Alaska’s average temperature will warm by 3.9°F to 8.0°F in the next 35 years and it could rise by as much as 19°F by 2100, according to a report by Risky Business.
Much of Alaska’s infrastructure is built on a thick layer of permafrost, which is now melting. In addition to causing houses and roads to sink and putting local communities at risk, thawing permafrost is forcing military bases to contend with uneven roads and runways.
Thawing permafrost contributes to more severe and dangerous wildfires and will exponentially increase the cost of infrastructure maintenance.
During his visit in September 2015, President Obama committed $4 million for faster renewable energy adoption in remote Alaskan communities. He also announced plans to support relocation efforts for communities being displaced by climate impacts, and other resilience strategies for rural and coastal Alaskan communities.
Kodiak, the second largest island in the U.S., has been running on 100 percent renewable energy — wind and hydro — since 2014. It saves the city from burning 2 million gallons of diesel annually. The cost of electricity in Kodiak is cheaper now than it was 15 years ago, and Kodiak residents pay less for their power bills than other cities on mainland Alaska.