Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40

Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40, 2022 79 Introduction The impacts of climate change are more pronounced in Alaska compared with most of the world. Alaska’s rate of temperature increase is occurring twice as fast as the global average, with a 3.4°F increase in average annual temperature and a 6.4°F increase in winter temperatures over the past 50 years (Bieniek et al., 2014). Climate change has induced melting of permafrost, the frozen subsurface underlying 85% of the landmass in Alaska, with the potential to affect much of the civil infrastructure. Although only 20% of Alaska is accessible through the main road system, the importance of maintaining that infrastructure is even more pronounced due to its central role for transportation (Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys…, 2022). Melting permafrost is causing accelerated deterioration of roads, school buildings, hospitals, and so forth. The overall rating for infrastructure in Alaska in the 2021 Infrastructure Report Card, developed by the American Society for Civil Engineers, is a C−, measured on a scale of A to F (American Society of Civil Engineers…, 2021). Economic impacts due to permafrost are associated mostly with earlier-than-planned replacement and maintenance of civil infrastructure as well as the ripple effects that damage of infrastructure has on other parts of the economy. In this article, I delineate the types of damage permafrost degradation can cause and how various responsible entities have responded. Based on the potential future condition of permafrost, I also outline policy recommendations for proposed solutions. It is imperative that the state of Alaska make plans, such as permafrost monitoring, innovative replacement, and repeated and early maintenance, to prepare for the effects of accelerating permafrost thaw. The Economic Impacts of Permafrost Thaw Permafrost is a subsurface layer that ranges from 1 to 1000 meters in depth that remains frozen for at least two consecutive CONSEQUENCES OF PERMAFROST MELTING ON ALASKA’S INFRASTRUCTURE Sakshi Acharya Increasing temperatures pose a severe threat to Alaska, as most of its infrastructure is built on the frozen layer of ground called permafrost. Through case studies, this article explores the economic damage permafrost melting causes and then recommends approaches to address the effects, including permafrost monitoring, infrastructure maintenance, and innovative replacement.