Trump’s Climate Change Denial Spells Doom For Alaska [Opinion]

Unspoiled Alaskan wilderness with trees and mountains
Skitterphoto / Pexels

The newest National Climate Assessment report was released this month, and it’s pretty dire. The document shows that Alaska is experiencing threats to wildlife, a reduced ice cover and record high temperatures. Alaska is getting warmer twice as fast as everywhere else in the world.

And that’s pretty fast.

In the words of one CNN reporter, “Alaska is ground zero for climate change.”

Entire Alaskan villages are already sinking into the ocean.

The climate is just one huge threat to Alaska. Donald Trump himself is another. Trump wants to open the coastal plain for oil drilling. This part of Alaska has been an Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for generations.

In a part of the world already being devastated by climate change, Trump is going to add an influx of carbon monoxide that would roughly be the equivalent of 776 million cars spewing fumes into the air.

Trump’s plan threatens the Porcupine caribou, an animal that accounts for 80 percent of the diet of the Gwich’in people who live in the area. The caribou have followed the same migratory paths for centuries. If Trump has his way, oil drills will soon take their place.

The Gwich’in people have been in Alaska for thousands of years, far longer than European settlers have been in the Americas.

As the president, Trump received the climate change report.

“I don’t believe it,” he said.

The report found that climate change will ultimately cost hundreds of billions of dollars annually and damage overall health, according to the BBC.

On Monday, Trump said he read “some of” the climate change report released on Friday. It was put together by a number of U.S. government agencies. As recently as October, Donald Trump said that climate change scientists have a “political agenda.” Previously, Trump has said that climate change is a “hoax.”

A report was released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October. This is a multinational, multi-government panel of expert scientists in numerous fields, and its predictions were frightening. Their report said that if drastic and immediate changes are not made, the Earth will experience famine, death, and massive coastline changes.

The National Wildlife Refuge Association says that the refuge has been trying to prevent oil and gas development in the area for 37 years. In addition to the caribou, the refuge is home to polar bears, grizzly bears, and a huge array of animals that includes more than 200 species of birds. The refuge is also incredibly beautiful, an area encompassing more than 19 million acres of wilderness.

“Drilling equipment and accompanied infrastructure would devastate the fragile Arctic landscape and harm refuge wildlife. Any leaks and spills, large or small, would exacerbate these damages and forever impair this American wilderness,” the website says.