HR 12: Establishing a House Special Committee on Climate Change.

00 HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 12 01 Establishing a House Special Committee on Climate Change. 02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: 03 WHEREAS Earth's climate is transforming more rapidly now than at any previous 04 point in the history of modern civilization; and 05 WHEREAS climate change is already causing widespread and well-documented 06 adverse ecological, social, and economic effects worldwide, and these adverse effects will 07 become more severe as the climate continues to change; and 08 WHEREAS sea ice extents in the Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea, and Arctic Ocean are at 09 all-time lows, threatening the marine mammal populations that rely on the ice as habitat and 10 the subsistence way of life of indigenous peoples who hunt those animals; and 11 WHEREAS lower sea ice extent leads to Arctic amplification, causing the Arctic 12 region of the state to warm at a significantly higher rate compared to the rest of the planet, and 13 a warmer, ice-free Arctic Ocean exacerbates extreme weather events globally; and 14 WHEREAS an ice-free Arctic comes with significant economic and practical 15 implications for shipping, resource development, and tourism that must be actively addressed 16 by the state; and

01 WHEREAS many communities in western Alaska are experiencing drastic erosion 02 problems caused by thawing permafrost and more frequent winter storms, and some 03 communities have already been forced to relocate; and 04 WHEREAS melting permafrost poses significant infrastructure challenges across the 05 state and jeopardizes access to resource development projects in remote regions of the state; 06 and 07 WHEREAS the state's glaciers are retreating rapidly, losing a cumulative 08 75,000,000,000 tons of ice annually and contributing appreciably to the rise of the global sea 09 level; and 10 WHEREAS increased glacial runoff causes changes in the temperature, salinity, and 11 sediment levels of rivers and streams, and it is unknown how these changes affect the 12 anadromous fish populations, including salmon populations, on which residents of the state 13 rely for commercial and subsistence harvests; and 14 WHEREAS an increase in ocean temperatures causes ocean acidification, potentially 15 affecting mollusk and shellfish populations and the related fisheries; and 16 WHEREAS an increase in atmospheric and ocean temperatures creates uncertainty 17 for the survival of native species in the state, including fish populations statewide, and 18 threatens the livelihoods of many commercial fishermen; and 19 WHEREAS an increase in atmospheric and ocean temperatures is leading to an 20 increased prevalence of invasive species in the state, disrupting the state's fragile ecosystem; 21 and 22 WHEREAS the University of Alaska contributes significantly to the scientific body 23 of work relating to climate change, and the state has the opportunity to lead in global climate 24 research; and 25 WHEREAS the state is the only Arctic state in the nation and is properly positioned 26 to be an active and independent voice in international discourse relating to climate change and 27 adaptation policies, independent of the federal government; and 28 WHEREAS the House of Representatives recognizes the broad scope of issues 29 relating to climate change that must be addressed and the unique position the state occupies in 30 relation to those issues; 31 BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives that a House Special Committee

01 on Climate Change is established to ensure advancement in understanding of current climate 02 research and to explore policy options relating to climate change effects, mitigation, 03 resilience, and adaptation in the state; and be it 04 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall 05 determine the number of representatives to be members of the committee, appoint the 06 members, and designate a member or members to chair the committee; and be it 07 FURTHER RESOLVED that the House Special Committee on Climate Change may 08 meet during and between sessions of the Thirty-First Alaska State Legislature and is 09 terminated upon the convening of the First Regular Session of the Thirty-Second Alaska State 10 Legislature.