Obama using Alaska to add urgency to his climate change warnings

31 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Alaskans concerned Obama visit a ploy to highlight green legacy.

The U.S. agreed earlier this month to allow Royal Dutch Shell Plc to resume Arctic oil exploration, yet state officials say it may not be enough to save the 800-mile (1,300-kilometer) pipeline, Alaska’s economic lifeline for the past 40 years.Obama leaves Monday for a three-day visit to the 49th state in which he will speak at a State Department climate change conference and become the first president to visit the Alaska Arctic.

President Obama on Monday will begin a three-day trip to Alaska to hike on a glacier and call attention to climate change, amid concern from Alaskans and the oil and gas industry that the president merely wants to use the resource-rich state as backdrop to burnish his legacy as an environmentalist.Forward of a three-day journey to Alaska that begins Monday, President Obama is thrusting local weather turn into the highlight, warning of the risks international warming presents for the USA. “If one other nation threatened to wipe out an American city, we might do every part in our energy to guard ourselves,” Mr.

With melting glaciers and rising seas as his backdrop, President Barack Obama will go to subsequent week to press for pressing international motion to fight local weather change, whilst he rigorously calibrates his message in a state closely depending on oil. Efforts to limit drilling and dwindling volumes on the line may eventually make it difficult to move crude at all. “We have an oil pipeline that’s two-thirds empty,” Walker, a Republican-turned-independent, said in a telephone interview from Anchorage. “It’s easy for people to predict what will or won’t happen, but as governor I can’t take that chance. The president will highlight Alaska’s retreating glaciers to lend urgency to his campaign to reduce carbon emissions, which are blamed for rising temperatures, as he tries to build momentum for a global deal to cut greenhouse gases at a United Nations conference in Paris in December.

Obama will turn out to be the primary sitting president to go to the Alaska Arctic when he travels to Kotzebue — inhabitants round three,000 — simply north of the Arctic Circle on the finish of his three-day journey. Right now, about 75 percent of our revenue comes from that oil pipeline.” Spanning mountains, rivers and caribou ranges, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline — the world’s largest private-construction project when built for $8 billion in the 1970s — symbolizes the paradox of an energy- and wilderness-rich state. More than 3.5 trillion tons of water have melted off of Alaska’s glaciers since 1959, when Alaska first became a state, studies show — enough to fill more than 1 billion Olympic-sized pools.

Obama visits Alaska this week for an Arctic perspective on climate change. “The actions of this administration seem destined to shut down our Trans-Alaska Pipeline,” Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairwoman, said in February after the Interior Department announced plans to restrict drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and curb development in federal Arctic waters. Obama approaches his final year in office, he has stopped even paying lip service to fossil fuel production in the U.S. “There has been a very clear shift in the administration’s position,” said Louis Finkel, vice president of government relations at the American Petroleum Institute. “In the first four years, you heard a lot of rhetoric about an ‘all of the above’ energy policy. He touted U.S. and Chinese language negotiations to set “formidable” local weather targets and stated it was “an excellent signal” forward of December’s international local weather summit in Paris. The unambiguous objective of the president’s journey is to make use of dramatic and alarming modifications to Alaska’s local weather to instill recent urgency into his international warming agenda.

Sea ice is melting, important permafrost is thawing and Alaska’s cherished glaciers are liquefying — highly effective visuals that Obama hopes will illustrate the menace to pure wonders and livelihoods and function a worldwide name to motion. In far northern Barrow, the upper part of the ground is 7 degrees warmer than it was in the late 1950s and getting closer to the melt point in the summer, data shows. Bill Walker said he wants to talk to the president about the state’s “economic climate change,” a reference to the drop in global oil prices and the resulting hit to the state’s budget.

Each the state authorities and its residents rely deeply on oil revenues to remain afloat, and falling have already created a critical finances deficit. Energy Department’s statistical arm. “The pipeline is not shutting down any time soon,” Pamela Miller, head of research firm Arctic Connections in Fairbanks, Alaska, said by phone. However, he stated, America’s financial system nonetheless depends largely on fossil fuels, and “so long as that is the case, I consider we should always rely extra on home manufacturing than on overseas imports, and we should always demand the very best security requirements within the business – our personal.” “We do not rubber-stamp permits,” the president added. “We made it clear that Shell has to satisfy our excessive requirements in how they conduct their operations.” In their very own video, Republicans continued to knock the president for negotiating a nuclear cope with Iran that ensures Tehran will get “a money bonanza” after financial sanctions are lifted. “Iran does not behave just like the peaceable nations which have nuclear packages,” Rep. Brian Deese, Obama’s senior adviser, sought to strike a stability between Alaska’s economics wants and the president’s aim to ultimately part out fossil fuels. “That is a transition that isn’t going to occur in a single day,” Deese stated.

TAPS can run “for another 30 to 50 more years without opening up special areas.” Volume on the pipeline, which funnels crude to Valdez in the south from Prudhoe Bay in the north, has declined with North Slope oil production during the past three decades. Ed Royce, R-California, stated in a Saturday. “Why does this settlement deal with it like one?” “Iran will get a money bonanza, it will get a lift to its worldwide standing and a path towards nuclear weapons,” the Home Overseas Affairs Committee chair added. Within the meantime, he added, “oil and fuel will stay necessary elements of our general power combine.” Forward of Obama’s go to, state Republican leaders emphasised the necessity for extra power improvement and urged Obama to not exploit the state’s beautiful surroundings for political functions. Flows are dropping about 5 percent a year and slid to 513,441 barrels a day in 2014 from a peak of 2 million in 1988, according to operator Anchorage-based Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. Arctic Slope Regional Corp., an Alaska Native regional corporation, owns subsurface rights to land within ANWR, and Kaktovik Inupiat Corp. owns the surface rights.

And scientists say those things are happening — at least partly and probably mostly — because of another thing they can measure: Alaska’s temperature. Alyeska is already using heat to prevent freezing and water pooling in the line and small devices called “pigs” to remove wax that can build up when volumes are low, Barrett said. “It’s not like there’s some shutoff point, some magic flowthrough,” the University of Alaska’s Knapp said. “The smaller the flowthrough, the higher the cost.” Three major oil companies — BP Plc, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil Corp. — mostly fund Alyeska, and Chevron Corp.’s Unocal unit has a 1.4 percent stake. “It is difficult to forecast when it will no longer be feasible to operate the pipeline” because that depends on variable factors including taxes and the price of oil, Andrea Urbanek, a ConocoPhillips spokeswoman, said by e-mail. Alaska’s yearly average temperature has jumped 3.3 degrees since 1959 and the winter average has spiked 5 degrees since statehood, according to federal records. Benjamin Nageak, a Barrow Democrat who was born in ANWR and is a member of the Inupiat tribe, objected to the president’s proposal when it was announced earlier this year. “We have thousands and thousands of acres of land that our people in the state of Alaska, especially in ANWR, have title to, and [they] cannot even use that resource to enrich themselves,” Mr.

When you give the people the ability to enrich themselves, you don’t lock up their lands so they don’t do anything else but just sit on it, and nothing comes out of it except the renewable resources that we depend on.” In New Orleans last week to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the president said the effects of climate change are forcing coastal communities to become more “resilient,” and the government needs to take an array of preventative steps to protect them. “We’re going to see more extreme weather events as the result of climate change — deeper droughts, deadlier wildfires, stronger storms,” Mr. Some Alaskans are expecting the president to enjoy essentially a three-day-long photo op in their state, where he has only stopped previously to refuel Air Force One on his way to foreign lands. “He is coming to use us to further his agenda,” Michael Dingman of Anchorage wrote in an op-ed for Alaska Dispatch News. “He is coming with a closed mind, to find areas to take photos and video as a backdrop to make a more convincing argument that development in Alaska should be further restricted.” Mr. From 1959 to 1993, Alaska’s glaciers lost 57 billion tons of ice a year, but that jumped to almost 83 billion tons a year since 1994, according to Anthony Arendt, who co-authored a study on the subject this July.

Dingman told The Washington Times in an email: “Many development issues, such as ANWR and mining projects, are crucial to Alaska’s survival and many Alaskans feel as if we are treated as a colony in that sense. And while there may be many factors involved in glacier melt, all but about five of Alaska’s 25,000 glaciers are shrinking, said University of Alaska Fairbanks glacier expert Regine Hock. Obama does plan to show the federal government’s harmony with the state’s native people, the White House announced Sunday, in an iconic and religious way — by renaming Mount McKinley. Alaskans for years have called the mountain Denali, and the word isn’t unheard-of in the Lower 48, in part because “Denali” is the name of the national park in which it is located.

But its official U.S. government designation has been Mount McKinley after the 25th U.S. president, William McKinley, who was assassinated early in his second term. By 2006, aerial surveys had found spruce bark beetles had killed mature white spruce trees on 4.4 million acres following mild winters and hot summers. White House aides say the president won’t be deterred by opposition to his agenda on energy either, which they say comes primarily from fossil fuel interests.

It’s a problem because sometimes the plants and animals don’t quite match up — caribou, for example, born before the plants they eat, according to the USGS. The record warmth this spring has “turned the state into a melting pot, almost literally,” said Jake Weltzin, who runs the USGS program tracking changes in plant and animal timing. “It’s an enormous experiment.”

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