Dr. William Hibler is an esteemed professor emeritus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and his decades of scientific work on sea ice shows he has a robust understanding of climate change and its impacts. However, Hibler’s opinion article on Sept. 3, was marred with false equivalencies, political misinformation and disingenuous labeling.
In his first two paragraphs, Hibler draws a false equivalence between climate deniers and democratic governors promoting sustainable energy. Wherein, he falsely claims those governors will try to use a Green New Deal to reverse climate change in a few short years. No governor has stated these claims and the Green New Deal text does not purport to reverse climate change in the short term either. In fact, most state climate change policies and the Green New Deal consist of long-term strategies to curb carbon emissions. For example, Washington’s State Agency Climate Leadership Act has requirements for power plant emission reductions by 2050.
While Hibler is correct in his third paragraph that forest management and coastal engineering adaptation strategies are important to cope with coming climate change. He is unable to make this point without launching an dishonest and unrelated attack on Democrats regarding the Supreme Court and a further jab at Dr. Al Gross for an unfounded accusation of xenophobia.
Alaska needs intellectual leaders to provide their expertise in accurately assessing policy without unfounded accusations and character attacks. Hibler’s opinion divides an already polarized political environment and he should thoroughly reassess his claims and political language.