SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Global Warming's Affect In Alaska
By Carrie L. James


June 29, 2006

I am a concerned citizen who is involved in the community. I am aware of the seriousness of global warming; I have attended numerous events such as the National Congress of American Indians, Self-governance conferences, Legislative fly-in on lobbying training, Alaska Native Brotherhood & Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp Conventions, Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indians General Assembly, and most recently the 4th Annual Southeast Alaska Environmental Conference of Tribal leaders this last June. Global warming has come up in all these conferences I have attended and it is a real threat to Mother Earth. Alaska is the first to experience the effects of global warming.

Tribes and other organizations has established a sucessful environmental service and protection program through various outreach and education; and scientific consensus has developed that carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere have a profound effect on the Earth's climate.

In 2001 at the request of the Administration, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reviewed and declared global warming a real problem caused in part by human activities.

Over the past 40 years, annual temperatures in Alaska have increased 4-5 Farenheit and winter temperatures have warmed 8-10 Farenheit and over the next 100 years, under a moderate emissions scenario, annual average temperatures are projected to rise 5-9 Farenheit over land and up to 13 Farenheit over the oceans. The oceans worldwide are estimated to be at least 2 degrees Farenheit warmer presently; that is a vast body of water...worldwide.

Alaska glaciers are retreating at a rapid pace, with Mendenhall Glacier losing 656 feet in 2004 alone; and could come out of Mendenhall lake in a few years or less.
Reduced spring snow pack in the Southeast Alaska is leading to widespread die-off of yellow cedar in the region.

Warming permafrost throughout most of Alaska undermining Alaska's roads and utility infrustructure, pipelines and buildings, affecting the availability of groundwater and surface water, and contributing to increased erosion along coasts and rivers. It is estimated to cost Alaska over 400-500 million dollars to begin relocating some of the 25 coastal villages in Alaska.

Climate change could lead to a sea level rise of up to three feet per century or faster and flooding many coastal areas around Alaska and the lower 48.

The once vast expanse of summer Arctic sea ice may disappear by the end of the century, endangeriong polar bears, walrus, seals, and other marine species; and climate-related changes to the weather, food sources, and local landscapes undermine the social identity and cultural survival of Alaska Natives.

There is already a concern for the polar bear species, there are t.v. ads on how to save polar bears. The distance between land and ice are becoming more vast and the polar bear mothers in some cases have to abandon their cubs to save themselves. There are have been bad storms and numerous polar bears are drowning. Note that although polar bears are good swimmers, they are not good long distance swimmers. is a good site to look up if there are concerned citizens willing to look on this site and see what they can do about impending doom the polar bears are facing at this time.

Alaska wildlife will be affected by changing habitat, insect populations, snow and ice cover, and unpredictable weather related to climate change.

I have seen many power points on global warming, from professors and Phd's and it does not look good.

The upside to this doom and gloom is that there is presently 48 mayors from major cities in the U.S. that have already signed on in coalition to lower their emissions by 6% by the year 2010. President Bush has acknowledged that there is major concern for global warming, but he is not acting fast enough. There are ways citizens can do their part also by cutting back on their fuel consumption. Ethenal plants need to be planned and put in place, people and major organizations need to look into bio-diesal, which is just around the corner.

The major business/corporations/factories that have cut back on their emissions or release of carbon dioxide have in turn saved hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars by conserving energy.

As a concerned citizen, and involved person in my community and statewide I feel it is my duty to voice my concerns after reading all the debate on Sitnews.

I always welcome feedback to my opinions/viewpoints

Carrie L. James
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: Carrie L. James is the Alaska Native Siste.rhood Grand 2nd Vice President, Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp #14 (Ktn) President, and a concerned citizen.


Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


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