Begich Dismayed with Department of the Interior Decision to Exclude Alaska in Climate Change Talks
“Alaska is Ground Zero” for Climate Change, Calls on DOI to Correct Oversight
Calling Alaska “ground zero” for the impacts of climate change, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today expressed dismay with the Department of the Interior (DOI) for not including an Alaskan on their 25-member Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science and asked that they act swiftly to correct the oversight by including a qualified Alaskan on the committee.
In a letter written to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Begich pointed out the widespread impacts of climate change in Alaska:
“Over the past 50 years, Alaska temperatures have increased nearly 4 degrees; twice the warming rate in the Lower-48 over the same period…Climate change is also opening the Arctic to new resource development, shipping and tourism opportunities. Virtually every federal department is currently engaged in some aspect of reviewing and devising contingency plans for a warming Arctic.”
“We understand the Department of the Interior undertook a modest effort to generate interest in the Advisory Committee, but did not contact my office, which would have been glad to help. The failure to include any of the scores of knowledgeable Alaskans, who are experts in the impacts of climate change, in America's only Arctic state just doesn't make sense.”