In the continued absence of federal action on climate change, governors of Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona and New Mexico teamed together on Feb. 26 and signed a progressive agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement recognizes that these emissions, including carbon dioxide from human activities, are causing the changes to the world's climate - changes that are being felt at the state level.
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But one state is glaringly absent. Why hasn't Alaska signed onto this agreement? Not only do we feel the most intense and troubling effects of climate change of any state in the nation, but we also have the highest per capita carbon dioxide emissions in the nation, according to a recent study by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.
Alaskans may believe that the total contribution of their emissions to the overall climate problem is small. Nevertheless, the time will come when Alaska will have to ask for assistance to cope with the tremendous effects of climate change that are headed our way. We cannot expect a sympathetic ear while hoping to continue to discharge greenhouse gases that are causing the very problem we face. Alaska will need to do its part to like everyone else to reduce emissions.
Climate change is real and is a huge problem. It will take each and every one of us on this planet to address it. Let's join our sister states of the West and start now: http://www.governor.wa.gov/news/2007-02-26_WesternClimateAgreementFinal.pdf.