Barack Obama to Wage Climate Fight at Alaskan Frontline

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

How Obama Can Be the New Teddy Roosevelt.

It will produce a photo-opportunity similar to David Cameron’s 2006 husky expedition when the then Tory opposition leader sought to underline his party’s green credentials and determination to deal with global warming.The American President’s itinerary may include a hike across the Exit Glacier in the Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska, White House officials said Friday.WASHINGTON — Native Alaskans are delivering a welcome message as President Barack Obama travels to the state, asking him to “continue to support Arctic energy development.” The Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, which represents some 12,000 Alaska natives and holds the rights to about 5 million North Slope acres, is running a 30-second television ad across the state stressing the importance of energy development in the state.

Bill Walker ticks down the things he wants President Obama to see in visiting this vast northern state starting on Monday, and glorious glacial vistas are not at the top of the list. The visit to the glacier, which has experienced significant melting in recent years, fits in with the broader purpose of Obama’s visit: to highlight the ways in which climate change is affecting individuals, communities and the American economy. It is isolated from the Lower 48, but as home to some of the most crucial ecosystems of our planet, Alaska has a deep-seated connection with nature that makes us unique.

Donald Trump, the front-runner in the race to win the nomination, has made his views clear on Twitter, railing against what he called the “Global Warming Hoax”. The National Park is a vital pillar of the Alaskan economy by way of tourism, and climate change threatens to derail the stream of visitors the Park sees every year. In advance of his trip, the President laid out a stark picture of collapsing glaciers, rapidly melting Arctic sea ice and indigenous communities inundated by rising seas. “What’s happening in Alaska isn’t just a preview of what will happen to us if we don’t take action,” Mr.

The spot describes Arctic resource development as “vital” to Alaskans, but warns that “Washington policies threaten our survival and our economy.” Over footage of environmentalists in kayaks clustered around a Shell-contracted drilling rig, the advertisement decries “outsiders” who “try to speak for Alaskans,” but don’t understand their way of life. The trip is the latest in a long line of recent Obama initiatives to battle climate change, including his endorsement of solar energy and a new Clean Power Plan that aims at a 32% cut in carbon emissions by 2030.

It’s an unusually visible and political move for the ASRC, which has ties to Shell’s ongoing drilling in the Arctic Ocean by virtue of a 2014 agreement that gives six North Slope Inupiat village corporations an option to buy into the company’s oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea. As part of the three-day trip, Obama will deliver a keynote address at an international conference about climate change in the Arctics and interact with local fishermen in Dillingham, a major hub of the salmon industry.

Walker points out that law enforcement, education and transportation — all crucial in a state with roadless areas larger than Texas — were all severely hit as a fifth of the state budget got redlined out earlier this year, and billions more in cuts loom for next year. “I’d show him the number of employees we’ve laid off, the troopers we’ve laid off, the trooper stations we’ve closed, the brand-new helicopters that we’re putting into storage — taking the blades off because we can’t afford to operate them on search and rescue,” said Mr. Mr Obama is to be a keynote speaker at an Arctic climate change conference in Anchorage, which will also be attended by a number of other governments, including Britain. Obama, who has already struck a major bilateral pact with China to cut carbon emissions and is expected to try to press for even greater global effort in Paris later this year, wants northern nations to act. Walker, a former lawyer and businessman who was elected last year as a political independent. “It’s real, and it’s not a slight adjustment.” As Mr. But despite the President’s determination to bolster his green credibility he has faced criticism from environmentalists after Royal Dutch Shell was given approval by the US government to resume oil exploration in the Alaskan Arctic.

Obama comes north for what the White House has described as an examination of the effects of climate change, Alaska is battling over oil — its chief source of revenue — and the thorny implications of drilling. Obama’s call for immediate action to cut emissions and protect the Arctic – will attend the Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience (GLACIER).

The changes are happening at an alarming rate, but even beyond the practical concerns of infrastructure at risk from the melt or water worries, Alaska’s climate carries real meaning for its people. Oil prices have fallen to multiyear lows, and production has declined from aging oil fields — with consequences rippling through a state that pays for just about everything with taxes from oil. Only two countries – Canada and Russia, where resource exploitation, not curbing carbon emissions, is the top Arctic priority – won’t send a minister to hear Mr. As Gwich’in Athabascan women and mothers we carry with us the responsibility to maintain our vibrant culture for our children and our children’s children. The Obama administration’s official recommendation of a Wilderness designation for the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was a huge step in the right direction—the sort of strong action that we need to see more of from leaders across the globe.

Alas, it is only a “recommendation” and stronger protections are needed immediately to counter the rush for resources that is taking place all over the Arctic. Walker said, he hoped to help the president understand Alaska’s dependence, because of climate and geography, on what can be extracted from the land or sea.

We depend on the bounty of what lives here to stay alive, be it the porcupine caribou herds migrating across the plains or the schools of fish in the oceans. And Republican Representative Don Young warned the President not “to pander to extreme interest groups using Alaska as a poster child for their reckless agenda.” Even some environmental activists have accused Mr. Recent tumult in global stock and energy markets has added further urgency, as doubts about economic growth in China and around the world have clouded Alaska’s future. Obama of hypocrisy in his new-found interest in Alaska. “Climate leaders don’t drill in the Arctic,” the group Credo said in a searing parody of Mr.

An Alaska Native tribal group with investments in Arctic leases also began a statewide television advertising campaign this week to coincide with the president’s visit. The tribe asserts that, contrary to the idea that drilling threatens native life, energy development is crucial to paying for the services that tribes depend on in remote places. But it remains unclear how much change he can force, especially given widespread opposition in Congress, where some prominent Republicans remain unconvinced by the overwhelming evidence that carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels are the prime driver of global warming. “Climate change once seemed like a problem for future generations but for most Americans, it is already a reality, deeper droughts, and longer wildfire seasons, some of our cities even flood,” Mr.

But that he is coming here specifically to look at climate change implications also suggests to many people an agenda that does not necessarily include Alaska’s economic interests. We hope that Obama hears firsthand from our Alaska Native communities the impacts we are facing due to climate change and that he takes this visit as an opportunity to take further actions. The President seems all but certain to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, despite Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s relentless lobbying and his insistence that approval is a “no brainer.” Environmentalists turned Keystone XL into a test of Mr. Obama’s credibility on climate change, saying the scheme to funnel carbon-heavy Alberta oil sands crude to U.S. ports and refineries would spur development of the world’s dirtiest oil.

The Obama administration has also encouraged wind and solar generation with billions worth of tax breaks and subsidies, sometimes funding companies that went bankrupt.

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