Climate Policy in Alaska


Alaska's Climate Change Policy Development

Abigail Steffen, Stephen Arturo Greenlaw, Maureen Biermann, and Amy Lauren Lovecraft
Published by the Center for Arctic Policy Studies in March 2021

Scientific observations have monitored High Northern environmental conditions for well over a century. Alaska Native and other Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge systems have developed over millennia to promote human prosperity under a wide range of conditions. These now show that rapidly changing environmental conditions in Alaska and the Arctic have been ongoing for over three decades. Observations reveal that ecosystems across the region have changed, affecting how people rely on food sources, plan their lives, and do their jobs. This report examines the evolution of Alaska climate change policy in the state since the first major recognition of “global warming” in the late 20th century as a threat to the livelihoods of Alaskans and the first formal climate policy in Alaska in 1990.

Over time, in the absence of comprehensive and sustained federal or state policies, there has been an emergence of local climate plans - municipal, borough, and Tribal - across the state. To assist  in understanding what climate plans have been developed, why, and what impacts they may be having, this forthcoming report identifies emerging patterns of policy motivation, funding, and activities that can be traced within and between plans, and ends with comprehensive contact information for each location and activity documented.

Existing CAPS material related to this can be found in our 2019 policy brief on Climate Plans in Alaska and our March 2021 webinar on the Development of Climate Policy in Alaska with the authors of this report.