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.