Midnight Oil: The Big Thaw The world is getting warmer. The weather is getting weirder. And in Alaska, we have a front row seat. This summer, Alaska's Energy Desk returns with all-new episodes of our podcast, Midnight Oil. Season Two is called The Big Thaw. Last season, we looked back — at the state's roller-coaster history with oil. This time, we're looking forward, to one of the biggest question marks ahead: climate change.
Midnight Oil

Midnight Oil: The Big Thaw

From Alaska Public Media

The world is getting warmer. The weather is getting weirder. And in Alaska, we have a front row seat. This summer, Alaska's Energy Desk returns with all-new episodes of our podcast, Midnight Oil. Season Two is called The Big Thaw. Last season, we looked back — at the state's roller-coaster history with oil. This time, we're looking forward, to one of the biggest question marks ahead: climate change.More from Midnight Oil: The Big Thaw »

Most Recent Episodes

Ep. 5: The Culprits

Climate change is now an undeniable reality for the oil industry. It threatens their reputations, their business models - and in some cases, the actual physical infrastructure they've built to extract all that oil in the first place. That's forcing the industry to confront some uncomfortable questions.

Ep. 4: The Visitors

As polar bears lose their habitat in the Arctic, they have no choice but to come to shore and try to live part of their lives on land. That means they come into the village of Kaktovik sometimes, breaking into people's houses or food storage at the risk of getting shot. But it also means they are more visible and accessible than ever for tourists who are willing to pay a lot of money to see them before they're gone.

Ep. 3: The Fishermen

For years, fishermen in Alaska have worried that climate change would threaten their livelihoods. Now, it has. In late 2013, a strikingly warm mass of water arrived in the Gulf of Alaska and stayed for three years. Scientists called it "the blob." Fishermen started to notice a drastic drop in the population of cod- an unassuming fish that's been an economic powerhouse for the community of Kodiak. As fishermen struggle to adjust to the lowest cod numbers on record, scientists are asking if it's a preview of what's to come as the ocean warms.

Ep. 2: The Senator

Which side is Lisa Murkowski on? Alaska's senior senator faces an impossible balancing act: How to reconcile her state's dependence on the oil industry with the fact that Alaska is extremely vulnerable to climate change. She says we need to reduce carbon emissions but remains an ardent advocate for more oil production. She straddles both sides of the debate. But in her straddling, she also represents us all: how do we come to terms with our dependence on the very products that are threatening the globe?

Ep. 1: The Village

The Alaska Native village of Newtok is disappearing. It's rapidly losing ground to a combination of thawing permafrost and coastal erosion and residents worry their traditional way of life could disappear with the land. Newtok's residents are some of the first Americans to face this problem, but they won't be the last. And their predicament raises the question: What do we owe communities in the path of climate change?

Coming Soon: The Big Thaw

On August 9, Alaska's Energy Desk launches our second season of Midnight Oil. It's called The Big Thaw. And it's about one of the biggest challenges facing the state right now and in the years ahead: climate change.

Ep. 8: The future of an oil state - What's next for Alaska?

Today, the trans-Alaska pipeline carries a quarter of what it did in its heyday. And so Alaska is facing the question its been ducking for forty years: Will we always be an oil state?

Ep. 7: Foretold Disaster - the Exxon Valdez oil spill

The Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 killed hundreds of thousands of seabirds and brought commercial fishing in some of Alaska's most productive waters to a standstill. It's often talked about as an unprecedented, unthinkable event, but it was, in fact thinkable, and people tried to prevent it.

Ep. 6: When the lights went out - Alaska's great recession

Less than ten years after oil started flowing, Alaska's economy cratered. The recession was quick and deep. Ten banks failed, real estate values plummeted and tens of thousands of people fled the state. It was Alaska's great recession, 20 years before the rest of the country went through almost the same thing.

Ep. 5: How Alaska decided to give its oil wealth to everyone in the state

In Alaska, we don't pay income tax. We don't pay state sales tax. But once a year every man, woman and child gets a cut of the state's oil wealth. There are plenty of other oil states in the world, but Alaska is the only one that treats residents like shareholders and sends them dividend checks every year.

Ep. 5: How Alaska decided to give its oil wealth to everyone in the state

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