McCain has been lauded for being way ahead of the GOP when it comes to fighting climate change and proposing some of the first emissions reduction legislation. However, his newly minted running mate Sarah Palin has expressed skepticism at mankind’s roll in the warming of the globe. In her first interview since being nominated for vice president, with ABC’s Charles Gibson, Palin said yesterday that, “I believe that man’s activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change.” When pressed by Gibson, she repeated: “I’m attributing some of man’s activities to potentially causing some of the changes in the climate right now.”
There is a significant difference here from her previously stated position on global warming. In an interview several weeks ago with NewsMax, Palin said: “A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I’m not one, though, who would attribute it to being man-made.” She previously emphasized that she personally didn’t think man was contributing to global warming. Now she’s conceding that human activities could potentially be causing some aspects of climate change. Though by no means is this an admission that burning fossil fuels is directly related to the warming of the globe.
In the interview Palin said that she and McCain do agree that something must be done to mitigate the effects of global warming, regardless of what causes it. And while Gibson dwelt on the issue of causality, he didn’t question Palin about what should be done to cut pollution. The first-term governor has not come out in favor of McCain’s carbon cap-and-trade system and has not articulated what she thinks should be done to fight global warming, man-made or otherwise. The only definite energy and environment plan she has put forward is expanded drilling.
Here’s the excerpted transcript below:
GIBSON: Let me talk a little bit about environmental policy, because this interfaces with energy policy and you have some significant differences with John McCain. Do you still believe that global warming is not man-made?
PALIN: I believe that man’s activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change. Here in Alaska, the only arctic state in our union, of course, we see the effects of climate change more so than any other area with ice pack melting. Regardless, though, of the reason for climate change, whether it’s entirely, wholly caused by man’s activities or is part of the cyclical nature of our planet — the warming and the cooling trends — regardless of that, John McCain and I agree that we gotta do something about it and we have to make sure that we’re doing all we can to cut down on pollution.
GIBSON: But it’s a critical point as to whether or not this is man-made. He says it is. You have said in the past it’s not.
PALIN: The debate on that even, really has evolved into, OK, here’s where we are now: scientists do show us that there are changes in climate. Things are getting warmer. Now what do we do about it. And John McCain and I are gonna be working on what we do about it.
GIBSON: Yes, but isn’t it critical as to whether or not it’s man-made, because what you do about it depends on whether its man-made.
PALIN: That is why I’m attributing some of man’s activities to potentially causing some of the changes in the climate right now.
GIBSON: But I, color me a cynic, but I hear a little bit of change in your policy there. When you say, yes, now you’re beginning to say it is man-made. It sounds to me like you’re adapting your position to Sen. McCain’s.
PALIN: I think you are a cynic because show me where I have ever said that there’s absolute proof that nothing that man has ever conducted or engaged in has had any affect, or no affect, on climate change.