• Economic Effects of Climate Change in Alaska

      Berman, Matthew; Schmidt, Jennifer (American Meteorological Society (AMS), 11/27/2018)
      We summarize the potential nature and scope of economic effects of climate change in Alaska that have already occurred and are likely to become manifest over the next 30-50 years. We classified potential effects discussed in the literature into categories according to climate driver, type of environmental service affected, certainty and timing of the effects, and potential magnitude of economic consequences. We then described the nature of important economic effects, and provided estimates of larger, more certain effects for which data were available. Largest economic effects were associated with costs to prevent damage, relocate, and replace infrastructure threatened by permafrost thaw, sea level rise, and coastal erosion. The costs to infrastructure were offset by a large projected reduction in space heating costs attributable to milder winters. Overall, we estimated that five, relatively certain, large effects that could be readily quantified would impose an annual net cost of $340-$700 million, or 0.6 to 1.3 percent of Alaska GDP. This significant, but relatively modest net economic effect for Alaska as a whole obscures large regional disparities, as rural communities face large projected costs while more southerly urban residents experience net gains.
    • Local Knowledge and Science: Observation of Landscape Change in the Nuiqsut Homelands

      Schmidt, Jennifer; Kofinas, Gary (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 12/19/2018)
    • Measuring Community Adaptive and Transformative Capacity in the Arctic Context

      Berman, Matthew; Kofinas, Gary; BurnSilver, Shauna (Springer International Publishing Inc., 2016-12-01)
      Adaptive capacity (AC) plays a prominent role in reducing community vulnerability, an essential goal for achieving sustainability. The related concept, transformative capacity (TC), describes a set of tools from the resilience paradigm for making more fundamental system changes. While the literature appears to agree generally on the meaning of AC and TC, operational definitions vary widely in empirical applications. We address measurement of AC and TC in empirical studies of community vulnerability and resilience, with special attention to the problems of arctic communities. We discuss how some challenges follow from ambiguities in the broader vulnerability model within which AC is embedded. Other issues are more technical, such as a confounding of stocks (capacity) with flows (time-specific inputs or outcomes). We view AC and TC as forms of capital, as distinct from flows (i.e., ecosystem services, well-being), and propose a set of sequential steps for measuring the contribution of AC and TC assets to reducing vulnerability. We demonstrate the conceptual application in a comparative analysis of AC in two arctic Alaska communities responding to an increase in the price of fuel. The comparative case study illustrates some key empirical challenges in measuring AC for small arctic communities.
    • Perceptions of Universal Ballot Delivery Systems

      Hanna, Virgene; Passini, Jessica (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 6/22/2018)
      A total of 412 registered voters in the Bethel, Dillingham, and Kusilvak Census Areas completed surveys with ISER interviewers in March and April of 2018. The majority (74%) of respondents reported their race as Alaska Native and 13% were White. Near the beginning of the survey, interviewers asked respondents how they preferred to receive their ballot and 60% said they preferred to get it in person on Election Day, 21% would prefer to receive it by mail, and 17% would prefer to receive their ballot online. After respondents heard a description of three voting methods being considered: 1) keep voting the way it is now; 2) mail out and mail back; and 3) receive ballot in the mail and have different ways to return it their preferences changed somewhat. Of the three methods, keep voting the way it is now was the first choice by 49% of respondents, followed by 36% for option 3, and 14% for option 2. Respondents had little experience with voting methods other than in-person. When asked what made it difficult for them and other members of their community to vote, personal reasons, such as being sick or out of town, was the most frequent (37%) response. About two-thirds (64%) reported personal reasons made it difficult for people in their community to vote followed by 46% saying that the ballot being written in English made it difficult for people in their community. Over half (56%) of respondents reported they are satisfied with their mail service, only 17% of those who were satisfied said they would prefer to receive or return their ballot by mail.
    • Repeat Maltreatment in Alaska: Assessment and Exploration of Alternative Measures

      Passini, Jessica; Vadapalli, Diwakar (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 12/1/2015)
    • Small Community Oil Spill Preparedness Research Project

      Covert, Christopher (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-12-01)
      As transportation through the Arctic becomes more prevalent with tourism and oil exploration, small communities within the Arctic are susceptible to oil spills from fuel barges, passing ships, tank farms, and oily discharges. Oil spills threaten both humans and animals that co-habitat these Arctic regions. Little has been done to prepare these small communities in preparation for an oil spill and as a result they are not well protected. As the notion of globalization is incorporated into the Arctic it will be imperative to protect these small communities. To better understand this topic, the researcher took an analytical approach to identify and benchmark best practices, define the elements of preparedness, and then build the foundation for the overall project. An integral component of this research project was to build and deploy a self-assessing questionnaire to provide small communities the ability to self-assess their oil spill preparedness level. The results of the questionnaire will be used to derive a preparedness index value. The preparedness index value will be overlaid an interactive map to provide Arctic governments a better view of the level of preparedness of their small communities.