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Palin’s Climate Epiphany

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Posted on Dec 15, 2009
Sarah Palin
AP / Ross D. Franklin

By Eugene Robinson

Sarah Palin is such a cold-eyed skeptic about the Copenhagen summit on climate change that it’s no surprise she would call on President Barack Obama not to attend. After all, Obama might join other leaders in acknowledging that warming is a “global challenge.” He might entertain “opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” He might even explore ways to “participate in carbon-trading markets.”

Oh, wait. Those quotes aren’t from some smug Euro-socialist manifesto. They’re from an administrative order Palin signed in September 2007, as governor of Alaska, establishing a “sub-Cabinet” of top state officials to develop a strategy for dealing with climate change.

Back then, Palin was governor of a state where “coastal erosion, thawing permafrost, retreating sea ice, record forest fires, and other changes are affecting, and will continue to affect, the lifestyles and livelihoods of Alaskans,” as she wrote. Faced with that reality, she sensibly formed the high-level working group to chart a course of action.

“Climate change is not just an environmental issue,” wrote Palin. “It is also a social, cultural, and economic issue important to all Alaskans.”

Palin mentioned having created the climate change unit in an Op-Ed piece she wrote last week for The Washington Post. What she didn’t acknowledge was the contrast between what she says about climate change now and what she said—and did—about it as governor of our most at-risk state. When she was in office, Palin treated the issue as serious, complex and worthy of urgent attention. Now that she’s the iconic leader of a populist movement that reacts with anger at the slightest whiff of pointy-headed, “one world” intellectualism, she writes as if the whole idea of seeking ways to mitigate climate change is a crock.

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“Alaska’s climate is warming,” Palin wrote to Alaskans in a July 2008 newsletter. “While there have been warming and cooling trends before, climatologists tell us that the current rate of warming is unprecedented within the time of human civilization. Many experts predict that Alaska, along with our northern latitude neighbors, will warm at a faster pace than any other areas, and the warming will continue for decades.”

In her administrative order, Palin instructed the sub-Cabinet group to develop recommendations on “the opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Alaska sources, including the expanded use of alternative fuels, energy conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, land use management, and transportation planning.” She also specifically instructed the group to look into “carbon-trading markets.”

But in her Op-Ed last week, Palin—while acknowledging “natural, cyclical environmental trends” and the possibility that human activity might be contributing to warming—states flatly that “any potential benefits of proposed emissions reduction policies are far outweighed by their economic costs.” What she once called “carbon-trading markets” she now denounces as “the Democrats’ cap-and-tax proposal.”

Palin cites the “Climate-gate” e-mail scandal as reason enough for the president to skip the Copenhagen meeting. I’ve written previously about those e-mails and why, despite what skeptics say, they do not begin to prove that climate science is fraudulent, politicized or fundamentally flawed. The most compelling evidence for climate change is found in the Arctic, and Palin has seen it firsthand.

In her 2008 newsletter, Palin mentioned one coastal village, Newtok, that would have to be relocated because of flooding due to the effects of warmer temperatures. Since then, relocation plans have been developed for two more towns, Shishmaref and Kivalina. The Army Corps of Engineers has identified more than 160 villages that are threatened, according to a recent newsletter from Palin’s successor, Gov. Sean Parnell. At least 31 are judged to be in imminent peril.

In case anyone was wondering, Palin’s hometown of Wasilla sits at an elevation of 333 feet—high and dry.

The chairman of the Cabinet working group that Palin assembled to develop a climate-change strategy, Larry Hartig, is scheduled to deliver a presentation at the Copenhagen summit. Posted in advance on the Internet, the presentation shows that Alaskans aren’t just fretting about the abstract possibility of impacts from warming. They’re dealing with a real, live situation.

I predict we’ll see more artful dodges of this kind from Palin. She made any number of pragmatic, reasonable, smart decisions as governor—and now, it seems, will be obliged to renounce them all. Her tea-party legions have one answer—a shouted “No!”—for every question.

Palin knows better, but she has to fiddle her followers’ chosen tune—not while Rome burns, but while Nome melts.
   
Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)washpost.com.
   
© 2009, Washington Post Writers Group


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By Inherit The Wind, December 18, 2009 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment

A Sartrian hell:
Put Mandinka and Montanawildhack in a room for all eternity.

Dante’s 7th ring—stick some poor sap in there with them!

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By mandinka, December 18, 2009 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

The answers to global Warming is kept in Al Gores lock box and for just a cool Billion dollars he’ll open it and show us the way. Or we can stop listening to the environmental wackos and do what we know is right. like building nuclear plants and investing into clean coal.  Stop the nonsense spending on wind and solar that can never be a viable alternative due to its inconsistency

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By starfish, December 18, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

Exelon is the country’s largest nuclear plant operator and was one of Barack Obama’s largest sources of campaign money.

http://tinyurl.com/ybf8onx

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By Purple Girl, December 17, 2009 at 10:29 pm Link to this comment

Oil corp Execs want to assure their tenure remains lucrative- what happens to Bristols son’s children is of no concern to them. They don’t even give a shit about their own descendants, Sarah.
‘A Hundred Years of Oil Reserves in the US’- That ain’t shit!
Even if you scrap ‘Global Warming’ from the debate- Fossil Fuels are a dead end. Economically it will always be ‘in short demand’- because there is a finite supply- which does not renew itself in a time span hosptitable to mere mortals. So high cost and scarcity will continue to be a problem for people well into the future- regardless of ‘reserves’. Thus it will also reamain a precipitator of conflict. Not only as it relates to energy and the economy of a nation- but it’s Food production as well.
Which leads to other issues of health that are adversely effected by the use of oil products. Air and water pollution.And Sarah of all people should be able to understand the devatasting effects of an oil spill!
So let them Deny global warming- they are mostly Fatalists anyway with a morbid facination for utter global destruction to begin with. They don’t see it as the end of life as we know it- they see it as the beginning of the ‘Rapture’.
But they can not deny the catastrophe it has caused in our economy ($4/gal!), our international affairs,to our ‘Sea to Shining Sea’ and our health.
If these idiots want to chain their grandkids to the Oil Royals as we have been, then let them move to Saudi Arabia, or Kuwait or Dubia.

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By DieDaily, December 17, 2009 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

starfish, you are spot on. It is indeed incontrovertible that Obama’s policies continue and extend Bush’s in every area except that those policies weren’t really Bush’s any more than they are now Obama’s—they are those of the financiers and the military/industrial “elites”.

Notice how lemmings like coco need to say that you are “not a liberal democrat [you] are a republican liar”? That’s to your credit. The republican vs. democrat false dilemma is on the way out. People are realizing that the two parties are merely the two arms of the same stinking monster. If the republicans regain office in 2012 it will only be because the democrats are currently in disgrace (which they are and will be, of course), which is exactly how the unknown Manchurian Obama swept to power in the wake of Bush’s disgrace in the first place. People like coco are so narrow minded that they cannot conceive of an independent thinker. “You’re either with us or them” he drones, a la Bush II. Well, some of us don’t want to be a Blood or a Cryp. We’ll pass thanks, in favor of being merely anti-tyranny and anti-corruption.

Meanwhile, the Republicans support bigger taxes and government while the Dem’s expand their wars. Clinton balanced the budget then Bush blew it out completely. Obama outspends all previous presidents combined in his first 8 months. I can’t imagine how tightly one has to screw one’s eyes shut to preserve this fantasy of the right vs. left, Rep vs. Dem. What a joke.

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By starfish, December 17, 2009 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

Eugene:

Take off the blinders: Obama is a fraud and a failure. Ignore his half-blackness and criticize his white half if that makes you feel more comfortable.

Palin is not the most pressing problem in America; she’s not an office holder or a candidate for public office.

Obama, on the other hand, is the President of the United States and the most powerful man in the world. Keep your focus on him.

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By krewaters, December 16, 2009 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Your article is not newsworthy.  Palin herself has already described in detail the committee she created and why.  But, reporting this would take more than a shallow internet search.

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By Mack TN, December 16, 2009 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am so tired of seeing articles about this stupid woman. Can’t the media just ignore her?  Maybe then she’ll go away.

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By starfish, December 16, 2009 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

Let’s see how closely Obama’s policies resemble George W. Bush’s policies and then decide who the liar is . . .

- - - - -

Obama has appointed financial officials who have largely served the agenda of the Wall Street and industry interests that funded his campaign.

Obama has embraced many of the Bush/Cheney executive power and secrecy abuses which Democrats once railed against—from state secrets to indefinite detention to renditions and military commissions.

Obama has actively sought to protect from accountability and disclosure a whole slew of Bush crimes.

Obama secretly a negotiated a deal with the pharmaceutical industry after promising repeatedly that all negotiations over health care would take place out in the open, even on C-SPAN.

Are the criticisms of Obama’s escalation of the war in Afghanistan valid, and are his arguments in its favor redolent of the ones George Bush made to “surge” in Iraq or Lyndon Johnson made to escalate in Vietnam? 

Was Bob Herbert right when he condemned Obama’s detention policies as un-American and tyrannical, and warned:  “Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House”?

- - - - -

More on this at:  http://tinyurl.com/ybtmtdp

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By coco, December 16, 2009 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment

Obama will be twice as good as Palin on a bad day.

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By coco, December 16, 2009 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

starfish isn’t a liberal democrate. He’s a republican liar.

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By don knutsen, December 16, 2009 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The picture at the head of the article best describes Sara Palin. Dosen’t she resemble an oppurtunistic “Blow-Up Doll” ? She, more then anyone is a walking example of how bankrupt this country is as far as what is required or expected to take part in our politics. You don’t have to have an answer for anything, after all George Bush didn’t even try and we no longer ask for that apparently. All we require is a grade school popularity contest winner. No one with the capacity to deal with anything that might change the status quo is allowed to participate. They aren’t neccesarily always vilified, just blatantly ignored by design by a media that is a major player in erasing our democracy right in front of us. The media is busy telling us already, not even a year after the criminal administration we suffered with for the last 8 yeras , that the republicans are poised to regain power in the next election. Have we all really forgotten so easily what went on ? Our media is working overtime making sure we will and while we ramp up another war in earnest we are instead inundated daily, hourly, with the sexual antics of Tiger Woods. I guess in a country as full of hang-ups as america, that will always trump everyhting else. The world watched in disbelief when Bush was re-elected in 2004. How fucking stupid do you suppose we must look to anyone outside looking in. We have lost the credibility to stand up for democracy or freedom, because it long ago was replaced by a corporate facism with the help of a congress that profits from ignoring the needs of the people. One fact that everyone should take with them, that is very telling. There are well over 200 millionaires in the congress. Does anyone think that any of them spends much time worrying about finding a solution to the cost of healthcare, wars, education, housing ? These are not problems they have to deal with. If we are so determined to live in a world of never-ending war then bring back the draft so that their sons and daughters lives are on the line like everyone elses. Take away their for-life health insurance they all enjoy so they are playing on the same field as all of us. Our congressman & women are nothing more then lobbyists in training. Our democracy is nothing more then a faded memory.

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By starfish, December 16, 2009 at 7:23 am Link to this comment

Well, as a liberal Democrat, I have to wonder at the “brain starved ignorance” of the voters who put Obama in the White House.

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By Ouroborus, December 16, 2009 at 4:40 am Link to this comment

ardee, December 16 at 8:13 am #
Ouroborus, December 16 at 12:27 am #

I wonder ,then, what “her brain starved ignorance”
says about this nation, a small but vocal segment of
which holds her up as a worthy leader?

I am frequently ashamed for my fellow Americans,
motivated as they are by testosterone induced fantasy
rather than making considered and much wiser
decisions. But I am angry at a news media that
actually portrays this ignoramus in a favorable
light.
========================================
It definitely says, what to me, is obvious; we’re a
nation of ignorant(not stupid) citizens who have
given up their critical thinking skills for
emotional, knee jerk, poorly thought out, reactions
to issues that require careful investigation and
subsequent deep thought. Without a thorough look at
action and consequence; good decisions are
impossible. The evidence is there in plain sight for
all to see. We’re living the results.

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By ardee, December 16, 2009 at 4:13 am Link to this comment

Ouroborus, December 16 at 12:27 am #

I wonder ,then, what “her brain starved ignorance” says about this nation, a small but vocal segment of which holds her up as a worthy leader?

I am frequently ashamed for my fellow Americans, motivated as they are by testosterone induced fantasy rather than making considered and much wiser decisions. But I am angry at a news media that actually portrays this ignoramus in a favorable light.

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By Ouroborus, December 15, 2009 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

ardee, December 15 at 9:35 am #
I doubt I am the only person who thinks Palin a
national embarrassement. Further I believe her a
symptom of a real illness in our political world.
=============================================

Gotta go along with ardee on this one, adding; her
ignorance is blatant with every brain starved comment
from out of her mouth.

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By wildflower, December 15, 2009 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment

RE STARFISH: “You are assuming Exxon is “shoveling money” to Palin, but we KNOW Exelon was shoveling money to Obama.”

What actually crossed my mind as I was reading Robinson’s article was that Palin was seeking new stipends, and her “flip-flop” performance was to let everyone know that she was now a “climate change denier” FOR HIRE – hoping the dirty energy weasels were listening, which they probably were.

To date, I haven’t heard that Obama has become a “climate change denier,” but, perhaps, you know and/or have heard something that I haven’t heard. Politicians are certainly flipping and flopping a lot these days. In fact, I just heard one of them on the news today – Liberman.  Now talk about dirty weasels.

The point you raised about Exelon shoveling money toward Obama’s campaign brings up an important issue.  Like a great many people in this country, I feel that it is serious conflict of interest for any politician to be accepting money from these large corporations etc. Everyone knows that there is a high
probability that it will influence public policies and legislation.  It’s a corrupt process and one more urgent issue the public needs to address – and soon.

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By DieDaily, December 15, 2009 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment

montanawildhack, you’ve got the right of it bro. Palin, Obama, nothing to choose between the two that isn’t superficial. Why? Same handlers, that’s why. Obama is more beloved of the neocons than Bush II was. Why? Because he’s done more to extend their objectives than even Bush. Let’s break down the fake left-right dichotomy staged for the benefit of the uninformed. We naturally want to form into camps. No problem. We need the “Independent Camp”. Democrat vs. Republican? Does anyone really even believe there is a difference any more? I sure don’t.

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By starfish, December 15, 2009 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment

wildflower:

You are assuming Exxon is “shoveling money” to Palin, but we KNOW Exelon was shoveling money to Obama.

” ... Exelon, the country’s largest nuclear plant operator and one of Mr. Obama’s largest sources of campaign money.”  Obama even altered legislation to please Exelon.  http://tinyurl.com/ybf8onx

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By wildflower, December 15, 2009 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

Eugene, we’ve got to remember that Palin was getting a “stipend” when she was Governor of Alaska.  Since she is no longer governor, I’m sure she felt the need to seek out new sources for new “stipends”. . .  and we know that oil industry folks like EXXON are shoveling money to climate change deniers.

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By DEO, December 15, 2009 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Palin is tap dancing vaudeville act doing the shimmy to the tune of Ka-Ching…she will $ay anything she has to.

Sarah Palin/Fabio 2012!

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By JFoster2k, December 15, 2009 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

Palin is an opportunist. She says whatever is required of her by the moneyed interests paying her this week. She is as phony as the rest of the politicians (or ex-politicians) spewing nonsense about “Climate-gate”, “Govt-Run-Health-Care” and the imagined “Socialist Takeover” of our country.

The trouble with this discourse with these type of people is that they’ll throw any ridiculous rhetoric into the mix to confuse or obfuscate the issues while their opponents take the time to fact-check. Reasonable people will always lose ground when they play by rules while the deniers don’t.

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By felicity, December 15, 2009 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

Palin’s new-found constituents (who ARE those people) can be played like a fiddle.  Palin, the demagogue tells them what they want to hear, never what they need to hear.  Appeal to people’s passions and prejudices and they’ll end up licking your boots.  Palin is NO dummy.

The media, apparently, are too chicken-shit to call her out as a demagogue.  (Of course while Reagan/Gingrich/Bush were turning the world’s richest, freest country into a decaying, plutocratic, militarized rogue state, about-to-be-banana-republic, the media buried their collective brains in their corporate mud and went right along with the destruction.)

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By starfish, December 15, 2009 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

Finding himself no longer able to defend Obama or Obama’s actions or policies, Eugene Robinson has now retreated to “safe” ground and is bashing Sarah Palin—who holds NO public office and is NOT a candidate for any public office.

How cowardly.

I’ll care what Eugene Robinson thinks about anyone only after he apologizes for helping to push Obama on this country.

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By bozh, December 15, 2009 at 8:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

People living along the equator may evaporate in coming heat but siberia, novaya zemya wld most likely become balmy paradizes.
Kids, world plutos know what they are doing. The planet is getting poorer by day. One bn people still may survive.

World plutos, starting with ones even before rise of sumer city states ca 10-15 k yrs ago have been lying to us to this day.

I know how hard it is to give up an addiction. Addiction to money-power-eclat appears even more difficult to give up than any other bad habit i know of.
So, expect the same deceit, ‘education’ that we endured at least for ten k yrs. tnx

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By montanawildhack, December 15, 2009 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

Did you hear that Palin praised Obama’s Nobel speech???  Did you hear that the Neo-cons praised Obamas Nobel speech???  Proof positive that Obama is now a card carrying zionist….  I give him credit for not totally caving into the Zionists for 10 months…  good job Obomba….

Global warming is a huge crock of shit manufactured to keep the masses from focusing in on what’s really going down…..  You’re welcome…

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By Aaron Ortiz, December 15, 2009 at 7:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Acid partisan articles like this one do nothing to contribute to peace and
understanding. As the leaked emails that started the “Climategate” scandal reveal,
one-sided thinking eventually blinds and distorts the perceptions of those who
started out with truth.

Truth is easily replaced with an agenda. When we differ in opinion from someone
else, instead of attacking, which is an inherently insecure act, we should try to
understand the other side. In the end understanding will bring wisdom…and much
greater power.

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By Mbadger, December 15, 2009 at 6:04 am Link to this comment

The only reason she’s changed her mind and hit out against climate believers is so that she can get money from big oil corps and right wing business. It’s a pretty stupid stance considering how much she professes to love Alaska, which will be effected more than most states when the climate travels south for the winter

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By ardee, December 15, 2009 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

I doubt I am the only person who thinks Palin a national embarrassement. Further I believe her a symptom of a real illness in our political world.

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By photoshock, December 15, 2009 at 3:56 am Link to this comment

Not only is she on the corporate payroll, she is being bankrolled in her quest for the presidency by the very people that have bankrolled Obama, the moneyed elite.
She wants everyone to know that there’s a difference between her and Obama, and what will we get for the change, more of the same screwing that we always have.
It is high time, that the people elect directly, not the electoral college and not the corporations, the president.
This is the only way that there will be any accountability to the people, the true government of the United States of the elected officials. Not the money-grubbing, money-hungry shit-for-brains people that have been elected since Lyndon Johnson.

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By knobcreekfarmer, December 15, 2009 at 3:34 am Link to this comment

she’s on the corporate payroll now. fuck the people - give me more.

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