Changing climate hitting hard, as deniers persist

Want to experience a changing climate first hand? Go to Homer, Alaska. There is less snow, therefore less drinking water in the reservoir; streams are lower and warmer, hugely impacting Cook Inlet’s billion dollar salmon industry. Warmer water has increased toxic phytoplankton blooms, impacting oysters and clams, creating problems for human consumption. Across Alaska, permafrost is melting, causing the ground to sink, damaging all manner of infrastructure. Warmer weather means more wildfires because of migrating insects destroying trees. There are more severe storms and rising sea level eroding beaches, bluffs and sea walls.

In 2011, Alaska’s Republican governor disbanded a climate change sub-cabinet created to identify policies to cope with the effects of warmer weather. The fear was that it might restrict off-shore drilling efforts. Alaska, with greatly declining oil revenues due to falling prices, is “the only state eligible for federal funding through coastal protections funding programs that doesn’t receive money, because it hasn’t submitted a plan that addresses the issue”. (trade-off being drill for oil, but don’t address climate change).

Though Alaska stands alone in not having submitted a plan, state funding for environmental projects peaked in 2007, as the National Governors Association (majority GOP) had balked at adopting more stringent building codes to protect residents against more violent storms and other extreme weather. In the absence of state action the federal government took over responsibility for dealing with climate change. That, of course, is now all being reversed with the Trump Administration.

Source: “Alaska’s Big Problem With Warmer Winters”, Bloombery Businessweek, March 13 – March 19, 2017