As climate change gains urgency around the globe, Alaska may be poised to play a leading role in the global carbon market. One man is humbly leading this charge in Alaska, and that is Gov Mike Dunleavy.
Dunleavy has a multi-faceted plan to monetize carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which could generate substantial revenue for the state and establish Alaska as a world leader in carbon management.
Dunleavy has positioned himself as a fierce trailblazer in this untapped industry of mixing capitalism with environmentalism. If someone is going to make money on it ... might as well be Alaska.
In talking with Dunleavy, he truly only cares about one thing for his last 3.5 years left of being governor, which is setting up our future generation to stay and strive in Alaska.
Dunleavy's plan focuses on two main areas: mariculture, carbon sequestration in forests and underground caverns.
In an interview, he said, "We've been approached by outfits that are willing to pay large sums of money for Alaska to become part of this carbon offset world." Big companies could pay big dollars for these types of services.
The first component involves growing kelp along Alaska's vast coastline to sequester carbon.
Dunleavy explained, "Kelp grabs the CO2 out of the ocean water and sequesters it within its own cells." The kelp would then be towed out to deep water and sunk, effectively storing the carbon at the bottom of the ocean.
This plan could also include growing specific types of kelp for animal feed, which can reduce methane emissions from livestock. Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, so reducing emissions would be a significant environmental benefit.
The second part of the plan deals with carbon sequestration in forests and underground caverns. "We have approximately 43-45 million acres of forest land in the state under state control," said Dunleavy. Alaska could generate significant income by managing these forests and leveraging their carbon offset potential while maintaining ownership and control over its lands.
Dunleavy also envisions pumping CO2 back into underground caverns, a concept that has gained traction among both Republicans and Democrats.
"I think you'll see hundreds of millions of dollars within a couple years and then billions after that," he said. "There's some estimates that this is a trillion-dollar business that Alaska would be a leader in."
The governor is optimistic about the potential impact on Alaska's economy, as well as its global reputation as a conservation leader. He noted, "Alaska [would] be the leader, if not one of the leaders in commoditizing carbon."
Dunleavy hopes that this plan will not only generate revenue for the state but also create jobs and opportunities for Alaskans. "We've got to give Alaska opportunity," he said. "We have a vast array of resources that we can use to create jobs, create wealth, and create opportunities for our people."
The governor is also quick to emphasize that this plan would not require Alaskans to give up any rights or control over their land. He said, "The state of Alaska remains the landowner just like a farmer does in the lower 48 who is currently involved in the carbon trade."
With Alaska's unique natural resources and vast expanses of land, the state is ideally positioned to lead the way in carbon management. Dunleavy's plan could transform Alaska into a global example of sustainable resource management and carbon reduction, ensuring a brighter future for both the state and the planet.
This is a long-term plan with long-term money at play; it could be promising.
John Quick is a seasoned entrepreneur, and a former regional director for Samaritan's Purse. He's also known as chief implementor and red tape cutter. Read John Quick's Reports — More Here.
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