Dancers rehearsed in front of “Tahku,” the whale sculpture ahead of the Climate Fair for a Cool Planet in 2021. (Courtesy of Mike Tobin)

Dancers rehearsed in front of “Tahku,” the whale sculpture ahead of the Climate Fair for a Cool Planet in 2021. (Courtesy of Mike Tobin)

My Turn: Fair time to advocate for a cool planet

The Climate Fair for a Cool Planet is coming up on Saturday, Aug. 5, from 3-5 p.m. at the Whale in Overstreet Park.

You might wish the “Cool Planet” part was coming soon, in the nick of time to save us from the hottest days, weeks and, probably, months, in human history that we are now experiencing. That is, human history as in “since we emerged as a species.” We haven’t been here before.

The heat maps in newspapers and on TV show record heat in Phoenix, but also across wide swaths of North America, Asia, Europe and Africa. Simultaneously. And record heat in many ocean waters too.

Many of the fires in Canada are unfightable because of their size, heat and unpredictability. They have already burned five times as much as in an average Canadian fire season, an area the size of Virginia. Many of them will burn until winter snowfall puts them out many months from now.

These events are the setting for this year’s Climate Fair. We know the cause of the climate catastrophe gaining momentum around us: It is the burning of fossil fuels. So we know the direction we should head in: Stop the burning of fossil fuels.

The theme of this year’s Climate Fair is: No Fossil Fuel Expansion. We believe the scientific consensus that most fossil fuels already in production can’t be used if we are to keep runaway warming in check below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees F) above pre-industrial levels. We are currently at 1.2 degrees. We believe the recent scientific reports from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that reserves already in production or under development by 2021 are sufficient to meet our needs during the transition to renewable energy.

But if those are your beliefs and principles, (if you believe in science) Wham! you are suddenly up against Alaska petroleum politics.

For example, the Willow project, Conoco Phillips big new oil field project on the North Slope: It will produce 260 million tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide over its 30-year lifetime. Supported unanimously by the Alaska House and Senate and the Alaska congressional delegation, don’t be surprised when the Willow Project is considered a crime against the planet by our children and grandchildren.

Then there is the proposed Alaska LNG Project: a proposal, around for decades, deemed dead due to lack of interest by oil developers and customers, kept on life support by Alaska state subsidies, now resuscitated by possible federal subsidies, and sold by bogus claims that it will enhance American oil independence (though it won’t possibly come on line for 10 years), and sold also by bogus claims that methane is cleaner than other fossil fuels.

Come to the Whale to learn more about the climate crisis and what local groups are doing to address it.

• Michael Tobin is a board member of 350Juneau — Climate Action for Alaska.

More in Opinion

Have something to say?

Here’s how to add your voice to the conversation.

A by-mail ballot asks voters in 2020 to approve a measure calling for rank choice voting, which was approved. A petition is now circulating calling for another ballot measure to repeal rank choice. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Failed election shows why Alaska should repeal ranked-choice voting

Most Americans just want elections where it’s easy to vote, hard to… Continue reading

Visitors take a selfie on the downtown cruise ship docks in July. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
My Turn: Know who you’re sitting with at the table

As a professional who has sat at many a negotiating table, I… Continue reading

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy delivers remarks at the Rolling Back Regulations to Help All Americans event Thursday, July 16, 2020, on the South Lawn of the White House. (Official White House Photo | Joyce N. Boghosian)
Opinion: A constitutional defense of the administrative state

In the summer of 2020, then-Vice President Mike Pence told an audience… Continue reading

Former Juneau Mayor Ken Koelsch in 2018. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
My Turn: Assembly needs to retreat

We might not be privy to what the Assembly’s agenda is, but… Continue reading

The Stikine River Flats area in the Tongass National Forest is viewed from a helicopter on July 19, 2021. The Stikine River flows from British Columbia to Southeast Alaska. It is one of the major transboundary rivers impacted by mines in British Columbia. (Photo by Alicia Stearns/U.S. Forest Service)
Opinion: Facing transboundary mining, Alaskans shouldn’t buy industry rhetoric

“Rest assured,” writes Michael Goehring, president of the British Columbia Mining Association,… Continue reading

(Juneau Empire File)
Letter: Attorney general’s letter to libraries are an abuse of office

Earlier this month Treg Taylor, Alaska’s attorney general, published a letter to… Continue reading

An aging outhouse overlooks Tenakee Inlet. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)
My Turn: Murkowski’s bill will dramatically change map of public land in Southeast Alaska

There has been very little reporting on federal legislation that would greatly… Continue reading

(Photo courtesy of the City and Borough of Juneau)
Opinion: Choosing a seat at the table

To advocates for limiting cruise ship tourism and combatting climate change, partnering… Continue reading

Most Read