Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, left, is greeted by Suzy Cohen, center, and Kay McCarthy in front of the Moose Lodge before her speech to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, June 1, 2017. Cohen, McCarthy and Elaine Schroeder showed up at the event after hearing President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris climate agreement on Thursday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, left, is greeted by Suzy Cohen, center, and Kay McCarthy in front of the Moose Lodge before her speech to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, June 1, 2017. Cohen, McCarthy and Elaine Schroeder showed up at the event after hearing President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris climate agreement on Thursday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau protesters speak out on Paris agreement

  • By ERIN GRANGER
  • Thursday, June 1, 2017 5:15pm
  • News

Less than an hour after President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement on Thursday morning, protesters gathered outside the Moose Lodge.

They were there to picket U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s appearance at the lodge, where she gave a presentation called “Update from D.C.” at the weekly Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

“We just heard that Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris accord, which is utterly embarrassing, shameful and catastrophic,” said Elaine Shroeder, a longtime Juneau resident and member of 350 JUNEAU, a climate change action group. “We in Alaska are warming at twice the speed of the rest of the Lower 48 and we can see the impact of climate change. We are urging our elected officials to read the science and act upon it.”

[Video: Protesters Speak Out on Paris Climate Accord Exit]

Three protesters gathered outside the building holding signs regarding climate change in Alaska.

“We’re here to remind Lisa that the future of oil is very grim. We need to transition into a renewable energy future,” said Suzanne Cohen, a local acupuncturist. “We have to get proactive for Alaska’s economy and start coming up with some really good ideas for how we’re going to bridge. Because we can’t continue to burn what’s in the ground and expect to have a livable climate. We can’t. And the science is there.”

Murkowski discussed her “agnostic” approach to the president’s decision and the issue of climate change, emphasizing the need to balance Alaska’s oil economy while also protecting the environment.

“We need to be looking to how we are ensuring that we are good stewards for the land around us while at the same time providing jobs and an economy for the people that live and work and raise their family there,” Murkowski said.

During his announcement earlier that morning, Trump discussed the possibility of a renegotiation of the agreement.

“I’m not entirely sure what that means,” Murkowski said of the President’s comment. “That to me seems incredibly difficult. You have 160 nations that are already signed that are moving forward with the commitments that they have made. I don’t know how we come in as the holdout as I understand it … how we renegotiate it. I don’t think we have that kind of leverage quite honestly.”

The senator’s focus rested on the global position of the U.S. and possible “diplomatic repercussions” this withdrawal could cause.

“I do think that exiting has the potential for ramifications for us in terms of a leadership role, in terms of how others view our commitment to our environment,” Murkowski said. “I think that what we ought to look to is how the United States can best leverage itself as a world leader in advancing priorities that are important not only to our country but to the world at large … if you stay in you have greater leverage ability.”

Murkowski noted Alaska’s unique role in climate change response, referencing several Alaskan communities like Shishmaref that are experiencing rapid erosion, threatening a coastal lifestyle.

“My hope is that with the president’s decision to go this route, it does not mean that fall back as a nation on our efforts to address and mitigate the impacts we see from a warming climate,” Murkowski said. “Because we see it here in the state and it is real and we’ve got an obligation to help address it.”

 


 

• Erin Granger is an intern for the Juneau Empire. Contact her at eringranger93@gmail.com.

 


 

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of Feb. 26

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024

For Thursday, Feb. 29 Assault At 5:49 p.m. on Thursday, a 17-year-old… Continue reading

The Alaska Supreme Court is seen on Thursday, Feb. 8, in Juneau. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska Supreme Court decides key question: Who is an Alaskan?

An Alaskan is someone physically present in the state who intends to… Continue reading

Pink salmon are seen in an undated photo. (NOAA Fisheries photo)
New salmon study adds to evidence that pink salmon could be crowding out sockeye

A new analysis of nearly 25,000 fish scales offers more evidence that… Continue reading

Liana Wallace offers a water blessing during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Augustus G. Brown Swimming Pool on Friday following nearly a year of renovations. The pool is scheduled to reopen for public use on Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Ribbon-cutting for Augustus G. Brown Swimming Pool a blessing for longtime users after 11-month renovation

Infrastructure upgrades, new locker rooms and student tile art in lobby greet visitors at ceremony.

The Alaska State Capitol in Juneau is seen on Friday, Feb. 23. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska Legislature plans March 12 vote on Gov. Dunleavy’s executive orders

Order giving governor full control of Alaska Marine Highway Operations board among six scheduled.

Brenda Josephson, a Haines resident, testifies in favor of a bill setting statewide standards for municipal property assessors during a state Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee hearing Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Statewide standards for municipal property assessments sought in bill by Juneau lawmaker

Some residents say legislation doesn’t go far enough, want limits on annual valuation increases.

The front page of the Juneau Empire on Feb. 26, 2004. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Empire Archives: Juneau’s history for the week of March 2

Three decades of capital city coverage.

Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks Thursday, April 27, 2023, at a news conference in Juneau. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House considers constitutional guarantee for Permanent Fund dividend

The Alaska House of Representatives will vote as soon as Friday morning… Continue reading

Most Read