The Interior Issues Council Climate Change Task Force is a group of citizens and public employees collaborating to establish and build a sustainable climate resilient community through education, public outreach, and borough-wide actions.
Climate Change in Interior Alaska
We are already observing climate change in interior Alaska and scientists project this to continue. University of Alaska research has observed increased average air temperatures in Alaska over the past 40 years. Based on review of all scientific research to date, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change find global climate warming “unequivocal.” Regardless of the initial cause of this warming, even with moderate gas emission scenarios, further temperature increases are projected in Alaska over the next 100 years. Two of the three most extensive fire seasons on record occurred in 2004 and 2005 and increasing temperatures will continue to bring more frequent large fire years. Other expected impacts include changes in vegetation, including potential invasive species and changes in wildlife habitat and migrations. Climate change will also bring economic opportunity. Scientists have already observed a 50% increase in growing season in the interior since 1904 and an increase in favorable weather for tourism. In addition, with increasing energy costs, Borough citizens and businesses will benefit from policy and action to implement cost savings and energy efficiency.
The Interior Issues Council Climate Control Taskforce studied and assessed climate vulnerability in the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB or Borough). This work was performed in accordance with Borough Assembly Resolution 2007 ‐ 40, a resolution committing to the development of a local climate change impact and resilience plan in participation with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) program (Appendix A). IIC‐CCTF participants compiled information regarding the sensitivity, adaptive capacity, and vulnerability of built, natural, and socio‐economic systems in the FNSB. In most cases non‐climate related stresses and synergies are also included in this assessment, as they impact overall ability to react and plan for climate change. Unlike other community groups that have followed the ICLEI milestones in creating climate resilience plans, IIC‐CCTF has simultaneously considered climate change adaptation and mitigation. Short and long‐term recommendations for climate change adaptation and mitigation are listed in this report.