Oliver Milman in New York
Thursday 10 August 2017 10.00 BST
The US government’s withdrawal from dealing with, or even acknowledging, climate change may have provoked widespread opprobrium, but for Alaskan communities at risk of toppling into the sea, the risks are rather more personal.
The Trump administration has moved to dismantle climate adaptation programs including the Denali Commission, an Anchorage-based agency that is crafting a plan to safeguard or relocate dozens of towns at risk from rising sea levels, storms and the winnowing away of sea ice.
Federal assistance for these towns has been ponderous but could now grind to a halt, with even those working on the issue seemingly targeted by the administration. In July, Joel Clement, an interior department official who worked with Alaskan communities on climate adaptation, claimed he had been moved to a completely unrelated position because of the administration’s ideological hostility to the issue.
“We were getting down to the brass tacks of relocation [of towns at risk] and now work has just stopped,” Clement told the Guardian. He has lodged an official complaint over his reassignment.