ADOPTING PARIS AGREEMENT BY DECREE
Gov. Bill Walker this morning signed an administrative order this week establishing the Alaska Climate Change Strategy and the Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team (Leadership Team), which will be charged with taking actions to address climate change.
The State will engage with national and international partners to support the goals of the United Nations 2015 Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goal #13, “Climate Action.”
This fall, Walker hired a top climate change adviser who is commuting to work from Seattle to Juneau by jet to serve in his cabinet. Nikoosh Carlo will be the cabinet’s point person for the climate change team.
According to the draft order obtained by Must Read Alaska, the Alaska Climate Change Strategy “should encourage community input and collaborate with local and regional governments, indigenous organizations, private sector entities, nonprofit organizations, and educational and academic institutions. Climate solutions should provide equitable support to communities impacted most by climate change. In addition, State leadership should ensure that Alaskan communities and businesses have the support necessary to benefit from the educational and economic opportunities created by the global response to climate change.”
The leadership team will address:
• Mitigation: Actions to reduce, sequester, and offset greenhouse gas emissions to decrease our carbon footprint.
• Adaptation: Actions to evaluate risks and adopt measures to address or reduce the vulnerability of Alaska’s citizens, environment, and infrastructure to climate change impacts.
• Research: Actions to support and bolster monitoring, observing, modeling, scientific analysis, data sharing, planning, innovation, and public outreach and education related to climate change and mitigation and adaptation strategies.
• Response: Actions to plan and train for timely and robust responses to protect and address near-term threats to Alaska’s communities and regions from current consequences and impacts of climate change, including, but not limited to, ocean acidification, coastal erosion, storm impacts, oil and other toxic spills, and infrastructure damage.
Further, the Leadership Team may consider these and other themes in the context of climate change:
- Renewable energy and energy efficiency
- Social, health, and economic assessment
- Economic opportunity and technological innovation
- Infrastructure and the built environment
- Increasing collaboration and information sharing
- Risk communication and planning
- Human capacity building
- Community engagement and resilience
- Emergency response and immediate action
The Leadership Team shall identify measures to attract financial and human resources to the state, the University of Alaska, nonprofit organizations, and other organizations working to address climate change in Alaska with the aim to meet and expand the goals of this strategy.
The Team will present Walker a preliminary plan of action before Sept. 1, 2018 and an annual report in subsequent years.
The order directs State agencies to “prioritize, develop, implement and recommend actions that further the purpose of this Order including regulatory and statutory changes as may be timely and appropriate.”
The team will be made up of 15 public members, as well as a representative from the University of Alaska, a representative from the Alaska Energy Authority, and the Commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development and the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation; each commissioner may designate a representative. The Governor may appoint commissioners of other departments as members of the Leadership Team.
The Leadership Team will meet at the call of the Governor or the chair, as may be required. The chair may invite non-members, create and dissolve committees of non-member subject matter experts, and otherwise facilitate the work of the Leadership Team.
The governor’s administrative order repeals Gov. Sarah Palin’s Climate Change subcabinet as detailed in Administrative Order 238.
The governor signed the order in Juneau this morning at an unpublicized press conference.