Alaska’s Republican Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy and freshman New York U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sparred on Twitter today over climate change, resource development and the Green New Deal backed by the Democrat.
Dunleavy said the Green New Deal, a congressional proposal to deal with climate change and economic inequality, would “would impact our civilization as we know it” getting a response from Ocasio-Cortez of “Yeah that’s kind of the point.”
She added that the goal of the Green New Deal is to rework the economy.
“The climate crisis threatens our way of life, and we must decarbonize our economy & way of life to save the planet,” she wrote. “I wish it wasn’t such a bad situation too, but previous generations failed to act & now young people need to deal w the science of our future & create opportunity.”
Dunleavy, whose early actions in office included shuttering a climate change task force and who has more recently turned to national right-wing media to fend off a recall attempt, fired back on Twitter.
“Your Green New Deal would destroy Alaska’s economy,” he wrote. “I invite you to visit Alaska, and I can personally show you how we responsibly develop America’s natural resources better than anyone. You’re welcome anytime.”
Dunleavy’s original comments were tweeted out by reporter Philip Wegmann of Real Clear Politics, which recently published an anti-immigration editorial by Dunleavy. Wegmann elaborated on Dunleavy’s comments adding: “He tells me… Oil would disappear. Gas would disappear. Coal would disappear. Alaska’s population would plummet.”
The Twitter replies to both Dunleavy and Ocasio-Cortez are about as predictable as you’d expect.
Dunleavy, Alaska and the climate
With nearly a year in office, Dunleavy has eliminated Alaska’s climate change task force and thrown the state’s support behind continued resource extraction, particularly favoring mining projects like the controversial Pebble Mine and a state-backed road to the Ambler mining district.
In the wake of the state’s change in course on climate change, local municipalities have launched their own efforts to address climate change and the state’s largest coalition of Alaska Natives recently approved its own climate change task force.
Young Alaska Natives have also brought their first-hand concerns about how climate change is already impacting their communities to the Alaska Supreme Court, where they recently argued that a livable environment should be a fundamental right and that the state is not doing enough to halt climate change or help communities cope with its impacts.
The state argued against declaring a livable climate as a fundamental right, arguing that it would conflict with the state’s resource development priorities.
Make no mistake that Alaska is already feeling the impacts of climate change. Sea ice has been vanishing, warming rivers were blamed for salmon die-offs this year and a handful of deaths have been chalked up to thinner-than-usual ice on rivers.
Why it matters
Does any Twitter feud really matter?
Still, it’s yet another example of the governor turning to national media and conservative talking points as he works to fend off a bipartisan attempt to remove him from office. While Alaska media has had a tough time getting a hold of the governor, he’s given several interviews to right-wing media outlets where he’s likened his plight to that of President Donald Trump. Picking a fight with conservatives’ favorite boogeywoman fits right in line with those efforts to appeal to a wider conservative audience.
His position on climate change, though, isn’t particularly new. If there’s been one thing that he’s been consistent on, it’s his support for resource extraction and opposition to tackling climate change.