Letter: Are we crazy? Yes.

While knowing full well that the burning of fossil fuels is causing the planet to overheat, Alaska’s leaders are accelerating the production of fossil fuels.

Alaska produces 500,000 barrels of oil per day. Several new oil drilling sites have been approved. Billions of barrels in new oil reserves have been discovered in Smith Bay in the Beaufort Sea.

Alaska also has approximately 27 trillion cubic feet of known natural gas reserves — equal to 16 percent of U.S. reserves — and analysts are projecting that the state has hundreds of trillions more in undiscovered new reserves. Although natural gas production is increasing nationwide, most of what Alaska produces is being reinjected into oil fields to maintain oil production rates while we explore ways to sell our natural gas to the world.

The latest U.S. government report on climate change makes it clear that Alaska is going to suffer immensely if we do not cut back sharply on the burning of fossil fuels. Are the warnings enough to cause Alaskans to kick the habit now? Of course not, given our behavior to date. We are so addicted to exploiting fossil fuels as a source of income that, like an alcoholic on a binge, we are incapable of stopping until the damage caused becomes so outrageous we have no other choice.

— Paul Joslin


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