Sarah Palin’s Misguided Energy Policies

Alaskan coastline eroding into the sea as glaciers and permafrost melts.

Alaskan coastline eroding into the sea as glaciers and permafrost melts.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s attack on President Obama’s climate plan [“The ‘Cap And Tax’ Dead End,” op-ed, July 14] distorted the proposal’s economic impact and ignored the economic and ecological damage associated with global warming.

The United States Climate Action Partnership — a coalition of some of the country’s largest energy companies, manufacturers and environmental groups — supports the pending legislation because the costs of failing to address climate change far outweigh the costs of moving to a clean-energy economy.

Ms. Palin should understand this: Research from the University of Alaska at Anchorage predicts that melting permafrost in Alaska will cost the state more than $3.6 billion in infrastructure damage over the next two decades, while scholars at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks have found that warmer ocean temperatures are increasing disease in the state’s economically important salmon fisheries.

The “inherent link between energy and prosperity, energy and opportunity, and energy and security” need not point us toward increased fossil fuel exploration, as Palin said it should.

A recent report by the Center for American Progress and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst projects that Mr. Obama’s stimulus package and the Waxman-Markey energy bill now being considered by the Senate would create 1.7 million green jobs annually, enabling the United States to lead the world in clean-energy development.

Long-term prosperity will come from tackling the threat of climate change, not ignoring it.

Whitney Angell Leonard
The Washington Post

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