Alaska governor rolls out draft climate plan, but falls short on details
- A task force appointed last year by Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has produced a draft climate change policy that calls for diversifying the state's economy, shifting towards renewable energy, supporting technological innovation across all sectors, and increasing residential, commercial and public energy efficiency, KTOO Public Media reports.
- The draft calls for reductions of carbon emissions by 2030 but does not include a specific target.
- Walker appointed 20 members to the Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team in December, established by an October administrative order. Local media reports a final plan is due by September.
Alaska's draft plan echos familiar efforts made by states like California and New York, which are seeking to cut carbon emissions through a plethora of options. But unlike these states, Alaska has yet to offer any substantial details on how to meet these very vague goals.
While the plan calls for a transition to renewable energy, it also plans to develop natural gas as a "bridge fuel" to help meet its emissions goals. However, the state struck an introspective tone over its hefty reliance on fossil fuels — particularly oil.
"The state economy is-and will remain for the immediate future-dependent on extractive resource development, including oil and promisingly natural gas production," the draft concedes. It admonishes, however, "there is an economic and ethical imperative to pursue a transition away from a global dependence on fossil fuels and toward renewable sources of energy."
The draft would also "identify climate change as a slow-moving disaster, the implications of which—both in
terms of contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and impacts to communities and natural resources—must be factored into all government decisions and plans."
Some objectives outlined in the draft include: increasing the use of renewable and low emission energy resources in air, rail, road and marine transportation; a possible ban on heavy fuel oil use in maritime operations; maintaining sustainable agricultural and fishing practices; and supporting research into ocean acidification.
The plan also calls on the state to "maximize revenue generation from current petroleum and natural gas
development to support energy transition."
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