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|In the practice of preaching to the
choir, Sarah Palin appears to have all but patented the art of
saying what a few want to hear and it's an all new tune now.
Palin, who was the Republican Party's nominee for vice president, is
suggesting that President Barack Obama "boycott'' an international
conference on climate change underway in Copenhagen, because some
hacked emails questioning the ethics of some scientists at a
university in Great Britain have given the obstinate opposition to
the concept of global warming, let alone the science involving man's
hand in climate change, all the fuel it needs to declare the case
closed, conference over, thank you ma'am.
withdrawal from the conference, with an appearance planned near the
summit's finish next week, would come as quite a surprise to a
global community that has witnessed the reengagement of the United
States in an international dialog about the fate of the planet from
which the previous president had all but withdrawn until the end of
his second term.
But, for a share of the American electorate which fears the
consequences of limitations on the emissions of pollutants that
could force the U.S. to find alternative, and in some cases more
costly, sources of energy - the fabled "energy tax'' - talk such as
Palin's comes straight from the wand of the maestro.
From Palin's new viewpoint, the consensus of world science on the
question of global warming represents "the radical environmental
movement'' -- though this was not the same tune Palin was whistling
when she ran for national office last year: "We've got to reduce
emissions,'' she said during the 2008 campaign, and get other
nations to "come along.''
From the world's viewpoint, Palin's apparent new opposition to any
dialog involving the United States in Copenhagen represents the
politics of radical retrenchment.
"With the publication of damaging e-mails from a climate research
center in Britain, the radical environmental movement appears to
face a tipping point,'' Palin writes in an Op-ed essay appearing in
Wednesday's Washington Post. "The revelation of appalling actions by
so-called climate change experts allows the American public to
finally understand the concerns so many of us have articulated on
"Climate-gate," Palin writes of the e-mails and other documents
obtained from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East
Anglia by hackers, "exposes a highly politicized scientific circle
-- the same circle whose work underlies efforts at the Copenhagen
climate change conference. The agenda-driven policies being pushed
in Copenhagen won't change the weather,'' the former governor of
Alaska writes, "but they would change our economy for the worse.''
"Drill, baby, drill": A hole so deep that no one but the most
radicalized base of the Republican Party might possibly take
seriously the pivoting of Palin on the question. Now she has a
memoir and a book-tour, Going Rogue, apparently taking the title to
"I've always believed that policy should be based on sound science,
not politics,'' writes Palin, who also has entertained creationism
as a reasonable counterpoint to evolutionary theory, at least
something worthy of teaching in the schools.
"I am a proponent of teaching both,'' she said during her campaign
for governor in 2006. "And you know, I say this too as the daughter
of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and
blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the
subject -- creationism and evolution. It's been a healthy foundation
for me. But don't be afraid of information and let kids debate both
"Snake oil,'' Palin called the science of climate change in a recent
radio interview, suggesting: "The fact is, the Caribou population is
Yet Palin was far more generous about the challenge of climate
change and what the world should do about it during last year's
debate with Vice President Joe Biden, who then asserted flatly that
global warming is "man-made.''
This is what Palin said in debate with Biden in October 2008:
" Well, as the nation's only Arctic state and being the governor of
that state, Alaska feels and sees impacts of climate change more so
than any other state. And we know that it's real.
"I'm not one to attribute every man -- activity of man to the
changes in the climate. There is something to be said also for man's
activities, but also for the cyclical temperature changes on our
planet. But there are real changes going on in our climate. And I
don't want to argue about the causes. What I want to argue about is,
how are we going to get there to positively affect the impacts?
"We have got to clean up this planet. We have got to encourage other
nations also to come along with us with the impacts of climate
change, what we can do about that.''
And just eight months ago, at an Interior Department hearing, the
then-governor of Alaska said this: "We Alaskans are living with the
changes that you are observing in Washington, The dramatic decreases
in the extent of summer sea ice, increased coastal erosion, melting
of permafrost, decrease in alpine glaciers and overall ecosystem
changes are very real to us.''
Yet this is no cause for curtailing drilling for new oil, she
maintained: "Stopping domestic energy production of preferred fuels
does not solve the issues associated with global warming and
threatened or endangered species, but it can make them
worse....Simply waiting for low-carbon-emitting renewable capacity
to be large enough will mean that it will be too late to meet the
mitigation goals for reducing [carbon dioxide] that will be required
under most credible climate-change models.''
"As governor, I was the first governor to form a climate change
sub-cabinet to start dealing with the impacts. We've got to reduce
emissions,'' Palin said in the October 2008 vice presidential debate
with Biden. "John McCain is right there with an "all of the above"
approach to deal with climate change impacts.
"We've got to become energy independent for that reason. Also as we
rely more and more on other countries that don't care as much about
the climate as we do, we're allowing them to produce and to emit and
even pollute more than America would ever stand for. So even in
dealing with climate change, it's all the more reason that we have
an "all of the above" approach, tapping into alternative sources of
energy and conserving fuel, conserving our petroleum products and
our hydrocarbons so that we can clean up this planet and deal with
Palin has staked a new stance on the issue little more than a year
later - no more of that encouraging other nations "to come along
with us with the impacts of climate change.''
Now, it's "come along'' for a new ride, preaching to the chorus of
"Climate-gate'' protesters who maintain that all the world's science
suddently has been reduced to rubble with a pile of hacked emails
from England -- regardless of all the other science that has been
conducted throughout the world.
"As governor of Alaska,'' Palin writes in the Post Op-ed, "I took a
stand against politicized science when I sued the federal government
over its decision to list the polar bear as an endangered species
despite the fact that the polar bear population had more than
"I got clobbered for my actions by radical environmentalists
nationwide, but I stood by my view that adding a healthy species to
the endangered list under the guise of "climate change impacts" was
an abuse of the Endangered Species Act. This would have irreversibly
hurt both Alaska's economy and the nation's, while also reducing
opportunities for responsible development.
"Our representatives in Copenhagen should remember that good
environmental policymaking is about weighing real-world costs and
benefits -- not pursuing a political agenda. That's not to say I
deny the reality of some changes in climate -- far from it. I saw
the impact of changing weather patterns firsthand while serving as
governor of our only Arctic state. I was one of the first governors
to create a subcabinet to deal specifically with the issue and to
recommend common-sense policies to respond to the coastal erosion,
thawing permafrost and retreating sea ice that affect Alaska's
communities and infrastructure.
"But while we recognize the occurrence of these natural, cyclical
environmental trends, we can't say with assurance that man's
activities cause weather changes,'' she writes. "We can say,
however, that any potential benefits of proposed emissions reduction
policies are far outweighed by their economic costs. And those costs
"President Obama has proposed serious cuts in our own long-term
carbon emissions,'' Palin writes. "Meeting such targets would
require Congress to pass its cap-and-tax proposals, which will
result in job losses and higher energy costs (as Obama admitted
during the campaign). That's not exactly what most Americans are
hoping for these days. And as public opposition continues to stall
Congress's cap-and-tax plans, Environmental Protection Agency
bureaucrats plan to regulate carbon emissions themselves, doing an
end run around the American people.''
Palin writes: "In his inaugural address, President Obama declared
his intention to "restore science to its rightful place."
"But instead of staying home from Copenhagen and sending a message
that the United States will not be a party to fraudulent scientific
practices, the president has upped the ante. He plans to fly in at
the climax of the conference in hopes of sealing a "deal." Whatever
deal he gets, it will be no deal for the American people.
"What Obama really hopes to bring home from Copenhagen is more
pressure to pass the Democrats' cap-and-tax proposal,'' Palin
writes. "This is a political move. The last thing America needs is
misguided legislation that will raise taxes and cost jobs --
particularly when the push for such legislation rests on
"Without trustworthy science and with so much at stake, Americans
should be wary about what comes out of this politicized conference.
The president should boycott Copenhagen.''