• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 13s

Episode 30: Climate change, uncertain future

By KTVA Alaska 6:23 PM November 22, 2015

The impact of climate change on Alaska can be an overwhelming subject. But this week on Frontiers, we take a few bites out of it.

KTVA anchor Emily Carlson and photojournalist Carolyn Hall spent a week in the Northwest Arctic community of Kivalina, where rapid erosion threatens its very existence.

They heard about changes in seal migration patterns caused by declining ice, which, in turn, threatens the culture of the people. Without the animals, elders say, how will they pass on their traditions to the younger generation?

Emily and Carolyn also captured what it’s like to be a community in limbo, where there’s no appetite to invest in deteriorating infrastructure, but also no funding to move to a new location.

Or when there is funding, there’s always a Catch-22. Kivalina, for example, has money for a new school to be built on higher ground but none for a road to get there. Another paradox: federal assistance is available after a disaster has occurred but not necessarily to prevent it — which might save money in the long run.

One of our guests this week is Michael Black, director of rural utility management for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. He gives us an overview of some of the growing costs of climate change elsewhere in Alaska — such as river erosion, which degrades water supplies, and shifting permafrost, which causes water and sewer systems to fail.

Black has the unique perspective of having headed up former Gov. Sarah Palin’s sub-cabinet on climate change. The group prioritized communities for relocation and began the process of identifying the consequences of warming temperatures in the Arctic. They also developed plans to mitigate the impacts. The sub-cabinet went dormant during former Gov. Sean Parnell’s administration.

Also joining us on Frontiers is Robin Bronen, director of the Alaska Institute for Justice, which has been looking at the human rights issues that may arise in some of the proposed relocations. Bronen would like to see more coordination of agency responses to climate change.

In a Web Extra interview, Black and Bronen go into more depth about the consequences of climate change and how we might respond.

We talk a lot about frontiers on this show. Adapting to climate change may well be one of the biggest and most challenging frontiers our state has ever faced.

This program only looks at the tip of the iceberg. The underlying issues are huge and make for an uncertain future for many communities across the state. We hope we can revisit this issue in the future.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Petition circling to stop Mat-Su school district from outsourcing custodial, cafeteria positions

    by Sierra Starks on Mar 27, 21:00

    Faced with a $10 million budget deficit, cuts sometimes have to be made beyond the classroom, says Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District (MSBSD) assistant superintendent Luke Fulp. As a “viable option to help reduce ongoing expenses and financial obligations,” the district is looking to outsource its custodian and nutrition service workers. In February, the MSBSD voted 4 to 3 […]

  • News

    Be ready: Expert warns to be prepared before a tsunami strikes

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 27, 20:08

    It’s Tsunami Preparedness Week, a reminder to be ready in case a natural disaster like the 1964 earthquake and tsunamis happens again. Paul Whitmore, the director of the National Tsunami Warning Center, says the week’s events include a test of the tsunami warning system. He said in 1964, most of the victims had no warning of […]

  • Politics

    Lawmaker introduces tax on opioid prescriptions

    by Liz Raines on Mar 27, 19:45

    Last month, Gov. Bill Walker declared Alaska’s opioid epidemic a disaster. Now, a member of the Alaska House is proposing a tax on prescription drugs to help remedy the issue. Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins’ House Bill 196 raises revenue directed toward treatment and rehabilitation programs for opioid abuse. At $.01 per morphine milligram, Kreiss-Tomkins says the goal isn’t […]

  • Politics

    Senate calls for 5% education cut, balks at putting it in budget bill for public critique

    by Liz Raines on Mar 27, 19:45

    Public testimony on the Alaska Senate’s version of the state budget is closed, but Alaskans still haven’t seen cuts made to one of the biggest pieces — education. For weeks, the Republican majority has called for a 5-percent cut to the state’s four largest departments: Health and Social Services, Transportation, the University of Alaska, and […]

  • News

    Father and son look back at 1964 earthquake

    by Melissa Frey on Mar 27, 19:21

    It’s been 53 years since an earthquake changed the landscape of downtown Anchorage. It was recent enough to remember, but long enough ago to learn some important lessons along the way. In the last five decades, the scientific and engineering community has used what it’s learned from the ’64 quake to make buildings stronger and safer. The ground […]

  • Lifestyle

    Bureau of Land Management announces digital Alaska maps for outdoor excursions

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 27, 18:51

    The Bureau of Land Management is making it easier to take maps into the backcountry. The agency launched a series of digital maps that can be downloaded to a smart phone or tablet through the Avenza Maps app. The first eight maps range from the Steese Conservation Area to the Unalakleet National Wild River. “There’s also […]

  • Politics

    Meet the candidates: District 3 – Seat E – West Anchorage

    by Daniella Rivera on Mar 27, 16:31

    KTVA invited every registered candidate running in the upcoming Anchorage municipal election to an on-camera interview at our studios to discuss the following topics: Balancing the budget Public safety Introducing new taxes Addressing homelessness in Anchorage Plans for the future We also asked each candidate to submit a 300-word biography, each of which has been […]

  • News

    Mat-Su school board president says superintendent’s resignation was for personal reasons

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 27, 16:23

    Last updated at 8:45 p.m. on Monday, March 27 The school board held an emergency meeting Monday evening to discuss the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District (MSBSD) superintendent’s “pending immediate resignation.” Superintendent Gene Stone’s resignation was not initially announced by the district, but was outlined in a resolution considered at the emergency meeting. Stone’s resignation comes only a […]