Palin-spastic: Climate change denial

Yesterday, Sarah Palin demanded that Charlie Gibson:

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 effect or no effect on climate change. I have not said that.

Except, well:

Last year, she told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, “I’m not an Al Gore, doom-and-gloom environmentalist blaming the changes in our climate on human activity.” And in an interview Newsmax magazine just released, which was conducted before she was selected as John McCain’s running mate, the Alaska governor 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.”

Steve Benen comments:

I can appreciate Palin being embarrassed about her beliefs now; she’s obviously well outside the scientific mainstream. If I were her, in my first national television interview, I’d be tempted to distance myself from right-wing talking points, too.

But Palin’s record is Palin’s record, and the fact remains that she’s so far out there, she’s rejected the connection between global warming and human activity.

And she could’ve taken it back, saying “I did question that, but I’ve spoken with more experts since then, and I’ve changed my mind.” That’s how things are supposed to work, and it’s a transition many people have made in the last year. But instead, she lied on national television about a simple and verifiable fact. She has denied anthropogenic climate change, and wants to hide that. But it won’t work.

I’ve take to calling these Palin posts “Palin-spastic” because that is the term geologists use to describe the reconstruction of a fault in its old position. And increasingly because Palin’s flailing around to hide her past positions is looking pretty spastic.


  1. #1 John A
    September 13, 2008

    Its fascinating Josh, that its not that Sarah Palin is denying that the Earth’s climate is changing. Simply Gov Palin is making it clear she does believe that ascribing all or most of the climate change to mankind’s activities. And she’s far from being alone even in the scientific community.

    Of course, the term “climate change” has been radically redefined to imply “man-made climate change through the increase of greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide”, and so “climate change denial” or its variants is simply skepticism over the extent to which recent climate changes can be ascribed to man-made causes. And of course to use the term “denier” implies moral depravity rather than skepticism.

    So there’s nothing at all in Gov. Palin’s remarks that she needs to retract, for she, unlike you Josh, does not believe that the climate change of the last few years is anything out of the ordinary. In that respect she is solidly with the scientific mainstream and you are very definitely on the extreme lunatic fringe.

    The only reason why this is even controversial is because of the Mann Hockey Stick – the totem of climate change alarmism – has been shown to be a shocking fake. What the Hockey Stick did (and like lemmings, the IPCC followed) was allege that natural climate change in the last thousand years or so was tiny and benign. And you believed it Josh.

    What has now been fully shown is that the Hockey Stick is actually an impression of the growth pattern of a group of bristlecone pines in Colorado. In trying to justify the extraordinary weight given to these trees in the reconstruction Michael Mann even claimed that these trees occupied a “sweet spot” to be able to respond to “the global temperature field” – a remarkable claim that neither you nor any of your friends can be bothered to explain how a group of trees on a mountain side in Colorado can fail to respond to local temperature change yet can somehow respond to a statistical index called “global temperature”. There’s probably a group of trees somewhere in the world which show a growth record similar to the Dow Jones 30 – a spurious correlation like the Bristlecone Pines of Colorado.

    That’s because it is magic. Real voodoo. Not science.

    So while you’re trying (and failing) to find a single ice core that shows carbon dioxide rise PRECEDING temperature rise [they all show the reverse Josh and by around eight centuries], while you’re finding that an acknowledged expert on PCA (who incidentally believes in AGW) finds that the Mann Hockey Stick’s decentered PCA to be simply wrong and the Stick itself to be the result of “dubious statistics”.

    I can criticize Gov Palin on many other issues, for I am no Republican in the American sense of the word. But on the issue of climate change she is the one talking sense and not you.

    The Mann Hockey Stick and its variants are all instruments of real climate change denial – the preposterous and false notion that the large scale climate changes of the past never happened while the present minor changes in climate are hyped up to ludicrous levels. Just last week James Hansen testified that the opening of one coal-fired power station in England would lead to the extinction of 400 species – an extraordinary claim that you will spend exactly no time on verifying because hey! Life’s too short.

  2. #2 Josh Rosenau
    September 15, 2008

    John A: The only connection between your rant and what I wrote is that I used “anthropogenic climate change” in the text, but not the title. The question to Palin was about whether global warming is anthropogenic (caused by humans). And I’m not sure what the relevance of ice cores from past instances of climate change is, since no one is claiming that fossil fuels were being burned at such a rate back then.

    As for the hockey stick, you’ll surely acknowledge that a single figure in one paper is not the sole basis for the enormous scientific evidence for (and consensus behind) anthropogenic climate change. The IPCC’s 4th report (2007) updated all of the figures, and incorporated a host of new evidence, all of which strengthened the confidence of the community of climate scientists that global warming is caused by human activities. The science documenting climate change and its human causation has advanced a lot since 1998 (when hte hockey stick was first published), perhaps it’s time for denialist talking points to advance also.

  3. #3 Scotty B
    September 16, 2008

    How was this woman ever even considered as a serious candidate?

  4. #4 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    September 16, 2008

    I am getting the impression that focusing on Palin is exactly the disraction that the McCain campaign wanted when they chose here. Now, he can step aside and let her take the heat while people forget about his own misdirection.

  5. #5 Sea
    September 16, 2008

    I agree with Scotty B. There is a basic breakdown in our electoral process. My question is why do republicans put up with it. Are they really that lacking in intelligence? Or is it that the corprate money can buy their votes.

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