Environment Forum

Palin strikes back on wolf allegations

Sarah Palin has struck back at Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, which is running a video accusing the Alaska governor of planning to expand the aerial hunting of wolves in her state.

The graphic video, part of the group’s “Eye on Palin” campaign, is narrated by Hollywood star Ashley Judd and has generated a lot of media attention this week.

Here is the full text of Palin’s brief statement, which was released late on Tuesday:

It is reprehensible and hypocritical that the Defenders of Wildlife would use Alaska and my administration as a fundraising tool to deceive Americans into parting with their hard-earned money.”

The ad campaign by this extreme fringe group, as Alaskans have witnessed over the last several years, distorts the facts about Alaska’s wildlife management programs. Alaskans depend on wildlife for food and cultural practices which can’t be sustained when predators are allowed to decimate moose and caribou populations. Our predator control programs are scientific and successful at protecting vulnerable wildlife. These audacious fundraising attempts misrepresent what goes on in Alaska, and I encourage people to learn the facts about Alaska’s positive record of managing wildlife for abundance.”

Judd versus Palin on wolves

Sarah Palin still has environmentalists howling.

The Alaska governor and former Republican vice presidential hopeful is the target of a campaign by the Washington-based Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund which claims she is pushing for an expanded program for the shooting of wolves from the sky.

In a graphic video narrated by Hollywood star Ashley Judd, the group claims Palin even offered a $150 bounty for the left foreleg of each dead wolf collected. You can view the video here.

“When Sarah Palin came on the national scene last summer, few knew that she promotes the brutal aerial killing of wolves. Now, back in Alaska, Palin is again casting aside science and championing the slaughter of wildlife,” Judd says in the video, which features footage of a wolf howling in pain after apparently being shot from the sky.

Poor polar bears, but what about the people?

             polarartist.jpg                                Native Alaskan artists visited New York this week with a message not so much about art, nor a species that’s struggling as rising temperatures melt its habitat from under its paws.

“With so much attention on polar bears, where’s the concern about the people? What about fellow Americans?” said Alvin Amason, an artist and member of the coastal Alutiiq people, who lives in Anchorage.

Amason and other Alaskan artists hit New York to celebrate the opening of the Alaska House , a nonprofit cultural center that aims to teach people about the challenges and opportunities the state faces.

Palin asks Schwarzenegger to terminate shipping fees

palin3.jpgCalifornia environmentalists are in tizzy this week, accusing Republican Vice Presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin of telling their governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, how to do his job.

At issue is a letter Palin sent to Schwarzenegger last month, asking him to veto a bill that would raise shipping container fees to pay for pollution-reduction programs at three major California ports.

The letter, which Palin sent to Schwarzenegger a day before she was announced as John McCain’s running mate, began circling on the Web on Thursday.

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

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.

A view from the North – Alaska’s melting glaciers

exitsign1.jpg Welcome to the front lines of global warming in the United States – the Harding Ice Field in Alaska, the biggest icefield in the United States.
   At the Exit Glacier north of Seward – the only glacier in the Kenai Fjords National Park reachable by foot – the giant cerulean blue ice sheet gives every sign of staying put.
   But one only has to glance at the many signs along the roadway and footpath to the glacier’s edge to mark its retreat  – it hit its peak size in 1815 and has been receding ever since. Signs along a footpath leading to the base of the glacier show just how far it has retreated.
   The glacier lost about 10 feet from its front face over the summer of 2008.
   Since the 1980s, land-based glaciers and ice caps like this one in Alaska have contributed the most to sea level rise than any other source within their category, which includes other land-based glaciers like Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro and the Chacaltaya Glacier near La Paz, Bolivia, said Brenda Ekwurzel, a climate expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists.ailikcrash11.jpg
   Unlike the ice cover around the North Pole or giant floating ice sheets, land-based ice contributes directly to sea-level rises.
   According to a 2007 report by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, glaciers and ice caps have the potential to raise global sea levels by between .15 meters and .37 meters.
   That pales in comparison to the giant ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, which could raise sea levels by 63.9 meters if they fully melted.
   At the Aialik Glacier in the Harding Icefield – reachable by boat or plane, the living nature of the ice was more evident.
   On a visit to the glacier via tourboat on Aug. 15 on a trip hosted by the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, several chunks of ice broke apart and crashed into Aialik Bay.
   glacier7.jpgThroughout the visit, the ice cracked andgroaned, with a sound like thunder claps that punctuated the still air.

Global warming research getting more dangerous?

polar.gif Talk about occupational hazards.Five Wildlife Conservation Society scientists studying the effects of global warming on shorebirds in Arctic Alaska had to be airlifted away from their remote camp late last month because of the appearance of another species whose life is changing as warming helps erode shores and melt sea ice. The researchers said a polar bear stuck on land forced them to evacuate their camp north of the remote Teshekpuk Lake on the Beaufort Sea –leaving food and tents behind.  The carnivorous bears would normally be out on sea ice this time of year. But with recent warming the ice is miles from shore and polar bears, which were recently listed as “threatened” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, are becoming increasingly trapped on land well away from their usual seal prey, said Dr. Steve Zack, who leads Arctic studies for WCS ”We had no idea how hungry they’d be and thus how ornery they’d be,” Zack, who made the decision for the researchers to evacuate even though they had been trained in bear safety, told me by his mobile phone from his current base near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. ”Where there’s one polar bear there are usually more,” he said, adding that government scientists have seen 32 polar bears stuck on shore this year, up from only one or two in previous years. In subsequent fly-overs over the abandoned camp, the team discovered that bears had eaten all of the food left by the researchers and destroyed two $500 tents. ”It was an ironic circumstance that studying climate change issues for our shorebirds put us in harm’s way with climate change effects on polar bears,” said Zack.  Image by Mark Maftei, WCS 

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