Renewable Energy Action — The Feb. Climate Newsletter

Written by Matt Jackson

February 13, 2023

In this month’s Southeast Alaska Climate Report, we have urgent action on the Renewable Energy Fund this week. So let’s jump right in!

Alaska Climate Alliances Lands Big in Juneau

Regular readers of the newsletter will know that SEACC has been a core member of the Alaska Climate Alliance (ACA) since its inception in 2020.

Last week, the ACA had its first big public showing, bringing in 16 climate activists from across the state, from Dillingham to Ketchikan, to Juneau. We held 83 separate meetings with legislators of all persuasions, all building support for our four policy priorities — the Renewable Energy Fund, the Green Bank, the Renewable Portfolio Standard, and Community Solar.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Rep. Bryce Edgmon and Rep. Calvin Schrage cosponsored HB62, the companion bill to SB33 to extend the Renewable Energy Fund for another 10 years, the Monday after our visits! Now, this week there will be hearings in both chambers on the REF bills. The Senate will take public testimony in Room 205 on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., and the House will hold its hearing with public testimony in Room 124 on Thursday at 10:15 a.m.! If you’re in Juneau, packing these committee hearings and testifying in person is a powerful show of grassroots support!

If you’re not in Juneau, you can still call in by dialing 844-586-9085, which is essentially the capital switchboard, and ask them to transfer you to the appropriate bill or hearing — in this case, Senate Resources/SB33 on Wednesday at 3:30 or House Energy/HB62 on Thursday at 10:15. Make sure to call a few minutes before the hearings are scheduled to begin.

I’ll also make one last pitch to sign our petition to fully fund the REF, to be submitted to the House and Senate resources committees this week, at long last. If you haven’t signed yet, this is your last chance!

Please help SEACC and the ACA keep up our momentum in support of the REF and the rest of our climate platform by taking a stand for the REF this week.

Make a Deposit in the SeaBank

Switching gears to the big picture, I always look forward to the annual SeaBank report because it lays out in stark, economic detail the value of Southeast Alaska’s natural landscapes. Its premise is simple: Southeast Alaska is worth more than the sum of its extractable parts, and if we look a little deeper, we can actually quantify that worth.

Just a few examples:

  • Each hectare (2.5 acres) of wetlands in Southeast Alaska, like the one between Juneau and Douglas, produces an average of $1,000 of seafood, mostly by supporting juvenile salmon habitat.
  • In a no-logging scenario between now and the year 2100, forests in Southeast would capture and store an extra 300 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. For scale, that’s the equivalent of taking 65 million gasoline cars off the roads, or $15.3 billion worth of carbon stored, if you use the Environmental Protection Agency’s very conservative calculation of the social cost of carbon emissions.

These annual reports are chock full of great science and useful facts, so I hope you’ll make a “deposit” in the SeaBank by reading the full document and considering a donation to the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust, which sponsors the reports.

Climate Solutions in Southeast

SEACC has been working to protect natural climate solutions (aka, just working with nature to let nature do its thing) since WAY before it was cool. For instance, we’ve had no small part in making sure as much value is stewarded in the SeaBank for future generations as possible. If we care about climate change, the best thing we can do in Southeast Alaska is to keep as many trees standing and growing as feasible. 

There are community considerations, too. Cultural wood must always be accessible, a select amount of value-added timber products are advantageous to our economy, and we also need government support to transition our energy systems into the future.

Here at SEACC, we’re absolutely stoked to be continuing that work, across all of our programs, to ensure the best stewardship of these lands possible.

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