Palin forms climate change committee

Alaska joins Western Climate Initiative

Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2007

Gov. Sarah Palin announced Friday she has created a committee to tackle and prepare for climate change.

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Palin also announced that Alaska has joined the Western Climate Initiative, a coalition of six Western states and two Canadian provinces to meet the regional challenges raised by climate change.

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For more information, visit Officials say the Web site will be up by Friday.

"Many scientists note that Alaska's climate is changing," Palin said. "We are already seeing the effects. Coastal erosion, thawing permafrost, retreating sea ice and record forest fires affect our communities and our infrastructure. Some scientists tell us to expect more changes in the future. We must begin to prepare for those changes now."

Mark Rorick, head of the Juneau chapter of the Sierra Club, said the move was to be expected, as the effects of climate change are already apparent in the Arctic.

"We are getting it first. The Arctic is warming at a much faster rate than much of the rest of the globe," Rorick said. "There's so many consequences, and it's so hard to predict them all. We just know that they are coming."

The governor's group will consolidate the state's knowledge about the expected effects of global warming in Alaska, recommend measures and policies to prepare communities and residents to respond to those effects, and guide the state's participation in efforts to curb and respond to global warming.

Members of the Climate Change Sub-Cabinet will include various state commissioners and will be chaired by the commissioner of environmental conservation.

The governor also directed the committee to consult with the president of the University of Alaska.

"I am proud of the cutting edge work being done at the university," Palin said. "Alaska has top-notch scientists working on research and models that will inform and guide climate change decisions."

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