Photo via Goose Radio
Last Friday, Sarah Palin gave a speech at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference 2010 (the 2nd most influential GOP event besides the Republican National Convention). In it, she devoted some time to discussing energy, which is ostensibly considered her area of expertise. Her basic message is that the hacked email debacle, which she calls "Gore-Gate" (more on that bit of linguistic deviousness in a second), proves that climate science is just "snake oil science stuff," and that our energy policy should be to rely on fossil fuels until an American invents a real clean energy solution. It is, of course, a train wreck. Watch:And like any good train wreck, you just can't stop watching . . .
There are so many things wrong with this snippet that if I try to consider them all I fear my head will explode. First, the obvious: sing it with me now! The scandal formerly known as Climate Gate did nothing to challenge the actual science behind man-caused global warming! The British House of Commons, which investigated the alleged wrongdoing of the scientists found this: "We have found no reason to challenge the scientific consensus that 'global warming is happening [and] that it is induced by human activity'."
Second, calling the hacked email debacle Gore-Gate is a deliberate attempt to widen the scope of the event to encompass not only all of climate science, but Democrats who support action on climate change as well. The enemy isn't just all those naughty climate scientists--in the warped view of Fox-ites, every single one of the thousands of climate scientists out there is untrustworthy on the grounds that a handful of them said some not-so nice things in emails. But it's also anyone who would take Al Gore seriously. Obviously, Al Gore had as much to do with so-called Climate Gate as Sarah Palin has had to do with governing Alaska in the last six months--which is to say, nothing at all. Palin is just nonsensically lumping in well-known right wing signifiers for global warming (Gore, snake oil science, etc) in order to rile up populist angst--one skill she excels at.
Third, she frames her speech as though there are currently no viable alternatives to burning fossil fuels for energy. This is obviously ridiculous--are plenty, and they are getting more effective all the time.
Finally, the logic that America will invent the next breakthrough clean energy technology simply because Americans have invented a lot of other stuff is not only stupid, but actually detrimental. By obstructing energy policy that puts a price on carbon, Palin and her party are preventing the market from providing a clear incentive for private companies to dole out money for R&D; on clean energy. Telling everyone that clean energy isn't really reliable or possible yet just sends the signal to investors to keep their cash in oil and coal. As romantic as the notion seems, the chances of someone inventing an amazingly cheap and efficient source of clean energy in their spare time in their garage are practically nil.
Via Climate Progress
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