Photo via the Telegrah
Is Sarah Palin turning over a new leaf? After all, when the Alaskan Governor publicly denied global warming during the 2008 presidential campaign, it was the cause of yet another headache—not just for environmentalists, but for John McCain, himself a firm believer in global warming. So it came as something of a surprise when she said outright that climate change is now harming Alaska, and that's why she wants to start drilling for natural gas in its outer continental shelf. According to the LA Times, Palin attended a hearing with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on whether or not to open new Alaskan land for oil drilling. The notorious governor argued in favor--saying the cleaner-burning natural gas that could be extracted would reduce the amount of dirtier emissions and slow down global warming.
Remember, this is the same governor who claimed she's "not one to believe" global warming is man mad, sued the federal government to block them from listing polar bears (whose habitat is melting and threatened) as an endangered species, made "Drill, Baby, Drill" the most recognizable slogan this side of "Yes We Can," and legalized the shooting of wolves from helicopters. Okay, so that last one doesn't have too much to do with climate change beliefs. But still.
So was it surreal hearing Mrs. Palin make claims based on climate science? Like:
"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," she warned.
"Meeting these goals will require a dramatic increase . . . to preferred available fuels, including natural gas, that have a very low carbon footprint . . . ," she said. "These available fuels are required to supply the nation's energy needs during the transition to green energy alternatives."
Oh climate change denyin' Palin, we hardly knew ye! How quickly you've come around to see the terrible plight man's exorbitant carbon emissions have brought upon the earth, and how—what's that you say, LA Times?
Alaskan officials say that opening offshore waters to petroleum production would create 35,000 jobs with a payroll of $72 billion over the next 50 years.
Oh. Hm. Pretty convenient time to convert to ardent global warming fighter, wouldn't you say, Mrs. Palin? But no, you'd never say something you didn't fully believe in to get your way, would you? Naw.
So perhaps I'm being cynical here, but it does seem like a rather opportune time to start supporting climate change efforts—that is, when your state stands to reap billions of dollars in revenue. Never mind that drilling in that region could potentially be environmentally catastrophic, and that natural gas is a far-from-ideal short term remedy at best. Until we hear more on how Ms. Wasilla plans on making that transition to renewable energy in her state, and how she'll support green jobs, it's probably best to remain skeptical of Palin's intentions to combat global warming.