Anchorage climate change action plan: Aspirational, evangelical - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, October 26, 2021
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Anchorage climate change action plan: Aspirational, evangelical

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The Anchorage Assembly is preparing to vote on the Climate Change Action Plan on May 21. It’s a polished and yet rangy guideline to reducing the municipal government’s carbon footprint in the decades ahead.

Climate is changing, and both the science and near-religion of climate change has captivated city leaders with a sense of urgency to “do something about it.”

Already the city has converted more than 12,000 streetlights to LED lights, and says it is saving more than $780,000 a year, as LED lights use less energy

But every action has a reaction. A global study led by GFZ German Research Centre for Geoscience found that the amount of artificial light coming from Earth’s surface at night has increased in radiance and extent by 2 percent every year for the past four years, creating light pollution that the researchers attribute to the conversion of streetlights to LEDs.

Researchers are particularly concerned about the blue light emitted by LED bulbs. The light may disrupt the biological rhythms and nocturnal instincts of wildlife. And in humans it can make it harder to see while driving at night, and, surprisingly, may make plants bud earlier in the spring.

But never mind that. The Climate Action Plan has other ideas, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 2008 levels by 2050, with an interim goal of reducing them by 40 percent by 2030. Reducing landfills, doing more composting, and using landfill gas to heat municipal buildings are some of the actions being taken already.

The plan would have the Muni convert to electric vehicles over time and entertains the idea of creating a “progressive pay-as-you-throw” garbage rates for households, to reward those who produce less trash.

There are also suggestions about looking at carbon taxes and expanding bike and walking trails and their maintenance.

While cynics may grumble, there’s a lot of good in the plan. It is, indeed, aspirational, even evangelical in nature, because that is how a progressively run government tends to be. It spends a lot of time convincing the reader of the problems associated with a warmer Anchorage.

But overall, it’s the type of plan that is full of worthy ideas (bike paths) that could be implemented over time without a lot of pain. Or it’s a plan that could sit on the shelf if the next mayor or Assembly wants to focus on something else.

There is no price tag attached to the Climate Change Action Plan, but it warns that the cost of doing nothing would be $150 million a year, so at least some reverse economic analysis was attempted. The hidden costs associated with the hundreds of action items will have to be debated in the months and years ahead. The presumption that by reducing greenhouse gases in Anchorage, life on the planet will measurably improve is woven throughout the document as an unproven premise.

The imperative of halting climate change has become an article of faith at every level of government, and the plan will be both scripture and prescription.

The Anchorage Assembly meeting starts at 5 pm on Tuesday, with the adoption of the Climate Change Action Plan showing up halfway through the agenda.

The agenda is here.

[Read the plan here.]

What do you think? Leave your comments below.


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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • I suppose the Muni has given up on fighting crime, in lieu of the low hanging political, elusive fruit of the progressive globalists – climate change!

  • It’s going to cost us big time, and it’s not going to change the climate change that’s going on. Go Nuclear, Ethan, new nuclear, listen to those Ted talks ! They’ve been there, studied it, and realize the way we have to go to really make a difference !

    • Dumber than dirt, especially the electrical generation and transportation pieces. ANC electrical generation (about 1/3 of total energy use) is about as emissions free as humanly possible other than switching over to nuclear, big hydro (Watana) or Coal to Liquids. And the last time any of those got mentioned, Jim Nordlund using IBEW $ tossed that member off the Chugach Board a decade ago.

      They also want to increase non-motorized and public transportation (remove your freedom to travel).

      To implement it all, they set up a rat’s nest of interlocking boards, commissions, panels, all with the same unelected, unaccountable people who will act like smarmy little commissars. Nice work if you can get it.

      We need a new Assembly and a new Mayor. Cheers –

    • Sure Andrew let’s put a “Fukushima” on Alaska’s shoreline…
      The reality is countries like Scotland are getting nearly 100 percent of their electrical energy from “Renewables”.
      The city of London is also onboard with this current “Green Wave”.
      “The City of London Corporation has announced plans to source 100 percent of its electricity from renewables.
      Sourcing 100% renewable energy will make us cleaner and greener, reducing our grid reliance and running some of our buildings on zero carbon electricity.”
      Local investors like the project here in Willow are using money earned through the fossil fuel industry to construct solar panel “farms” and quickly augmenting our in state grid.
      AK is full of tidal, wind (long summer hours of sun) and geothermal reserves…
      Once profits are made, you will see AK turn the corner and future generations will not have to live in fear of a nuclear meltdown or Exxon Valdez disaster.

      • Steve, what most don’t hear about is how much Europeans pay to achieve that. What you’re witnessing is a social program.

        In Germany, after post-Cold War privatization and liberalization (liberal NOT in the political sense), wholesale electricity prices dropped considerably. When the Greens came to power in the 1990s, they taxed electricity back up to the previous rates to subsidize wind and solar.

        The business model was so bad by the time I left in 2008, power companies had to buy surplus power from residential units at retail prices. It looks like the prices for electricity have risen to the point where Germans are again looking at re-municipilization (the left seldom blames their policies, usually companies).

        Of course, this centralization of power and money gathers political vultures, snakes and rats.

        If renewables like bird bats and wing roasters are great, the market will use them. If nukes on fault lines are great, the market will apply for permits. Right now, gas is great.

  • Money down the drain so liberal politicians can signal how woke they are to other liberals.

  • Anchorage has been diligently reducing its carbon problem for the past 10 years.

    According to the UN, the average person is responsible for 20 metric tons of carbon per year. The CF of an American is 4.5 times higher than most non-industrialized countries.

    Thanks to its innovative policies and forward thinking leaders whom ignore crime, raise taxes, coddle the homeless, and utilize tax dollars on climate action plans Anchorage is doing a magnificent job of getting its citizens to leave. As an added bonus, the high carbon producers (often referred to as “producers”) are leaving in higher numbers than ever.

    Fine work indeed Anchorage!

  • To reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 20% simply cut the city government by 10%. Less government equals less hot air.

  • Anchorage playing same self-serving game, with other peoples lives –

    Quote from “The Hill”

    “…no anti-development bill would be complete without playing the climate change card and this one doesn’t disappoint, citing the unprecedented level of climate impact taking place in the Arctic. According to Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.) during the May 1 bill markup, drilling in ANWR will only exacerbate the changing climate. Ironically, the extraction of oil and gas is not what’s changing our homeland in unprecedented ways, but rather global warming attributed to the gross overconsumption of the resource by people in faraway urban centers like California.

    One of the most deplorable aspects of the bill, though, is its assertion that we should take development off the table because the Native Gwich’in say so. The reality is that the Gwich’in people live hundreds of miles from the 1002 Area of ANWR but are referenced throughout the legislation as if it’s their backyard. Meanwhile, the existence of the Iñupiat Kaktovikmiut who actually live and own land rights here aren’t acknowledged at all. The “respect and human rights of the Gwich’in” is used as repeal justification with absolutely no mention of the people who clearly stand to be most affected. It’s a self-serving argument that our people are unfortunately used to hearing.

    At the end of the day, H.R. 1146 demonstrates how shockingly out of touch Rep. Huffman and plenty of other lawmakers are when it comes to Alaska and Alaskans. It also serves as a reminder that, even after years of responsible development coexisting alongside healthy ecosystems in the Arctic, some people are simply allergic to rational thinking when it comes to managing our natural resources.

    The views of the Iñupiat who call ANWR home are frequently ignored, and H.R. 1146 only reinforces the reality that the wishes of people who live in and around the Coastal Plain are less important than those who live hundreds or even thousands of miles away.”

    Matthew Rexford is Tribal Administrator of the Native Village of Kaktovik

    Alaska has it’s share of legislators who are out of touch with reality.

  • If there is one thing that is certain, it is that the Assembly will not permit discussion or questioning of the central tenant if the Climate Action Plan : That human caused emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, are causing the climate to warm. That is the religious basis of all of this nonsense.

    Comparison of the recent temperature history with the computer models points to an over-estimation of the sensitivity of the the climate to increases in carbon dioxide by roughly a factor of two. For more information on this see

    It is also my view that the acolytes of climate fascism have systematically ignored (1) changes to land form and use and (2) the urban heat island effect in shaping their climate change dogma. Google “Roger Pielke Sr” for information on this point.

    But you can bet that the Assembly will tolerate none of this when they rubber-stamp the Plan.

  • Here’s an idea that makes about as much sense as the dim/lib plan for Anchorage to positively impact “climate change”. Just install a great big “switch”, so the dims can turn off the sun (the true cause of “climate change”) for about half the time. No more ridiculous than current plans to fleece the populace, with little or no results. Like Shakespeare said: “Hell is empty. All the devils are here”. (That’s a quote).

  • Carbon dioxide is NEEDED for all plants to grow. Plants breath carbon dioxide and exhale ……oxygen.

    This desire to suffocate plant life does not make the green team seen as if they understand the basic science of the symbiosis of nature.

    • The carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are at their highest levels in 3 million years, Irish lass. Pretty hard to see anyone choking off plant life at these levels. Heheh!

      • Carbon dioxide is essential for all life on Earth. Research shows current levels of about 400ppm are approximately one third the optimum for most plants. Empirical evidence from CO2 levels injected into commercial greenhouses indicate optimum yields at levels between 1000 and 1200 ppm. Interestingly this is the average level of the last 300 million years.

        • What would be the average level (number) of humans over the last 300 million years?

  • Smart people better wake up and put a stop to this BS or we will all have to leave our good mayor holding the bag.

  • I think the acronym CAP is inaccurate. A better choice is CLimate Action Plan, or CLAP. The mayor and the assembly have given Anchorage residents the CLAP.

  • Anthropogenic Global Climate Change is a hoax. Should we reduce pollution – yes, we like breathing cleaner air. We can start by putting out forest fires and levering the San Andreas Fault into the Pacific – strike that, they’d just try to move to Alaska and bring their filth with them… Climate change (it’s not warming…) is caused by cycles upon cycles of naturally occurring phenomena ad infinitum. Not too long ago, the cry was “We’ve got to stop global cooling!” Anchorage residents and businesses – you don’t like your high taxes now – well, you ain’t seen nothin’ The quality of life will degrade significantly under this plan – this CLAP, thank you Bob.

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