State's climate policy draft open for comment

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The state's draft policy for addressing climate change in Alaska is now available for public comment. The document was put together by the Climate Action Leadership Team and covers various goals and objectives to deal with the impacts of climate change on Alaska.

“A lot of it is talking about the issues,” says Molly McCammon, Executive Director of the Alaska Ocean Observing System. “Talking about what kinds of resources you have, and thinking ahead, figuring out, ‘okay, if this happens what are we going to do about it?’”

The topics in the proposed plan range from reducing greenhouse gases to receiving the best information possible through science and indigenous knowledge. Another suggestion is to update the definition of a “disaster” in state and federal documents to include climate change.

“We are trying to look at things a little differently,” says McCammon. “And say some of the things we're experiencing may not be like an immediate overnight disaster but in essence we're facing some big crises, especially in some of western and northern coastal communities.”

McCammon has been working with coastal communities in western and northern Alaska. She says they “are facing increased storm surge and flooding as result of no sea ice protecting them from fall storms. How do we prepare those communities for these kinds of increased events?”

The plan suggests an accelerated “strategic decarbonization of Alaska’s economy through increased energy, efficiency, renewable energy production and electrification.” But the proposal also acknowledges that Alaska is a state heavily reliant on oil and gas.

[RELATED: Alaska's draft climate change policy proposes carbon price mechanism]

According to McCammon, “there are ways that we can continue doing oil and gas development but do it in a way that produces less greenhouse emissions. There are ways of doing things that doesn’t mean we're just going to stop all oil and gas production. I don't think anyone is looking at that as a viable option.”

The draft policy is open for public comment and will be presented to Governor Walker in the fall of 2018. Click here to submit public comment.

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