GOP VP Nominee Sarah Palin in Global Warming Science Denial

Sarah PalinSarah Palin, John McCain's vice presidential nominee, has demonstrated a shocking ignorance of climate science, indicating that the McCain campaign is completely out of touch with reality. While I can relate to Palin's small town background, and am glad that she appreciates her time in the outdoors as a hunter and fisher, her view that climate change is not man-made reflects a willful disregard for scientific evidence and proof, a disregard that enables inaction on the most compelling issue of our time.

Palin, in a Newsmax article published last week, responded to a question on global warming by stating "A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made."

Palin's position that global warming is not man-made flies in the face of international scientific consensus, a consensus that has even convinced the Bush EPA and Supreme Court. Her radically reactionary view on this issue can only be the result of failing to engage with the modern world. Her view that global warming is not man-made is borne out in her policy positions in favor of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge specifically, and oil use generally.

Palin's position, and its dependence on faulty science, can be understood better by considering the report (pdf) on climate change she drafted as Governor of Alaska. She begins from a proposition that "we can't stop the warming." She claims that as warming is inevitable, we must learn to adapt. There is some truth here; some level of future warming cannot be avoided due to extant greenhouse emissions, and it is true that we must adapt to that level of warming. We can do this, for example, by providing disaster support in the wake of tragedies like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

However, not all future warming is inevitable. If we reduce or cease carbon dioxide emissions over the next few years, we can limit future temperature increases to a manageable level, avoiding a catastrophic tipping point. We can do this, in part, by stopping the burning of fossil fuels like oil.

As Palin does not think human carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming, she is in favor of increased oil exploration, drilling, and burning. These bankrupt practices of the past threaten not only our way of life, but the current balance of life on earth.

For More on Palin's positions on issues of climate change and the environment, see Greenpeace's backgrounder or Grist's eco-rundown .



If you see any unhelpful comments, please let us know immediately.

Honestly, you couldn't make this woman up.

Written in September 2008

Earl E (anonymous)

It is very easy to see a correlation between oil and behavoir. I expected this, and we should all expect 4 more years of Iraq and the combustion engine, they might even get the price of gas to drop by manipulating the market.

Written in September 2008

Johnnie (anonymous)

This is terrible... how can anyone STILL pretend that global warming is not happening? I wish that he had chosen otherwise -- or that she is prepared to learn... . We have too little money to fix EVERYTHING that climate breaks. Triage is applied in an emergency to allow the most globally beneficial use of inadequate resources. There will be severe climate disruptions, which will be left untreated because they will be recognized as able to recover autonomously. Selected climatically-induced emergencies where tax-payers’ money can reduce suffering will be funded. Last, and most sadly, there may be even situations where unlimited funds cannot reverse impacts and the limited funds are deemed better deployed on other projects for more go to

Written in September 2008

Independent voter for McCain, so far. . . (anonymous)

Everyone, please follow the link in this article labeled "report" to read the actual letter that Sarah Palin wrote to the Alaskans in Sept. 2007. CLEARLY, SARAH PALIN DOES BELIEVE IN GLOBAL WARMING AS CAUSED BY PEOPLE, because she urges Alaskans to reduce their carbon footprint, regulate greenhouse emmissions, and use lower-carbon energy sources. DUH! This so called "article" is taking her phrase (in the opening of her letter) "we can't stop the warming" out of context. The letter is addressed only to Alaskans, who are heavily affected by GLOBAL warming, not just what Alaskans do, and clearly what she is saying is that ALASKANS cannot stop what THE REST OF THE WORLD (GLOBE)IS DOING, therefore they must prepare for the erosion and climate change that is effecting them at present, NOW.

Written in September 2008

Joe Koncelik (anonymous)

Not only check the letter she wrote to Alaskan's, look at her Administrations web page. On her web page you will get a clear view of her actions on climate change. All the documents are publically available. She is quite proactive on the issue.

Written in September 2008

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