Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40

34 Alaska may be expensive at the start, but ultimately helpful in the long run. Just as the pandemic showed the potential of remote working, climate change likewise has a silver lining in terms of Alaska’s shipping costs barrier. Climate change certainly will affect Alaska adversely, including via permafrost melting (see article by Acharya in this volume), climate refugees (see article by Hertzberg in this volume), and other difficult and unforeseen impacts. Accompanying the negative side effects, however, are warming temperatures that will enable faster shipping routes, increased agricultural production, and a longer tourism season (Chapin & Trainor, 2014). Melting sea ice in the artic creates a passage between Europe, Asia, and North America that could be as much as 40% faster than utilizing the Suez Canal (Bayirhan & Gazioglu, 2021). Not only will this lead to a greater number of ships stopping in Alaska but also the efficiency boost will decrease the costs of shipping goods into the state. With its proximity to the Arctic and colder temperatures, Alaska is not the first place that comes to mind for larger agricultural enterprises. However, a more temperate climate potentially allows Alaska to be at the forefront, literally, of growth. The increased hours of sunlight in the summer enhance efficiency in the growth of wheat, with a projected 9-day decrease in time to harvest and a 3% to 6% improvement in yields (Harvey et al., 2021). Warmer temperatures also have already extended the peak tourism season by days, weeks, or even months (Yu et al., 2009). Alaska must ensure that it is prepared for the coming changes. To best help emerging businesses in a rapidly changing world, Alaska must be ready both to deal with the negative consequences of climate change, such as melting permafrost, and to exploit the accompanying opportunities. This support includes continuing to advance renewable energy to keep the environment pristine for residents and tourists, while providing energy to farms and other small businesses in less accessible areas. In addition, emphasis is needed on internet connectivity throughout the state for remote workers to have as large as an impact as they can. Alaska also can focus on strengths rather than weaknesses by promoting exporting services as opposed to physical goods, thereby avoiding the cost of shipping raw materials in and physical goods out. Becoming experts in fields such as aviation and renewable energy, by utilizing experiences that unique Alaskan circumstances impart, small businesses can export knowledge and grow. Many of Alaska’s emerging sectors are not in manufacturing but instead have this expertise-provider model of business. Greater emphasis on and policy support for knowledge exports will allow the economy to continue to grow and prosper. Conclusion Due to the decline of the oil industry, the Alaskan economy is struggling. Diversification, driven by small, high-growth businesses that have Alaska-specific advantages, is key to revitalizing the economy. Through support of the existing fishing and tourism industries and sectors that are only starting to develop, like renewable energy, agriculture, and aerospace, the void the oil industry leaves will begin to be filled. These sectors can mitigate major barriers facing businesses in Alaska, including human capital and shipping costs. With assistance from entities such as the SBDC and policies that fuel growth of small businesses by encouraging remote work and the export of services, the Alaskan economy can recover from the decline of oil and once again boom.