Sarah Palin on Climate Change: The Causes Don’t Matter
When asked about climate change at the vice-presidential debate, Gov. Sarah Palin said, “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?”
Generally speaking, if we don’t know what the cause of a given problem is, but we know there is indeed a problem, how do we devise a strategy capable of adequately addressing it? Or, in the words of Gov. Palin, “…how are we going to get there to positively affect the impact” (whatever that means).
In Thursday night’s much-ballyhooed vice-presidential debate, the issue of climate change received a bit of attention, but neither candidate was really pushed to develop their statements much beyond their original answers (Biden on his recent comment in a rope-line that the Obama-Biden ticket didn’t support clean coal and Palin on her waffling position on the causes of climate change). But the format didn’t really allow for deeper exploration either.
What troubles me about Gov. Palin’s thoughts about climate change is that she often says something along the lines of, “I’m not one for believing that man’s actions are entirely responsible for global warming.” But even if the governor doesn’t give much credence to the anthropogenic causes of global warming, she still hasn’t offered any solutions to mitigating it (i.e Bjorn Lomborg-type solutions).
I have two immediate reactions Governor Palin’s position on climate change:
- Most climate scientists do not argue that human activity is entirely responsible for a changing climate.
- Where does Gov. Palin get her science that allows her to make such internally-derived claims?
Obama, McCain and Biden have supported legislation to limit climate-warming carbon emissions, and on Thursday, Palin said she too favored this, although her admission came at the very end of then answer to moderator Ifill’s question about carbon caps.
Somehow, Gov. Palin also linked increased domestic oil production to the fight against global warming. In fact, she’s already warned that we’d be in a “world of hurt” if we don’t step up domestic drilling.
“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,” she said, when talking about reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Since Governor Palin reads all of the newspapers, or at least the ones that are put in front of her, and since she spread her academic adventure across six institutions in the American West, I suppose I am simply to believe she has got it all figured out.
What do you all think? How important is it that we know the causes of climate change, or the degree to which they are anthropogenic?
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