Sarah Palin Says Barack Obama Should Boycott Copenhagen Climate Talks

Sarah Palin "can't say with assurance that man's activities cause weather changes."

Sarah Palin "can't say with assurance that man's activities cause weather changes" and "any potential benefits of proposed emissions reduction policies are far outweighed by their economic costs."

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.

The president’s 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the United States in an international dialog about the fate of the planet from which the previous president had all but withdrawn until the end of his second term.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 this issue.

“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 heart.

“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 sides.”

“Snake oil,” Palin called the science of climate change in a recent radio interview, suggesting: “The fact is, the Caribou population is increasing.”

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 climate change.”

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.

Mark Silva
Chicago Tribune/The Swamp

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