RELEASE: New Drilling, Logging in Alaska’s Protected Areas Could Release as Much Pollution as All the World’s Cars Emit in a Year

Washington, D.C. — The Trump administration’s attacks on Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Tongass National Forest could release almost 5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to a new analysis from the Center for American Progress.

That’s almost as much pollution as all the world’s cars emit in a year—which is more than 1 billion passenger vehicles, the analysis finds. The decision to strip protections from these areas in favor of industry completely ignores climate impacts, including the effects of shrinking sea ice, coastal erosion, and permafrost loss.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management estimates that an average of more than 375,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions would be released each year in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during extraction alone. And the agency fails to calculate the downstream combustion of extracted oil and gas, but CAP calculates that would add another 4.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent over the course of production.

The removal of roadless protections in the Tongass National Forest threatens a carbon sink that already stores more than 400 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and sequesters an additional 3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 637,000 cars off the road each year.

Read the column: “Trump’s Energy Policies Put Alaska in the Climate Crosshairs” by Ryan Richards

For more information on this topic or to talk to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at or 202-478-6327.