The Arctic is not alone in its crippling reliance on oil. Alaska is in the throes of a deep fiscal crisis, due to the plunging value of crude, taxes on which account for about 85 percent of state revenue. Legislators need to close a $3.7 billion deficit. They’ve slashed spending on education and social services. They’ve trimmed the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend, an annual check that’s gone to all Alaskans for more than 40 years. They’re considering reinstating an income tax. I came to Buckland to see about a different option: a “just transition” to renewable energy. Wind turbines and solar arrays have been popping up across the state. I found wide agreement that it’s time to break ties with the fossil fuel industry and establish an economy that keeps everyone’s lights on independent of global oil markets. But I wanted to see if this transition toward renewables can really be “just,” improving all lives in concrete ways. Because the rest of the country isn’t far behind in the kinds of issues that Alaska faces.
Yes Magazine 25th Aug 2017 read more »