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The Alaska Climate Opportunities Assessment

Alaska

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.
Glacier Bay Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. © Melissa Machonis

Overview

Throughout the summer and fall of 2021, The Nature Conservancy in Alaska embarked on a groundbreaking new initiative – The Alaska Climate Opportunities Assessment. The Assessment seeks to identify the many opportunities available to Alaskans through bi-partisan legislation and innovative solutions that address climate change. This work is also aimed at elevating the diverse voices of Alaskans around the state who are leading efforts on climate change in a variety of sectors. Though Alaska is ground zero for climate change impacts, warming two to three times the global average, we’re also poised to lead the world in a transition to a clean, equitable and resilient economy. Over the course of this initiative, TNC Alaska has hosted seven events, convened more than one-thousand Alaskans, welcomed expert speakers, deployed social and traditional media, partnered with the McKinley Research Group to produce four papers with never before seen data about these opportunities. Follow these links to explore informative research on Renewable Energy, Resilient Housing, Resilient Communities and Natural Climate Solutions and to watch recordings of the events hosted as part of this initiative.

Alaska Fishermen on Climate

Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021 

Speakers:

  • Moderator: Ephraim Froehlich, Principal, AKWA-DC LLC; Former Senior Fisheries Policy Advisor to Alaska Governor Bill Walker and Senator Lisa Murkowski 
  • Linda Behnken, Commercial Fisherman and Executive Director of Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association
  • Julianne Curry, Commercial Fisherman & Public Affairs Manager, OBI Seafoods / Icicle Seafoods
  • Weatherly Bates, Alaska Shellfish Farms
  • Peter Westley, Associate Professor, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
  • Matt Alward, Commercial Fisherman and President of United Fishermen of Alaska

Watch the Recording: 

Alaska Fishermen on Climate: Alaska Climate Opps In this recording from Sept. 30, 2021, commercial fishermen meet with researchers, policymakers and other leaders to discuss the impact of climate change on Alaska's commercial fishery.

Alaska's Emerging Natural Climate Solutions

Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 

Speakers:

  • Moderator: Julia Nave, Conservation Forester, The Nature Conservancy in Alaska 
  • Sarah Longan, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Natural Resources - State of Alaska 
  • Julie Decker, Executive Director, Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation
  • Fred Parady, Chief Operating Officer, Huna Totem Corp.

Watch the Recording:

Alaska's Emerging Natural Climate Solutions Throughout the summer and fall of 2021, The Nature Conservancy in Alaska embarked on a groundbreaking new initiative – The Alaska Climate Opportunities Assessment. This recording from Sept. 16, 2021, focuses on Alaska's Emerging Natural Climate Solutions.

Informed by Generations: Indigenous Leadership on Climate

Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021 

Speakers:

  • Kristina Woolston, External Affairs Manager, Donlin Gold
  • Sheri Buretta, Chairman, Chugach Alaska Corporation
  • Anthony Mallott, President/CEO, Sealaska
  • Benjamin Mallott, Vice President, Alaska Federation of Natives

Watch the Recording:

Indigenous Leadership on Climate The Alaska Climate Opportunities Assessment seeks to identify the many opportunities available to Alaskans through bi-partisan legislation and innovative solutions that address climate change. This recording from Sept. 8, 2021 brings together indigenous leaders from Alaska to discuss climate.

Leading Resilient Infrastructure in Alaska

August 19, 2021

  • Moderator: Cathy Giessel, former State Senator and Senate President 
  • Hugh Short, Co-Founder and Chairman/CEO, Pt Capital
  • Jocelyn Fenton, Program Manager for Village Infrastructure Protection and Transportation Programs, Denali Commission 
  • Jackie Schaeffer, Community and Development Manager, Division of Environmental Health and Engineering, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC)
  • Bruno Grunau, Regional Director of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center at National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Watch the Recording:

Leading Resilient Infrastructure in Alaska The Alaska Climate Opportunities Assessment seeks to identify the many opportunities available to Alaskans through bi-partisan legislation and innovative solutions that address climate change. This recording from August 19, 2021, focuses on the topic of Resilient Infrastructure in Alaska.

Innovation in Alaska: The Climate Opportunities Assessment

July 29, 2021

During this 90 minute discussion, startup, innovation, and tech leaders from across Alaska discussed their mission to innovate in new sectors, bolster the Alaskan workforce, and more.

Speakers:

  • Ben Kellie, Launch Company
  • Garrett Evridge, Alaska Ocean Cluster
  • Mayor Clay Koplin, City of Cordova and Cordova Electric Cooperative
  • Isaac Vanderburg, Launch Alaska
  • Brian Holst, Juneau Economic Development Corp. 

Watch the Recording:

Innovation in Alaska During this 90 minute discussion, startup, innovation, and tech leaders from across Alaska discussed their mission to innovate in new sectors, bolster the Alaskan workforce, and more.

Alaska’s Renewable Energy Economy


July 15, 2021

During this 90-minute discussion, hear from renewable energy and tech leaders from across Alaska about their mission to increase renewable energy and access across the state and for the benefit of all.

Speakers: 

  • Moderator: Heidi Hansen, Energy & Resource Attorney
  • Curtis Thayer: Executive Director, Alaska Energy Authority 
  • Piper Foster Wilder: Founder, 60Hertz Microgrids
  • Jenn Miller: CEO, Renewable IPP
  • Gwen Holdmann: Director, Alaska Center for Energy and Power
  • Jenn Miller: CEO, Renewable IPP
  • Gwen Holdmann: Director, Alaska Center for Energy and Power
  • Chris Rose: Founder & Executive Director, Renewable Energy Alaska Project

Watch the Recording:

Alaska’s Renewable Energy Economy In this recording from July 15, hear from renewable energy and tech leaders from across Alaska about their mission to increase renewable energy and access across the state and for the benefit of all.

Young Alaskans on Climate: Climate Opportunities Assessment

June 10, 2021

In an engaging discussion, young Alaskans made it clear: They are ready for bipartisan action on climate. And these young people are particularly passionate about elevating marginalized and Indigenous voices to cultivate meaningful discussions and comprehensive solutions.

Eben Hopson, a resident of Utqiagvik and an Alaska Native whaler, noted his concerns about the effects of ocean acidification on whales, seals and polar bears in the North Slope. Michaela Stith, of Anchorage, is the author of Welp: Climate Change and Arctic Identities. She highlighted her experience working with the Arctic Council’s Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat. Also joining the session are:

Carly Dennis, Nathan Baring and Taylor Holshouser reflected on their unique experiences growing up in Alaska and their work in policy roles at the state and federal levels.

Watch the Recording:

 

Young Alaskans on Climate Young Americans of both political parties are increasingly looking for action to mitigate the worst effects of changing climate. In few places in the world are the effects of climate change felt more keenly, especially in coastal and indigenous communities.

Alaska's Climate Opportunities Briefing Papers

Learn more about Alaska’s Climate Opportunities

We have partnered with McKinley Research Group to provide independent research on Alaska’s unique opportunities to address climate change and assess the economic and political implications of recent, current and future investments and policies. These papers cover Alaska’s renewable energy economy, climate-resilient housing and infrastructure across the state and natural climate solutions.