Sarah Palin Slams Cap and Trade in Op-Ed, Completely Misses the Point

Photo via SMH

Golly. Mrs. Palin has a couple problems with the cap and trade plans, dontcha know. Seems it'll be awful expensive, and a little risky--and why bother when there's a big natural gas pipeline we can build, and this Arctic National Wilderness Refuge that's got a whole lot of oil we can use? Plus, coal's getting a whole lot cleaner these days, so we should just burn more of that, too--otherwise, everybody's going to lose their jobs. See, we just need to drill more, get more gas and oil from the US of A, and keep on keeping on with coal--and presto. Energy problems solved.

That is, unfortunately, evidently Sarah Palin's vision for the future of America's energy economy, as explained in her op-ed in the Washington Post today. She should have stuck to 'Drill, Baby, Drill.'Sarah Palin's Anti-Cap and Trade Op Ed
At least that seemed to get people excited. In her two-page piece attacking what she calls "Obama's" cap and trade (strange, it was authored by Representatives Waxman and Markey), she breaks out all the usual talking points commonly levelled against cap and trade while offering precisely no alternatives to acheiving the climate bill's goals.

In fact, it seems like she either doesn't understand the primary purpose of the bill--which is of course to begin curbing carbon emissions to fight climate change--or she just wanted an excuse to talk up her natural gas pipeline. You know, the one that may never actually get built.

To help you get an idea of the focus of Palin's article, I tallied up some of the key terms that tend to surface in articles about the climate bill:

Number of Times Each Term Used
Climate Change: 0
Global Warming: 0
'Renewable,' 'Alternative,' or 'Clean Energy': 0
Cap-and-Tax: 5

Palin literally never addresses climate change at all in her piece--not a single mention. And she doesn't discuss renewable energy either--she essentially says 'America has a lot of natural resources, and we should continue to use them.' That's it. That's the extent of her vision. For good measure, she repeatedly terms the climate bill a 'cap-and-tax' in a persistent effort to get the term to stick with the American public.

None of this is remotely surprising--even though Palin seemed to indicate she had begun wondering whether climate change was caused by man, she's got a history of believing the contrary. Either way, she obviously doesn't care enough about climate change to even bother addressing it, much less working on ways to mitigate it.

Fine. Forget Climate Change
But even if you remove climate change from the equation--which is impossible--her ideas are still entirely unsustainable and short-sighted. Even if we were to drill the hell out of ANWR and every offshore site in the US, the fact remains that we'd still run out of oil. Soon. Same goes for natural gas. She says: "Westerners literally sit on mountains of oil and gas" as if that were a) true, and b) a reason to forget about developing renewable sources of energy.

Now, I know Palin seems like an easy target, and some would argue that it's not worth attacking her theories on energy--after all, she won't even be in office anymore, after her resignation takes effect. But plenty of people are still interested in hearing what she has to say--and they need to know that this kind of thinking will not increase US energy security in the long run. Palin's 'plan' would merely delay the inevitable shift towards a renewable energy economy, and keep the US heading down an emissions-heavy path with the threats of climate change growing, unchecked all the while. We can't afford either.

More on Sarah Palin:
Sarah Palin's Record on the Environment: A Closer Look
Sarah Palin Says 'Thanks, But No Thanks to Energy Efficiency'

Tags: Carbon Emissions | Coal | Congress | Global Climate Change | Oil