Anchorage's First Lady appointed to state climate change team
Gov. Bill Walker has assembled a climate-change leadership team to make recommendations about state policy in accordance with an administrative order signed in October.
On Tuesday, Walker announced the names of 15 public members and 5 ex-officio members, selected out of nearly 100 applicants, for the Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team.
Anchorage's first lady, Mara Kimmel, made the list.
In a phone interview Tuesday, Kimmel said she's looking forward to working with other stakeholders from around the state on the issue. The city is in the process of drafting its own climate action plan and formalizing a greenhouse gas emission inventory, but Kimmel says it will require a state partnership to make meaningful changes.
"For example, when we're doing our emissions inventory, the biggest sources of emissions in the municipality are the airport and the military base, and those are both statewide assets. And so, of course, we can't do anything to seek to figure out how to maybe mitigate some of those emissions without working with the state," Kimmel said, adding that she hopes Anchorage can be a leader in mitigating climate change.
"Anchorage serves as a real hub for the entire state, and so, as we're talking about issues that are happening in rural Alaska and some of the challenges that rural Alaska is facing, with regard to climate change, I think it's really important that Anchorage be at the table, so that we can be prepared to assist and also to support some of the challenges that the rural communities are going through," Kimmel said.
The group also includes stakeholders from tribal organizations, such as Bristol Bay Native Association, oil giant BP, and environmental groups like Ocean Conservancy.
A member of the Center for Native American Youth Champions for Change Program is also an ex-officio member of the team. The group will meet for the first time on Monday, Dec. 18.
In his administrative order earlier this year, Walker outlined four primary topics for the group, including:
- mitigation of the state's carbon footprint
- adaptation to a changing environment
- research surrounding climate change
- response to natural disasters.
The new team is tasked with developing a preliminary action plan to address these issues by Sept. 1, 2018.
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