It may surprise you that Sarah Palin was once a believer in global warming. After all, in an editorial in the Washington Post last week, she called for Obama to boycott the Copenhagen conference because of ClimateGate, and claimed that global warming is “natural” rather than caused by human activities.
But when she was governor of Alaska, she personally established a “sub-Cabinet” of top state officials to deal with climate change. According to her:
Scientific evidence shows many areas of Alaska are experiencing a warming trend. Many experts predict that Alaska, along with our northern latitude neighbors, will continue to warm at a faster pace than any other state, and the warming will continue for decades. Climate change is not just an environmental issue. It is also a social, cultural, and economic issue important to all Alaskans. As a result of this warming, 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. Alaska needs a strategy to identify and mitigate potential impacts of climate change and to guide its efforts in evaluating and addressing known or suspected causes of climate change.
She ordered 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 even instructed the group to look into “carbon-trading markets” (which she now condemns).
She also wrote a newsletter in July 2008 on climate change, pointing out that flooding and erosion caused by melting of permafrost and shore ice affected 86% of Alaska Native villages, including causing one village to have to be moved to a higher location because of flooding caused by warmer temperatures. Since then, two more villages have become threatened and will have to be moved. The new governor of Alaska has identified 31 more that are in “imminent” peril.
So what is it? Is Palin a closet environmentalist from the state that has the most to lose from global warming? Or has she suddenly renounced all that in order to play to her tea-bagger base? Or does her position change as often as the weather?