Alaska Governor Calls For Increased Oil Drilling . . . To Offset Costs of Climate Change

bill_walker_official_portrait_2400-1The increasing recognition of politicians of climate change has been a welcomed change from the long denials of the past. However, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has made a curious pitch in a BBC interview: increased oil drilling to offset climate change that most people associated with oil consumption.

Walker told the BBC “We are in a significant fiscal challenge. We have villages that are washing away because of the change in the climate.” This destruction is described by Walker as “very expensive” and requires more revenue from drilling. The BBC host then asked “So you’re saying that given the climate change impacts in Alaska, you need to be allowed to continue to drill and explore and produce oil to pay for some of those impacts in Alaska?”

Walker’s responded: “Absolutely.”

The governor’s odd argument reflects the reality of a state that does not have an income or sales tax and instead draws 90% of its day-to-day expenditure from levies on the production of oil and gas. The huge Trans Alaskan Pipeline that transports oil from the northern production fields to the tanker terminal in Valdez is running at about 25% of its capacity as existing oil field production declines.

Source: BBC

70 thoughts on “Alaska Governor Calls For Increased Oil Drilling . . . To Offset Costs of Climate Change”


    This Devastating Chart Shows Why Even a Powerful El Niño Won’t Fix the Drought

    In California, news of a historically powerful El Niño oceanic warming event is stoking hopes that winter rains will ease the state’s brutal drought. But for farmers in the Central Valley, one of the globe’s most productive agricultural regions, water troubles go much deeper—literally—than the current lack of precipitation.

    That’s the message of an eye-popping report from researchers at the US Geological Survey. This chart tells the story:

    The major takeaway is that the Valley’s farms can’t maintain business as usual—eventually, the water will run out. No one knows exactly when that point will be, because, as Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at California Institute of Technology, never tires of pointing out, no one has invested in the research required to measure just how much water is left beneath the Central Valley’s farms. Of course, averting this race to the bottom of the well is exactly why the California legislature voted last year to end the state’s wild-west water-drilling free-for-all and enact legislation requiring stressed watersheds like the Central Valley’s to reach “sustainable yield” by 2040. The downward meandering red line in the above graph, in other words, will have to flatten out pretty soon, and to get there, “dramatic changes will need to be made,” the USGS report states.


    Miami will be threatened by rising sea levels over the next few centuries. On that there’s pretty much scientific consensus. The only question is exactly how big the threat.

    Well, a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America predicts that our choices are either completely underwater or with some area left high and (relatively) dry. Which means even under the best-case scenario, Miami will stop looking like mainland Florida and start looking more like a string of Islands that are essentially the new northern end of the Florida Keys. (Read an interview with the study’s author here.)

    The study looked at our future if we continue to release carbon emissions into the atmosphere on the same rate we are now, which would almost certainly lead to the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet. The other scenario was that pretty much every country on Earth decided to enact extreme carbon emissions cuts.

  3. I can’t fathom the reasoning, if there is any, in the minds of the climate change deniers. 2015 has now been verified to be the hottest year on record, surpassing 2014 which held the record before that. The top ten years have all occurred since 1998. Exxon knew about this decades ago and covered it up much the same way the tobacco industry did with cigarettes and the paint industry did with lead.

    Are you just upset because you perceive this to be a “liberal cause” like anything environmental and so you must oppose it the way republicans oppose the president no matter what the issue?

    Do you think it was a good thing that Reagan took down the solar panels from the White House when he moved in?

    What is the downside to investing in renewables and breaking our dependence on Saudi oil? So what if developing countries are “doing it too”? Shouldn’t we be doing better, setting an example?

    America is falling behind the rest of the developed world in so many ways it is embarrassing. Do you not love this country any more?

    1. phillyT wrote: “I can’t fathom the reasoning, if there is any, in the minds of the climate change deniers.”

      Calm down, take a deep breath. … … …

      First, we are not deniers. We are skeptics. We are listening and considering the evidence and interpreting the evidence as far as it can take us.

      Second, we do not deny climate change. We are skeptical of anthropogenic causes to climate change.

      phillyT wrote: “What is the downside to investing in renewables and breaking our dependence on Saudi oil?”

      Nothing is wrong with it UNLESS you abandon supplying our own need for oil by prohibiting drilling and being self sufficient for our energy needs.

      I like green. I own a prius. I do some solar power and will probably be doing more solar power soon. The problem is that the technology just isn’t quite there as a replacement for fossil fuels yet. I would love to own a Tesla S, but it is a bit pricey and not yet ready for long road trips.

      We just need to be sober about what we can and cannot do about energy. We need to be realistic that we still rely upon fossil fuels to some extent. We need to phase ourselves off of it, but we can’t pretend that we are there yet when we are not. When you are totally off the grid and can show me how to do it in an affordable way, I am all ears. I want to do that. In the meantime, I’m still riding airplanes, riding trains and buses, and riding on ships. My electricity still primarily comes from coal although it used to be a nuclear plant before they shut that portion of the power plant down because of government regulations. These are just the facts of life. I don’t live in the fantasyland of the climate change religion. I live in the real world.

  4. fugitive methane emissions from drilling and transporting natural gas may negate the presumed reduction in heat-trapping gases from burning natural gas instead of coal or oil.

    Simply put, when natural gas is burned, it creates about half of the carbon dioxide of coal, and about 30 percent of oil. That is a critical advantage if we want to tackle the imminent threat of climate change. But methane is 21 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, so releases of methane during the drilling process and from leaky pipelines could – and according to the studies cited, do – more than offset the combustion advantage.
    See also

  5. So the Governor agrees the changing climate is causing damage in his state. He wants to raise revenue to pay for the damage. What’s the problem? Please explain why Alaska isn’t permitted to increase production, generate more revenue and reduce our dependency on foreign oil. The other option is the Governor declares a federal disaster area and goes begging to the feds. Is that the goal, make individuals AND states fully dependent on the federal government?

    Just follow the money AND the power.

  6. What I want to know is how did that “fossil fuel,” all those decayed dinosaurs and plants, get in the artic, below the ice and 40,000 feet deep in the earth?

    How did abiotic oil get tagged as “fossil fuel” when the deepest fossil ever recovered was 16,000 feet?

    Is the “sky is falling,” Chicken Little, fantasy really just that, the fantasy of radical, extremist fanatics promoting their new religion/ideology with that pesky oil as the focal point, the enemy?

    And why is the “end of the world” due to the proven contrived “Anthropogenic Global Warming,” which is based on falsified “Climategate” data of the Univ. East Anglia, always 10 years or 50 years away? Why is it never next week, month or year?

    Excuse me but your conspiracy is showing.

  7. David,

    The most terrifying words in the English language, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” needs to be replaced with “Your govt. has decided that the science is settled.” The fact that these idiots don’t even see the oxymoron in “settled science” is all I need to know.

  8. To davidm2527,
    Perhaps people are emotional about the issue because they want a habitable earth for their progeny.

  9. Just saw this today:

    After bite-mark analysis discredited, judge releases man who spent 28 years in Dallas jail for murder
    A man imprisoned for 28 years for the 1987 slayings of two people in Dallas was released Monday after his conviction based on now-discredited bite-mark analysis was overturned.

    Steven Mark Chaney was sentenced to life in prison after a dentist told a Dallas County jury in 1989 there was a one in a million chance that someone other than Chaney made bite marks found on John Sweek’s body.

    The jury believed science over 9 eyewitnesses who provided an alibi for Steven Chaney. Modern science now discredits the popular fad science at the time, so the dentist now admits that he was wrong at the time of the trial.

    We should always think for ourselves and not rely upon authority. We should be skeptical of what authority tells us and check it out.

  10. davidm
    Kivalina. It’s eroding away. You say “the science isn’t settled. You are not a scientist. Yet you know and still link to an article about rising waters on a northern island that is eroding away to make you scientific proof…


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