The 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.