I, Sarah Palin, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the authority of art. III, secs. 1 and 24 of the Alaska Constitution establish the Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet to advise the Office of the Governor on the preparation and implementation of an Alaska climate change strategy.
Background and Findings
Scientific evidence shows many areas of Alaska are experiencing a warming trend. Many experts predict that Alaska, along with our northern latitude neighbors, will continue to warm at a faster pace than any other state, and the warming will continue for decades. Climate change is not just an environmental issue. It is also a social, cultural, and economic issue important to all Alaskans. As a result of this warming, coastal erosion, thawing permafrost, retreating sea ice, record forest fires, and other changes are affecting, and will continue to affect, the lifestyles and livelihoods of Alaskans. Alaska needs a strategy to identify and mitigate potential impacts of climate change and to guide its efforts in evaluating and addressing known or suspected causes of climate change. Alaska’s climate change strategy must be built on sound science and the best available facts and must recognize Alaska’s interest in economic growth and the development of its resources. Commercializing Alaska’s great natural gas reserves through a new pipeline will improve the nation’s energy security while providing a clean, low carbon fuel to help the nation reduce its overall greenhouse gas emissions.
Purpose and Duties
The purpose of the Climate Change Sub-Cabinet is to advise the Office of the Governor on the preparation and implementation of an Alaska climate change strategy. This strategy should include building the state’s knowledge of the actual and foreseeable effects of climate warming in Alaska, developing appropriate measures and policies to prepare communities in Alaska for the anticipated impacts from climate change, and providing guidance regarding Alaska’s participation in regional and national efforts addressing the causes and effects of climate change.
In view of its purpose, the Climate Change Sub-Cabinet shall develop recommendations on the following:
- the assembly of scientific research, modeling, and mapping information in ways that will help the public and policymakers understand the actual and projected effects of climate change in Alaska, including the time frames in which those effects are likely to take place;
- the prioritization of climate change research in Alaska to best meet the needs of the public and policymakers;
- the most effective means of informing, and generating a dialogue with the public regarding climate change in Alaska;
- the early assessment and development of an action plan addressing climate change impacts on coastal and other vulnerable communities in Alaska;
- the policies and measures to reduce the likelihood or magnitude of damage to infrastructure in Alaska from the effects of climate change;
- the policies and measures addressing foreseeable changes to the marine environment; the quantity, quality, and location of fish and game in Alaska; and the productivity of forests and agricultural lands in Alaska due to climate change;
- the evaluation and response to the risks of new, or an increase in the frequency or severity of, disease and pests due to climate change in Alaska;
- the identification of federal and state mechanisms for financing climate change activities in Alaska, including research and adaptation projects;
- the potential benefits of Alaska participating in regional, national, and international climate policy agreements and greenhouse gas registries;
- the opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Alaska sources, including the expanded use of alternative fuels, energy conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, land use management, and transportation planning;
- aggressive efforts toward development of an Alaska natural gas pipeline to commercialize clean burning, low carbon natural gas reserves;
- the opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the operations of Alaska state government;
- the opportunities for Alaska to participate in carbon-trading markets, including the offering of carbon sequestration;
- the identification of economic opportunities for Alaska that might emerge as a result of the growing response to this global challenge;
- other policies and measures that the Climate Change Sub-Cabinet considers would help achieve the purpose of this Order.
Composition and Chairperson
The Climate Change Sub-Cabinet consists of the commissioners of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development; Department of Environmental Conservation; Department of Natural Resources; Department of Fish and Game; and Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. The Climate Change Sub-Cabinet shall consult with the President of the University of Alaska or his or her designee and the director of State/Federal Relations and Special Counsel in the Office of the Governor, Washington, D.C., or another representative designated by the governor.
The member agencies shall provide administrative support necessary to carry out this Order. In accordance with law, these agencies may enter into intergovernmental agreements or apply for federal and other grants available to accomplish the purposes of this Order.
The Climate Change Sub-Cabinet shall serve as the executive branch contact to, and a resource for, the Alaska Climate Impact Assessment Commission established by Legislative Resolve 49 (2006).
The Climate Change Sub-Cabinet may form one or more workgroups that include members of the public to assist the sub-cabinet in achieving the purpose of this Order.
At times and locations to be determined by the Climate Change Sub-Cabinet, it shall convene public meetings to present and receive comments on its draft recommendations.
Nothing in this Order is intended to limit or otherwise modify any existing or future statutory or regulatory authority of any state agency.
This Order takes effect immediately.
DATED at Juneau, Alaska, this 14th day of September, 2007.