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HR 12: Establishing a House Special Committee on Climate Change.

00                          HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 12                                                                        
01 Establishing a House Special Committee on Climate Change.                                                               
02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:                                                                         
03       WHEREAS Earth's climate is transforming more rapidly now than at any previous                                   
04 point in the history of modern civilization; and                                                                        
05       WHEREAS climate change is already causing widespread and well-documented                                        
06 adverse ecological, social, and economic effects worldwide, and these adverse effects will                              
07 become more severe as the climate continues to change; and                                                              
08       WHEREAS sea ice extents in the Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea, and Arctic Ocean are at                                 
09 all-time lows, threatening the marine mammal populations that rely on the ice as habitat and                            
10 the subsistence way of life of indigenous peoples who hunt those animals; and                                           
11       WHEREAS lower sea ice extent leads to Arctic amplification, causing the Arctic                                  
12 region of the state to warm at a significantly higher rate compared to the rest of the planet, and                      
13 a warmer, ice-free Arctic Ocean exacerbates extreme weather events globally; and                                        
14       WHEREAS an ice-free Arctic comes with significant economic and practical                                        
15 implications for shipping, resource development, and tourism that must be actively addressed                            
16 by the state; and                                                                                                       
01       WHEREAS many communities in western Alaska are experiencing drastic erosion                                   
02 problems caused by thawing permafrost and more frequent winter storms, and some                                         
03 communities have already been forced to relocate; and                                                                   
04       WHEREAS melting permafrost poses significant infrastructure challenges across the                               
05 state and jeopardizes access to resource development projects in remote regions of the state;                           
06 and                                                                                                                     
07       WHEREAS the state's glaciers are retreating rapidly, losing a cumulative                                        
08 75,000,000,000 tons of ice annually and contributing appreciably to the rise of the global sea                          
09 level; and                                                                                                              
10 WHEREAS increased glacial runoff causes changes in the temperature, salinity, and                                     
11 sediment levels of rivers and streams, and it is unknown how these changes affect the                                   
12 anadromous fish populations, including salmon populations, on which residents of the state                              
13 rely for commercial and subsistence harvests; and                                                                       
14 WHEREAS an increase in ocean temperatures causes ocean acidification, potentially                                     
15 affecting mollusk and shellfish populations and the related fisheries; and                                              
16 WHEREAS an increase in atmospheric and ocean temperatures creates uncertainty                                         
17 for the survival of native species in the state, including fish populations statewide, and                              
18 threatens the livelihoods of many commercial fishermen; and                                                             
19 WHEREAS an increase in atmospheric and ocean temperatures is leading to an                                            
20 increased prevalence of invasive species in the state, disrupting the state's fragile ecosystem;                        
21 and                                                                                                                     
22 WHEREAS the University of Alaska contributes significantly to the scientific body                                     
23 of work relating to climate change, and the state has the opportunity to lead in global climate                         
24 research; and                                                                                                           
25 WHEREAS the state is the only Arctic state in the nation and is properly positioned                                   
26 to be an active and independent voice in international discourse relating to climate change and                         
27 adaptation policies, independent of the federal government; and                                                         
28 WHEREAS the House of Representatives recognizes the broad scope of issues                                             
29 relating to climate change that must be addressed and the unique position the state occupies in                         
30 relation to those issues;                                                                                               
31 BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives that a House Special Committee                                         
01 on Climate Change is established to ensure advancement in understanding of current climate                              
02 research and to explore policy options relating to climate change effects, mitigation,                                  
03 resilience, and adaptation in the state; and be it                                                                      
04 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall                                               
05 determine the number of representatives to be members of the committee, appoint the                                     
06 members, and designate a member or members to chair the committee; and be it                                            
07 FURTHER RESOLVED that the House Special Committee on Climate Change may                                               
08 meet during and between sessions of the Thirty-First Alaska State Legislature and is                                    
09 terminated upon the convening of the First Regular Session of the Thirty-Second Alaska State                            
10 Legislature.