Sarah Palin: Ice queen of the Arctic

One of the world’s leading online newspapers, the Guardian.co.uk, published an article on September 17, 2008 by journalist Britt Collins who earlier in the year met Governor Sarah Palin while working on a documentary in Alaska.  Collins examines Governor Palin’s record on various environmental concerns.  ~ Sarah Palin Truth Squad

Earlier this year, while writing a documentary on Kivalina, one of several Alaskan barrier-reef islands slipping into the sea, and among the world’s worst ecological disasters, I stumbled on the state’s 44-year-old governor Sarah Palin. Even then, as she posed in the snow-covered wilderness beside her seaplane and fresh animal kills, rumours swirled around her that she might be a vice-presidential contender. In an extraordinary twist of fate, this sharp-shooter and former small-town beauty queen, who until two years ago was mayor of her tiny hometown, Wasilla, Alaska, has become the American right’s golden girl.

Ever since the Palin family soap drama hit prime time, the mainstream media has focused on digging up the dirt, but there have been few mentions about her environmental history. Palin is governor of a state that has seen the most dramatic effects of a warming world, yet until last week she remained unconvinced that climate change is in any way man-made. “The jury’s still out on that one,” she said, just days after the recent hurricanes and tropical storms were making their way across the Atlantic, offering a glimpse of the climate chaos that may be left for future generations.

Palin, in a recent interview with Newsmax.com, accepted that warming would affect Alaska “more than any other state, because of our location”. But she added: “I’m not one though who would attribute it to being manmade.” Such a position would put her to the right even of President Bush and some of the oil companies – and it is now scaring the international community.

Last Friday, she finally conceded that the problem might be man-made. In an interview with ABC television, she said: “I’m attributing some of man’s activities to potentially causing some of the changes in the climate right now.”

Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science, says: “The irony of a climate change denier being based in Alaska is breathtaking. The state is warming faster than practically anywhere else, with winter temperatures up by 6F since 1950. Visitors to Alaska can see the evidence all around, from drunken forests of semi-fallen trees and sunken roads, all unseated by the melting of the permafrost, to unprecedented forest fires.”

For conservation and animal protection groups, Palin has long been considered an enemy. According to Greenpeace, “Palin has the most anti-environment records of any governor in the US. She has supported oil drilling in some of the most ecologically sensitive areas in Alaska, even when it meant sacrificing polar bears and beluga whales.”

Wolf in the Alaskan wilderness

Wolf in the Alaskan wilderness

Sarah Palin: Ice queen of the Arctic

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