Pledges to Focus on Climate Change Issues in Upcoming Alaska Legislative Session
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2015
ANCHORAGE – On Sunday, a coalition of nearly 200 countries agreed to a historic agreement to address the causes and impacts of global climate change during the United Nations’ Paris Climate Change Conference. The agreement allows countries to create their own plans to reduce CO2 emissions with a stipulation that the emission standards will be jointly updated in 2020.
“The Paris agreement is just one part of the larger equation to effectively address climate change,” said House Resources Committee member Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage). “The impacts in Alaska are real and documented. We are seeing bizarre weather patterns, increased coastal erosion, ocean acidification, and significant changes to our fisheries.”
The overarching goal of the Paris climate change agreement is to limit global CO2 emissions in an effort to keep global warming to 2 degrees Celsius or less. A new NOAA-sponsored report indicates that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as other areas. It also documents the changing behavior of fish and marine mammals, which is believed to be in part caused by climate change.
“As lawmakers deliberate on how to solve our troubling fiscal situation, we can’t lose sight of the significant costs associated with climate change. Billions of dollars will be needed to move villages, maintain infrastructure, and prepare for changing weather patterns,” said Rep. Tarr. “We must support the ongoing climate change and related research being done by the University of Alaska and not cut funding just as it’s needed the most.”
The University of Alaska is one of the leading organizations conducting research into ocean acidification, which is one of the most pressing impacts from climate change in the North Pacific.
Rep. Tarr is the sponsor of House Concurrent Resolution 11, which encourages the Alaska Governor to convene a climate change task force. Additionally, Rep. Tarr is working on legislation to help address the needs associated with climate change in Alaska and is hoping her colleagues on both sides of the aisle will support the effort.