SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Climate Change

By Victoria McDonald


May 21, 2017
Sunday PM

Climate change is an issue that directly involves Alaska. In Southeast, ocean acidification is increasing, so not only are crustaceans such as crab and shrimp less able to form shells, but pink salmon that rely on pteropods, a shelled mollusk, will lose an important food source. The lack of food for salmon has potentially disastrous effects on our fish-reliant lifestyle. Tongass Conservation Society, TCS, will be urging our borough to adopt a policy to decrease greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). We can align ourselves with Juneau’s Climate Change Policy of 2011, that advocates for reduced GHG.

Eight villages in northern Alaska face fall and winter storms without the protection of sea ice that formerly shielded them. Although the federal government is spending millions to create barriers, funds cannot be used to move villages inland, necessary if they are to survive. Throughout the Arctic as permafrost melts, methane is released, a gas that retains greenhouse gas at least 30 times that of CO2. Melting arctic ice is taking a toll on wildlife. Polar bears are unable to hunt year round due to the lack of ice sheets that provide a stable platform.

But in the midst of discouraging events, the Chugach Alaska Corporation is leading the way to a sensible solution. The Corporation has an agreement with California, utilizing its cap and trade policy. If a California company exceeds its CO2 emissions, the cap and trade policy enables purchase of forested land to offset excess carbon. Chugach shareholders benefit and have potentially millions of carbon credits. In addition, the Corporation held mineral rights to the Bering River anthracite coal deposit, sold to New Forests who retired those coal rights. Old school thinking is out the door as standing trees are used for carbon sequestration and a valuable deposit of coal will not be mined and burned.

TCS held a climate action party on April 30. New members have suggestions for our community. Hopefully, we can work together to lessen our carbon footprint. If you have ideas, call 907-254-0914 .345.

Victoria McDonald for
Tongass Conservation Society
Ketchikan, Alaska



Received May 21, 2017 - Published May 21, 2017




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