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Sierra Club
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet
RAW: Uncooked Truth, Beyond Belief 

Issue #289
July 17, 2009
Half-Baked Alaska
Josh Dorner

She was for it before she was against it. (After she didn't believe in it.)

Aside from incessant twittering, we hadn't heard too much from Sarah Palin since her courageous decision to abandon her position as governor of Alaska. At the time, her spokesperson insisted that working on energy issues would be one of Palin's top priorities going forward.

Well, sure enough, Palin popped up on Tuesday with an op-ed in the Washington Post denouncing the President's clean energy and climate plan ("cap and tax" in tea bag speak). The piece continued the tradition of both Palin and the Post's opinion pages not letting the facts get in the way of re-hashing tired, discredited arguments about clean energy legislation. Here's a few tidbits.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that Palin only thinks of "energy" as meaning two things: fossil fuels and nukes. She decries job losses that would come in the "energy sector," as she defines it, yet also attacks the more than $4 billion to help certain workers transition into the clean energy economy.

This myopic viewpoint also ignores two important facts. Wind already employees more people than coal mining in this country. And the fact that the clean energy plan passed by the House is projected to create some 1.7 million jobs (net of any jobs lost in the old, dirty energy economy).

She also fundamentally (willfully?) misunderstands that addressing our energy challenges is not about making energy "scarcer," as she alleges the president's plan will do. What the plan is about is, first, making our energy cleaner -- which will slash carbon pollution, reduce our dependence on dirty fuels like coal and oil, and free us from the wild price spikes associated with fossil fuels. Second, it is about slashing the amount of energy we waste in our homes, offices, schools, and factories every day. This will also not only help make us more energy independent and slash emissions, it will save the average family over $1,000 a year.

While many, if not all, of her 691 words are spectacularly misguided, what's more telling are the words that you won't find in the piece. Those would be "wind," "solar," "geothermal," "climate change," and "global warming," among others. She does include the word "clean," but only insofar it relates to fossil fuels. Good thing Alaska isn't already feeling the effects of global warming and doesn't stand to be impacted more by rising temperatures, sea levels and other consequences of a changing climate than perhaps any other state.

Most curious of all, Palin's strident attacks on a plan to slash carbon pollution come after her emphatic, if newly discovered, support for such a plan during the 2008 campaign. Watch her here in the Vice-Presidential Debate:


(Palin's partner on the GOP ticket and longtime advocate of action on global warming, Senator John McCain, also seems to have largely abandoned his support for such measures in the name of partisan political opposition to the President's agenda.)

In cementing her relationship as Big Oil's bestie, it looks like Palin may have stumbled on the perfect recipe for Baked Alaska.

UPDATE:
I now see that Ben Carmichael has a post from yesterday with more or less the same title. I guess great minds think alike (or go for the most obvious title anyway.)

Follow Josh Dorner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/joshydo

 

 

 

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