Like the rest of the world, we at Inletkeeper are watching the Russian invasion unfold in Ukraine. Our heart goes out to those caught in the crossfire and those fearing for the safety of friends and family. While we have been processing this crisis, we also are digesting the dire warning in the latest IPCC report on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability from climate change. It warns the impacts of the climate crisis are already more severe than predicted, driving poverty, hunger, disease and species extinction.
Unfortunately, instead of considering this information and moving our country (and the world) forward, we are hearing increased calls for drilling for fossil fuels here in the United States and Alaska to push back against Russia.
Although it is easy to make these claims, it ignores the facts on the ground – in Alaska, Ukraine and Russia. Our global dependency on oil and gas empowers autocrats like Putin and is helping fuel the Russian war in Ukraine. In Ukraine, climate activists are now “in a war fueled by fossil fuels. These wars are wars for resources we no longer need. Climate activists of today are becoming refugees.” Elias El Kortbi.
The oil and gas industry is a dying industry as it is a finite fuel supply and it is killing our planet and the life that relies on it and this has never been more clear than right now with the dire warnings in the IPCC report this week. The report warns that almost half of humanity is living in the danger zone and that many ecosystems are already irreversibly altered. And simply doubling down on a doomed fuel source is only a temporary band-aid for both peace and for our planet.
And this hits close to home. Alaska’s economy has been too long centered around only oil and gas – we must diversify and move towards energy independence. We remain too reliant on carbon-based fuels when we have incredible renewable resources that we could use for our energy. The Alaska Center for Energy and Power has done the homework to move us forward for renewable energies. Governor Dunleavy has called for 80% of the Railbelt power to be renewable by 2040. We need the Governor to stand up and support and push for his bill’s passage which is undeniably a good step for our state. Inletkeeper also has some ways to support our transition to renewable energy. We are supporting Homer Electric Association (HEA) candidates that understand the importance of renewable energies. Or learn about how to support HEA’s renewable energy goals through our REPower the Peninsula series!
Throughout history, the oil and gas industry has fueled conflict and war around the world. Continuing to rely on fossil fuels and ignore the climate crisis will only worsen global instability and economic insecurity. Not only does a transition to renewable energy have the ability to protect our world from the worst damage from climate change, but it also removes the political leverage Russia has through the control of oil and gas.
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