Like Juneau’s climate action plans, some of which reach back over 11 years, Sitka’s efforts to grapple with the climate crisis have confronted similar issues. Like Juneau, Sitka developed a plan a decade ago. Some items were completed, many were not. Both featured carbon reduction goals, but a lack of follow-up and analysis leave many questions about whether such goals were achieved.
Alaskans are experiencing human-induced climate change at a more rapid rate than any other state in the country. Tackling the global crisis can be daunting, but in Sitka, the city assembly and a group of concerned citizens are taking action with the revival of a decade-old task force.
The committee is a revival of a short-lived task force that created a climate action plan for the city about a decade ago. That plan identified some of the ways Sitka is threatened by climate change and proposed actions the municipal government could take to reduce its carbon footprint.
“A lot of it got done, a lot of it didn’t,” said Michelle Putz, who led the past effort. “I think it would be a great — one of the first steps — it would be great to see, did we actually get to a reduction or not?” Putz said. City Public Works director and former interim City Administrator Michael Harmon wrote in an email that he thinks they reached it, but no concrete assessment has been done.