HCR 11: Encouraging the governor to convene a Climate Change Task Force.

00                    HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 11                                                                   
01 Encouraging the governor to convene a Climate Change Task Force.                                                        
02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                               
03       WHEREAS the state and residents of the state are threatened by the especially                                   
04 accelerated rate of climate change in the state; and                                                                    
05       WHEREAS climate change affects the transportation and industrial infrastructure,                                
06 fiscal security, resource-based industries, and cultural identity of the state; and                                     
07       WHEREAS, although carbon dioxide emissions come from a variety of natural                                       
08 sources, human-related emissions are responsible for the rapid increase in carbon dioxide in                            
09 the atmosphere that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution; and                                                   
10       WHEREAS the rate of warming in the state has been twice the national average over                               
11 the past 50 years, and the average annual temperatures in the state are projected to increase an                        
12 additional 3.5 to seven degrees Fahrenheit by the middle of the century; and                                            
13       WHEREAS, over the past 50 years, temperatures across the state have increased by                                
14 an average of 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit, with winter warming rising by an average of 6.3                                   
15 degrees Fahrenheit; and                                                                                                 
16       WHEREAS the state is the only Arctic region in the nation; and                                                  
01       WHEREAS experts recently predicted that the Arctic Ocean will have ice-free                                     
02 summers within a generation; and                                                                                        
03       WHEREAS a dependable transportation infrastructure is essential to maintaining                                  
04 public safety and commerce; and                                                                                         
05       WHEREAS the existing transportation and industrial infrastructure, including ports,                             
06 railroads, roads, highways, bridges, airports, sewage systems, and water supplies of the state,                         
07 will be degraded by diminishing permafrost, coastal erosion, more frequent wildfires, and                               
08 rising sea levels; and                                                                                                  
09       WHEREAS three-fourths of the Trans Alaska Pipeline extends across land underlain                                
10 with permafrost, and the pipeline is, therefore, affected by rapid permafrost melting rates; and                        
11       WHEREAS the season and utility of ice roads for winter construction on the North                                
12 Slope has shortened from 200 to 100 days since the 1970s because of rising temperatures and,                            
13 subsequently, has shortened the work period on the North Slope; and                                                     
14       WHEREAS the costs of climate change threaten the fiscal security of the state; and                              
15       WHEREAS the uneven sinking of the ground in response to permafrost thaw is                                      
16 estimated to add between $3,600,000,000 and $6,100,000,000 to the current costs of                                      
17 maintaining public infrastructure over the next 20 years; and                                                           
18       WHEREAS the United States Government Accountability Office reported that most                                   
19 Alaska Native villages have already been affected by flooding and erosion; and                                          
20       WHEREAS, of 31 villages identified by the United States Government                                              
21 Accountability Office as being eminently threatened by coastal erosion, at least 12 have                                
22 decided to relocate in part or entirely; and                                                                            
23       WHEREAS the costs of the relocation of the villages of Shishmaref and Kivalina,                                 
24 which was forced by climate-change-related coastal erosion, winter storms, and rising sea                               
25 levels, could exceed $170,000,000 for Shishmaref and $400,000,000 for Kivalina; and                                     
26       WHEREAS the coastal water of the state is becoming more acidic because of                                       
27 increased carbon emissions, and that ocean acidification is disrupting the growth of skeletons                          
28 and shells of many marine species important to Alaska fisheries and Alaskans; and                                       
29       WHEREAS the seafood industry of the state, which generates more than                                            
30 $5,000,000,000 in annual revenue and is the number one private employer in the state, is at                             
31 risk because of the harmful effects of ocean acidification; and                                                         
01       WHEREAS approximately 120,000 Alaskans rely on subsistence fisheries for most, if                               
02 not all, of their dietary protein; and                                                                                  
03       WHEREAS the increasingly active wildfire season in the state is associated with                                 
04 longer snow                                                                                                             
05       WHEREAS the Alaska way of life is dependent on hunting, fishing, and subsistence                                
06 resources; and                                                                                                          
07       WHEREAS climate change is negatively affecting the accessibility to state residents                             
08 of, migratory patterns of, and distribution of fish and game; and                                                       
09       WHEREAS many residents and visitors choose this state as a home or vacation                                     
10 destination because of winter recreational activities, which are increasingly difficult to                              
11 practice; and                                                                                                           
12       WHEREAS even the iconic Alaska event, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, has been                                
13 relocated because of a lack of snow necessary to complete the race along its normal route; and                          
14       WHEREAS each resident of the state has an inalienable human right to dependable                                 
15 food sources and safe infrastructure; and                                                                               
16       WHEREAS government leadership is needed to achieve significant reductions in                                    
17 greenhouse gas emissions and increases in energy efficiency; and                                                        
18       WHEREAS the legislature, industry, and all state residents have a responsibility to                             
19 the next generation and future generations to minimize actions that accelerate climate change                           
20 and to allow for current and future generations to continue enjoying the Alaska way of life;                            
21 and                                                                                                                     
22       WHEREAS residents of the state should have a strong voice in actions taken by the                               
23 state and federal government related to climate change--a voice that can be built on the                                
24 Climate Change Sub-Cabinet findings introduced by former Governor Sarah Palin; and                                      
25       WHEREAS the state should have a presence at all national and international climate                              
26 change proceedings, including the Arctic Council, the United States National Climate                                    
27 Assessment team, and the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference;                                                 
28       BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature encourages the governor to                                     
29 convene a Climate Change Task Force with a diverse membership that represents the interests                             
30 of state residents.