Why Sarah Palin Is Good for the Planet

Here’s good news for the planet: Sarah Palin has become perhaps the leading US foe of the Copenhagen summit and efforts to redress climate change.

While on her book tour, the governor-who-quit has been Twittering regularly about her adventures. Most of her tweets have a God-bless-America tone:

* Privileged 2 now meet w MN folks w families n Alaska;1 realizes how intimate r nation is as we travel&hear of connections all Americans have

* Headed to Walter Reed hospital this morn to meet wounded warriors;will give them msg of support from patriots who love these selfless troops

*Flying 2 Dallas now where bus meets us 2 get early start tomrrw w 1000s of good Texans who are lot like Alaskans:independent/bold/patriotic

But when she’s not tweeting about all the wonderful Americans she meets across the wonderful United States, Palin has been zapping out Twitter messages about global warming–or the lack thereof:

* Stand by for Facebook entry on Obama’s climate change “experts” & their latest shenanigans. Thank God “Climategate” truth is being revealed!

* Leave chilly TX(poor evidence of global warming today)4 Virginia event&speech tonite n DC;Glad Todd got 2 lv construction project 2 join us!

*Copnhagn Climate Summit;Obama should boycott in light of bogus “findings”Public leary re:snake oil science,he must take stand on climategate

* 2 much of “global warming” agenda is merely to halt responsible developmnt;sound science must b foundation 4 Copnhagn decisions,not politics

On Wednesday, as the Copenhagen conference was under way, she published an op-ed in The Washington Post, denouncing the climate change crowd, claiming (errantly) that the so-called Climategate controversy proves there’s no significant scientific consensus, and asserting climate change is not connected to human activity: “while we recognize the occurrence of these natural, cyclical environmental trends, we can’t say with assurance that man’s activities cause weather changes.” (Actually, the issue is climate change, not weather change.)

Palin is supplanting Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) as the nation’s most prominent climate change denier. Her stance is nothing new. On Palin’s first day as John McCain’s running-mate in 2008, she said in an interview, “I’m not one though who would attribute [climate change] to being man-made.” This past July, she wrote a Washington Post op-ed decrying the pending cap-and-trade legislation, without once referring to climate change. In that recent Facebook note she tweeted about, Palin contended, “we cannot primarily blame man’s activities for the earth’s cyclical weather changes. The drastic economic measures being pushed by dogmatic environmentalists won’t change the weather, but will dramatically change our economy for the worse.” She went on:

Policy decisions require real science and real solutions, not junk science and doomsday scare tactics pushed by an environmental priesthood that capitalizes on the public’s worry and makes them feel that owning an SUV is a “sin” against the planet. In his inaugural address, President Obama declared his intention to “restore science to its rightful place.” …Saying no to Copenhagen and cap and tax are first steps in “restoring science to its rightful place.”

And she sees a chilly day in Texas as a sign that climate change is bunk.

Inhofe has announced that he will come to the Copenhagen climate summit next week to serve as a self-proclaimed “one-man truth squad.” Palin, apparently, is not as committed. She’s not traveling to Denmark. She still has books to sell. But Copenhagen won’t be the end of the climate debate. The issue is likely to intensify next year, as the nations of the world move from the political agreement that is likely to be reached at Copenhagen to banging out a global accord with binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the US Senate will be fighting over climate change legislation. So there will be plenty of opportunity for Palin, the “Drill, Baby, Drill” candidate, to stay involved in the debate.

The politics of climate change do seem to be getting tougher in the United States, with that Senate bill facing stiff bipartisan opposition. Given that Palin’s standing in various polls is low, environmentalists may want to encourage her to Twitter even more and be seen as the leader of the assault on Copenhagen. If Palin truly becomes the public face of the opposition, that is not likely to boost the credibility or prospects of the do-nothing crowd.

You can follow David Corn’s postings and media appearances via Twitter.


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  • David Corn

    David Corn is Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief and an on-air analyst for MSNBC. He is the co-author (with Michael Isikoff) of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. He is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, Showdown, Hubris (with Isikoff), and The Lies of George W. Bush, as well as the e-book, 47 Percent: Uncovering the Romney Video that Rocked the 2012 Election. For more of his stories, click here. He's also on Twitter and Facebook.