Republican VP Who Scoffs At Greenhouse Gas Effect — Sound Familiar?

September 3, 2008

Stuart Gaffin is a climate researcher at Columbia University and a regular contributor with his blog “Exhausted Earth”. ThomsonReuters is not responsible for the content – the views are the author’s alone.

US Republican vice-presidential candidate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin shakes hands as she campaigns in O’Fallon, Missouri August 31, 2008. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)I am not a Republican. However, early in John McCain’s campaign for the presidency, I would often say to friends and family-who know I am not a Republican-that if I did vote solely on the one issue I research most, climate change, I would probably vote for McCain.

He came across to me as the candidate who most respected the science and gravity of the issue (perhaps even as much as Al Gore I thought … why else take such a big political risk with his party?) and was prepared to lead America in a new direction. That was then, this is now.

The Republican political machine, in bringing new ‘discipline’ to the McCain campaign, has no doubt also shut him down on the global warming issue. I seem to hear little about it any more from him (“Drill here!  Drill Now!”). His new vice-presidential (VP) pick – Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, is just further evidence of this. 

Palin believes that current global warming is somehow unrelated to the massive greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere.  

Members of the Alaska delegation, wearing hard hats calling for more oil drilling in their state, wait for the start of the second session of the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota September 2, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)

 Her online climate change report  clearly implies that she thinks it is a natural cycle and that nothing except adaptation should be done about it. (See my last blog about the ‘first question’ I often would like to ask skeptics of global warming.)

These extreme positions are offered without a single piece of scientific evidence to support them. They obviously will only justify unmitigated fossil fuel combustion.

We’ve had eight years of an administration with a vice president who holds similar positions and who has demonstrated the stagnating power that VP’s can exert on U.S. climate policy and which only leads to accelerated greenhouse gas emissions. It would be true change to have a VP who understands that it there is a profound difference between an atmosphere with a carbon dioxide concentration of 1000 parts per million versus one with 400 or less.


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It is not surprising that the governor of an oil-producing state would do and say anything to support the hand that feeds the state. However, if this so-called hunter and outdoorswoman cannot see in Alaska the dramatic climate changes that have occurred in her lifetime, then clearly her judgement is impaired. Not to mention a few other judgement calls of hers…

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

I’m glad to see that you believe this is an important issue in the coming election. My client, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) will be blogging live from the RNC on all issues related to green building. Check out the blog here (, and also check out the video AIA created for its DesignVote 08 campaign ( w40)

Posted by lhahn | Report as abusive

Im really peeved that I had to search to read this information…honestly how many hurricanes from warmer oceans etc.etc. do we have to see in order to convince the ignorant?

We are screwing up people and most likely have screwed things to a point of no return.

This is serious ! it is not a FEAR that we can run and hide from…it is apparent just open your eyes and do some research.

I dont blog, because i dont know how to bring people to see what is in front of them when they try so hard to remain blind.

You can think therefore, you are

Posted by Barrett Scurlock | Report as abusive

I guess that Neptune, Pluto, and Mars had also best quit screwing up as well. Many globes are currently warming. I wonder if we can get the other planets to also pay the carbon taxes that are being pushed globally. UNIVERSALLY!

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

First it was global cooling, then is was carbon monoxide, then it was carbon dioxide, then it was global warming, now it is climate change. Guess what…where I live the climate changes drastically from January to July and then back again.

What happened to global warming. We just experienced a lower than average summer in regards to temperature.

It is a political issue not a scientifice issue and when it finally goes away I want Al Gore and the IPCC to give back the nobel peace prize. And Al can give back his academy award too.

Posted by Mike Cloghessy | Report as abusive

The science behind global warming is quite solid. The uncertainties are the rate at which warming will occur, and the effects that will flow from global warming. The rate is an issue because the models used are not perfect (what a surprise), and the effects are uncertain because the environment and the interrelationship between flora and fauna and climate is much more complex than we currently understand (no surprise there either). Those who scoff at the concept altogether [scientifically a very miniscle minority] are whistling past the graveyard (to borrow an old phrase). One can disagree about rate and effects, but the reality of it happening is unfortunately very apparent. For a discussion of such topics, see :// bal_warming/

Posted by Tom Clarke | Report as abusive

Where is your proof she is wrong? Keeping in mind if you truely research the BS that environuts put out you will see they strategically forget to mention while there is “warming” in X, Y, and Z, there is COOLING in A,B,C and there is stagnation in G,H,I…

But your precious ecohorde will scream and yell that I am “in the pocket” of big oil because I think for myself.

I don’t have any problem with stopping the usuage of fossil fuels because standing behind one I cough and it is sickning to see the sludge, on the other hand it is rather arrogant what the liberal masses want to shove down our throats.

Try to think for yourself for once. Your “proof” is just as “sound” as her opinion… so let the woman speak and quit your whining.

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive


Palin’s climate report statement (the link isn’t working for me now, so I hope I got it …) “Realizing nothing can be done about climate change …” is so extreme and uninformed that I don’t even think George W. Bush would say it!

Duh … what about reducing greenhouse gas emissions ?

As for your comment “… let the woman speak …” what’s that supposed to mean ? I actually took the trouble to dig out her few statements on the subject and get the links on my blog so we could in fact read them. When a candidate is nominated to one of the most important world positions with respect to US and global climate policy, the least one should do is scrutinize what she has said.

As for your ad hominen remarks such as ‘whining’ I’m leaving them unedited this one time because it sounds so amusingly like the recent comment by Republican Phil Gramm (for which he got removed from the McCain campaign) calling Americans a “nation of whiners” with regard to America’s economic problems.

Posted by Stuart Gaffin | Report as abusive

It’s nice to see so many concerned about the weather. However let’s us not forget that if it was not for a 10,000 year warming trend “Global Warming” all those making comments would be setting under hundreds of feet of ice from the ‘last’ ice age.

Posted by Pobept | Report as abusive

Palin has not implied that she does not believe the world is getting warmer. What she rejects is anthropogenic global warming via greenhouse gas buildup.

We were in an ice age for the last 10,000 years, it’s about time things warmed up a bit around this planet.

Posted by Da6d | Report as abusive

More and more scientists are distancing themselves from the Al Gore/IPCC brand of political science. Number one, they are not sold on the fact that the globe is warming. Number two therefore they are not sold on it being man-caused.

I will ask the “global warming” advocates here this question….What is the optimal temperature of the earth?

Posted by Mike Cloghessy | Report as abusive

Let’s look at things this way – restructuring civilization to accomodate higher seas or different weather patterns should be a massive boon for the economy. Think of all the new construction jobs created and the economic opportunity brought to previously less desirable regions.

In fact, I think I’ll invest in some farmland at the foothills of the appalachians in the hope that I’ll have a beachfront view in a few years….

Posted by da6d | Report as abusive