The Melting Arctic: Climate Impacts on People & Wildlife - Oct. 5, 2020

Nowhere on Earth is the climate crisis more keenly felt than in the Arctic, an area that is warming at twice the global average – yet Alaska continues to be exploited for its oil and gas resources. The Trump administration continues to push for new oil and gas leasing on Alaska’s North Slope, which is home to Alaska Native communities and some of the most fragile ecosystems on Earth. In the face of the climate crisis, this backward approach makes zero sense. Higher temperatures in the Arctic are shrinking sea ice, thawing the permafrost, and wreaking havoc on wildlife and fisheries and the Alaska Natives who depend upon these natural resources.

Natural Resources Committee Democrats believe that the federal government and our international partners have several responsibilities in light of what is happening in the Arctic. First, we must directly assist the people who are on the front lines and help them plan for and adapt to a vastly different environment, which in some cases means wholesale relocation of villages. Second, we must carefully manage our actions in the Arctic to avoid the complete destruction of food chains and ecosystems. Third, we must take strong and immediate action on climate change in order to limit additional damage to the Arctic and the rest of the world. Sadly, the Trump administration is either failing or woefully underperforming on all of these.

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