I have to respect Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Joe Manchin for the recent ADN op-ed in which they spoke out and pushed forward on climate change solutions. As an Alaskan, I see the grave risks that climate change has created in our state. Most of these are not extreme “weather” events, but a long emergency — the kinds of things Sen. Murkowski refers to: relocation of whole communities; sea level rise; the melting of permafrost and sinking of roads, buildings and utilities; greater wildfire risk; invasive pests and plants; the loss of recreation and wildlife; and the collapse of fisheries. Each of these represents a cost and a loss to Alaskans.
The two senators have done well to encourage “ideas that will bring people together, rather than drive them apart.” I think most people agree that climate solutions must bridge the divide between parties so that workable solutions can emerge.
A great example of such a workable solution is the bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, or HR 763, introduced in the U.S. House. It will cut carbon emissions on the trajectory needed to stop the most dire climate consequences, put money in people’s pockets, and it is bipartisan. HR 763 is what America needs: “pragmatic policies that can draw strong and enduring support.”
Earth is our Eden, and Alaska is our part of it. We do have a chance to preserve it for future generations if we act swiftly and decisively. And act we must. I hope that Sen. Murkowski will continue to speak to Alaskans as well as her colleagues in Congress to unite around climate action. I hope that Sen. Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young will join her.
— George Donart
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