Published on
The Boston Globe

Cold on Climate Warming

Derrick Z. Jackson

Did a substantive Sarah Palin show up? Darn right she did. And if you are an endangered species, look out.

As Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden gave a steady performance, Palin revealed herself to be an understudy of President Bush when she said she did not want to argue about the causes of global warming. Of course she did not want to argue about it on the national stage, because she has been doing as governor of Alaska what Bush has done in the White House: Say you want sound science and then ignore it.

When she ran for governor, Palin said she was unconvinced that human emissions are a major cause of global warming. When even the Bush White House was willing to put the polar bear on the endangered species list, Palin - with Alaska's oil and gas industries in mind - wrote Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to protest, "I am concerned that the determination made by the service is based on incomplete information . . . The consequences of listing the polar bear will have widespread social and economic impacts without providing any more protection for the bears."


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In an even more direct missive to Kempthorne, Palin wrote that endangered species protection "has the potential to damage Alaska's and the nation's economy without any benefit to polar bear numbers or their habitat."

Palin last year referred to the polar bear as an exaggerated "metaphor in the highly charged climate change debate." With a denial of the impact of global warming that is even worse than that of the Bush administration, she confirmed that she herself is a metaphor - for a Republican Party fatally unsound in dealing with sound science.

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--Derrick Z. Jackson

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