This page provides an overview of the steps Alaska is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.
On September 14, 2007, Governor Sarah Palin established the Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet in order to advise the Office of the Governor in preparing and implementing a climate change strategy for the state (Administrative Order No. 238). The Sub-Cabinet included commissioners from five state agencies and was tasked with developing recommendations designed to help communities prepare for the anticipated impacts of climate change and to guide Alaska’s participation in efforts to address the causes of climate change. An Adaptation Advisory Group was responsible for developing recommendations to address impacts of climate change in Alaska, and submitted its recommendations to the Sub-Cabinet on January 27, 2010. The final 2010 plan, Alaska’s Climate Change Strategy: Addressing Impacts in Alaska (Strategy), recommends a variety of steps to address the current and anticipated impacts of climate change.
In January 2015, the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission, which was created by the State legislature in 2012, submitted a final report recommending an Arctic Policy that reflects a commitment to continuing and improving efforts to respond to climate change, and to valuing and enhancing the resilience of Arctic communities. Concurrently, legislation was introduced to establish an Alaska Arctic Policy that aligned with the report’s findings and recommendations; HB 1 was passed and signed by Governor Walker in May 2015. In keeping with the Commission’s recommendations, the legislatively established Alaska Arctic Policy (Ak. Stat. 44.99.105) declares, among other policies, that it is the policy of the State to sustain and develop new approaches for responding to climate change, and adapt to related challenges including coastal erosion, permafrost melt, and ocean acidification.
Also in 2015, Alaska’s Governor Bill Walker and the Premier Christy Clark of British Columbia, Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), agreeing to work together towards certain goals, including climate change adaptation. Although the MOU is not legally binding, it reflects Alaska’s commitment to collaboration with neighboring jurisdictions on climate issues.
Alaska Climate Change Policy
On October 31, 2017, Governor Bill Walker issued Administrative Order No. 289, revoking the 2007 Administrative Order (No. 238) that established the Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet, to create a new 20-person Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team and an Alaska Climate Change Strategy. Governor Walker’s AO 289 directs the Leadership Team to build on existing research and recommendations for addressing climate change, and further explore areas of climate change mitigation, adaptation, research, and response, and their intersections. The Leadership Team is in the process of implementing the requirements of AO 289, starting with development of an Alaska Climate Change Policy, which was released in draft in spring 2018. The draft Policy includes a vision statement and five policy statements, each with associated goals and objectives; the policy statements focus on governance, data, adaptation, and response measures to facilitate resilience; private sector involvement in a clean energy and the green economy; decarbonization through energy efficiency, renewable energy, and electrification; implementing adaptation and mitigation measures that build on best available science, Indigenous knowledge, and economic considerations; and making or facilitating investments that align with climate objectives.
Alaska is in the process of implementing the goals set forth in Governor Walker’s AO. Since it was issued, the State launched a new climate change website that documents state policies and efforts relating to climate action, adaptation, research, and response. The state Department of Environmental Conservation previously maintained a website on climate change in Alaska following Governor Palin’s 2007 AO, but that site was not updated regularly between 2010 and 2017 and is now archived.
These pages highlight the progress Alaska is making toward its statewide adaptation plan. Other resources from the Adaptation Clearinghouse, which have been developed and adopted to help Alaska prepare for the impacts of climate change, are featured in the chart below.
The Georgetown Climate Center’s State Adaptation Progress Tracker, which tracks the progress states are making in implementing adaptation plans, was supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
(Research last updated: July 11, 2018).
|Resource Name||Resource Type||Date|
|Alaska Order 289: Climate Change Strategy, Climate Action Leadership Team||Law and Governance||October 31, 2017|
|Alaska Administrative Order 238: Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet (2007)||Law and Governance||September 14, 2007|
|Alaska HCR 30: Created the Alaska Climate Impact Commission (2006)||Law and Governance||May 2006|
|Resource Name||Sector(s) Covered||Date|
|Alaska Wildlife Action Plan||Biodiversity and ecosystems, Fish and fisheries, Land management and conservation, Wildlife||December 2016|
|Alaska Department of Fish and Game Climate Change Strategy||Biodiversity and ecosystems, Fish and fisheries, Land management and conservation, Wildlife||November 2010|
|Alaska's Climate Change Strategy: Addressing Impacts in Alaska||Agriculture and food, Biodiversity and ecosystems, Coastal, Fish and fisheries, Forestry, Public health, Rural, Transportation, Tribal, Frontline Communities, Water resources, Wildlife||January 2010|
|City of Homer, Alaska Climate Action Plan||December 2007|
|USACE Kivalina, Alaska Relocation Master Plan||June 2006|
|Resource Name||Resource Category||Date|
|Alaska - Climate Change Action Plan Recommendations to the Governor||Law and Governance||September 26, 2018|
|Assessment of the Potential Health Impacts of Climate Change in Alaska||Assessments||January 8, 2018|
|Alaska Climate Change Impact Mitigation Program||Funding|
|Alaska Climate Impact Assessment Commission 2008 Final Report||Assessments||March 17, 2008|