Under the caveat of better late than never, we should commend Gov. Bill Walker for his decision to establish a climate change strategy and leadership team to develop it.

The details aren’t exactly clear, but it appears the governor is willing to walk the tightrope between acknowledging the threat to Alaska while considering the impact his plan might have on the state’s oil and gas industry.

Among the surprises was the decision to support the goals of the Paris Agreement, after President Trump announced the U.S. would be withdrawing from the global accord.

The President has had a hard time finding support for his claim that climate change is a Chinese hoax. While he focuses on reviving the coal industry, the world is moving on without him.

If the U.S withdraws from the Paris Agreement, it will join Syria as the only developed countries not part of it. Which is why it is noteworthy that Alaska becomes the latest state to commit to the agreement’s goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And we’re joined by energy giants ExxonMobil, BP and ConocoPhillips in that commitment.

The science speaks for itself, and Alaska is ground zero.

Our coastline is disappearing. Our glaciers are retreating, and our permafrost is melting. And as it melts, it releases vast amounts of carbon and methane into the atmosphere, which scientists say could increase global warming by almost 2 degrees alone in the coming centuries.

It’s kind of hard for climate deniers to deny this -- though they will nonetheless, and that’s OK.

Their voices, like the President’s on this issue, are little more than background noise.

The State of Alaska is finally joining the rest of the world by drawing a line in the snow. A little late, for sure, but better late than never.

Because by addressing the fiscal crisis, we might determine what kind of Alaska we leave to our children. But in addressing climate change, we might help determine the kind of Alaska we’ll leave to our grandkids.

John's opinions are his own and not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.

Copyright 2017 KTVA. All rights reserved. 


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