Sarah Palin - A Bridge to Nowhere - Energy, Climate, and the Environment

Thomas Schueneman

Now that the "shock and awe" of Senator McCain's pick for his vice presedential running mate begins to subside, many are left with little more than "huh"? If John McCain truly feels that Sarah P...
Sarah Palin is an environmental disaster

Now that the “shock and awe” of Senator McCain’s pick for his vice presidential running mate begins to subside, many are left with little more than “huh”?

If John McCain truly feels that Sarah Palinis the absolute best candidate available from his republican list of contenders for VP, and that she stands ready and able to step in as president should the 72–year-old Senator become unable to perform his duties as president, well so be it. That doesn’t say too much for the rest of the viable candidates, but the choice has been made.

Focusing on Palin’s views on energy policy, climate change and the environment seems to put her at odds with McCain on these issues. At least at one time, but apparently no more.

As Defenders of Wildlife president Roger Schlickeisen says,

Senator McCain’s choice for a running mate is beyond belief. By choosing Sarah Palin, McCain has clearly made a decision to continue the Bush legacy of destructive environmental policies.”

Energy Policy

Palin is an enthusiastic advocate of drilling in ANWR and offshore, while not that long ago McCain was opposed. Palin dismisses renewable energy as “at least a decade away” showing her abysmal lack of knowledge in the potential for economic growth from the “green” sector as well as the almost daily technical advances in renewable energy. Palin fails to mention the fact that the production of oil from ANWR or offshore is what would actually be at least a decade away.

On these points alone she engenders a vast lack of credibility on energy issues. In fact, Sarah Palin represents a disaster in terms of energy policy. She is neither forward-thinking or displays any awareness whatsoever of the realities of our energy economy or how to go about building a new one.

She merely sits in her office and sees

…the big oil company’s building… right out there next to me…”

That sums up the “leadership” Sarah Palin brings to the Republican table in terms of energy policy.

Global Warming

When asked about global warming she acknowledges that, as governor of Alaska, she can see the changing climate all around her. But she goes on to say that

“ …I'm not one though who would attribute it to being one of those who happens to believe that global warming is not caused by man”.

Hopefully at some point in the campaign, Palin will be asked on what she bases that opinion. On what foundation does Palin attribute her views on climate change? Can she discuss the science laid out by the National Academies of Science, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Program or the IPCC? Or is Palin’s grasp of the science centered around what she hears on Fox News?

She should be made to make her position clear and how it is she has analyzed the available data to come to that position – if she has studied any data at all.

To simply say she believes human activity “plays no role” in climate change is not enough. She needs to explain herself, if she can.

The Environment and The Great Outdoors

Sarah Palin is no environmentalist. I suspect she’s rather proud of that.

Under her leadership, the State of Alaska has sued the federal government on its decision to list the polar bear on the endangered species list.

Palin claims that polar bear populations are increasing, sounding ominously like a Wall Street Journal or Fox News sound bite. Can she cite her sources on this claim (besides the aforementioned)? Has she talked to any wildlife biologists studying polar bear? Does she have the slightest idea what she is talking about?

She claims that she bases her opposition to the polar bear listing on a scientific review from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Oddly, for Palin, documents released through a Freedom of Information Act request show state biologists agree with Interior Department findings about polar bear habitat.

In fact, since the mid-1980’s the polar bear population in Alaska’s Southern Beaufort Sea has declined 20%, according to a peer-reviewed study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Ian Stirling, an emeritus scientist with Canada’s Department of the Environment and adjunct professor at the University of Alberta is clear about the polar bear:

Polar bear populations have not been increasing for the past 30 years, and that's a well-known fact.”

Stirling has studied polar bears for 37 years, longer than anyone. Palin was 7 years old when he began his research.

Palin sees the environment purely on terms of how it can be exploited. At all costs. She defends the aerial hunting of wolves and bears in Alaska, a practice that was banned by the federal government in 1972, yet, under Palin’s leadership, a law that Alaska manages to get around to this day.

Palin is a disaster on the environment, waiting to happen. If we allow it.

Supporters of Palin point to her standing up to special interests in opposing the so-called “bridge to nowhere” that was to be built near Ketchikan, Alaska.

And that is exactly what Palin offers the country in terms of energy, climate change, and environmental stewardship – a Bridge to Nowhere.

Tags: sarah+palin+environmental+record, sarah+palin+global+warming, sarah+palin+green


Climate Politics & Policy