( Steve Amstrup / Associated Press / November 6, 2006 )
"I think this is the biggest scam since the Teapot Dome. I've got as many scientists who disagree with the science that it is getting cold, I mean warm, as say it's getting cold. And these are good scientists. I've got a guy from the University of Alaska who disagrees with the whole (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report. But it's not popular, so they're not being heard."
--Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)
The rapidly melting glaciers and other dramatic changes that have affected many Arctic regions haven't yet had a major impact on Alaska, so it's not too surprising that Alaskans, whose state economy is massively reliant on oil drilling, tend to be less than enthusiastic about restrictions on carbon emissions. Most of the damage so far has happened in remote native villages or well off the coast where, out of sight of the average Anchorage dweller, sea ice is dwindling, posing a survival threat to the state's polar bear population. Climate scientists, meanwhile, fret that as the problem worsens, Alaska will be prime territory for feedback loops -- natural processes that will make the climate problem worse, such as when permafrost melts and emits methane into the atmosphere or sea ice vanishes and the sun's heat is absorbed into the ocean rather than reflected. Meanwhile, Alaskans can expect a future of bark beetle infestations, fires, coastal erosion and increasingly severe storms, according to NOAA.