. The updated inventory builds on earlier reports issued by DEC (2007, 2010) and focuses primarily on GHG emissions from seven economic sectors in Alaska: industrial, transportation, residential and commercial, electrical generation, industrial processes, waste, and agriculture. The report also includes data on emissions from wildfires and emissions reservoirs, also known as emission sinks, which in most years covered by the report have trapped and stored carbon from the atmosphere. The report can be found at http://dec.alaska.gov/air/anpms/projects-reports/greenhouse-gas-inventory.
2018 is off to a productive start. Throughout the year, we will strive to provide updates via e-mail on the work of the leadership team and highlight any upcoming opportunities for public input. There is a public comment form available at https://institutenorth.org/engage/project-portfolio/public-input/. Thank you again for your interest in this Administration’s efforts on climate change. Please feel free to reach out directly to me (Nikoosh.Carlo@alaska.gov) or to the CALT Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions or comments.