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About Alaskanomics

Northrim Bank launched the Alaskanomics blog to provide news, analysis and commentary on Alaska’s economy. With contributions from economists, business leaders, policy makers and everyday Alaskans, Alaskanomics aims to engage readers in an ongoing conversation about our economy, now and in the future.

« 2017 AEDC Economic Forecast Luncheon | Main

Friday, March 03, 2017

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Chris Carroll

The question is, will Alaska ever regain its footing as as a leader in mitigating the environmental impacts of climate change? One cannot have an honest discussion about oil exploration in our state without considering its major environmental impact.

Governor Parnell, who pushed hard for those oil tax credits, at the same time gutted fledgling efforts by his predecessor, Sarah Palin, to do just that. Like it or not, Alaska is on the cutting edge of the biggest environmental issue of the 21st century.

I agree that "we are always wrong when we think the future will be like the past." Perhaps our new EPA chief, Scott Pruitt, who does not think carbon dioxide is a major factor in climate change will change his mind when the permafrost (20 % of the earth's land surface) accelerates its release of methane gas, which is up to 25 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. This carbon spike will fill in a climate data gap that will make denial of man's hand in climate change akin to believing the world is flat. Many would argue it already is irrefutable.

At that point Mr Pruitt might play his Trump card, denying he ever denied it. Perhaps all we can do at this point is mitigate, but it would a lot easier to get to work on the issue if the people in charge would just stop denying it is a problem.

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