The Spectacle Blog

Post’s Robinson Partly Right About Palin’s ‘Climategate’

Liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson today writes about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's policy flip-flop on global warming and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

By on 12.15.09 | 6:25PM

Liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson today writes about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's policy flip-flop on global warming and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He notes her current recommendation -- expressed in her own Post op-ed last week -- that President Obama boycott Copenhagen, citing the Climategate scandal as reason enough to skip the climate conference. But while she was governor she held a slightly different view, as Robinson explained:

Back then, Palin was the governor of a state where "coastal erosion, thawing permafrost, retreating sea ice, record forest fires, and other changes are affecting, and will continue to affect, the lifestyles and livelihoods of Alaskans," as she wrote (in a 2007 administrative order creating the state's Climate Change Sub-Cabinet). Faced with that reality, she sensibly formed the high-level working group to chart a course of action.

"Climate change is not just an environmental issue," wrote Palin. "It is also a social, cultural, and economic issue important to all Alaskans...."

In her administrative order, Palin instructed the sub-Cabinet group to develop recommendations on "the opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Alaska sources, including the expanded use of alternative fuels, energy conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, land use management, and transportation planning." She also instructed the group to look into "carbon-trading markets."

Robinson is right about Palin's seeming switch, but he leaves out context and cuts no slack on how the Climategate scandal has been a game-changer. For context, the idea of setting up a blue-ribbon panel to study climate issues likely came from Tom Chapple, a greenie envirocrat in her administration who left not long after she created the Subcabinet. The responsibility for managing the project fell to his successor, Larry Hartig, who has had to juggle the interests of environmentalists and the oil industry up there.

As director of Climate Strategies Watch I studied how the Subcabinet was put together, and specifically how and why they hired the global warming alarmist Center for Climate Strategies as technical advisers and consultants to run all the Subcabinet's activities. I had written a long narrative -- linking public documents and emails -- explaining the developments and the less-than-transparent process, for the CSWatch Web site last year. However, that project has been folded into the activities of the Heartland Institute -- my current employer -- as CSWatch (we believe the site was victimized by a hacker) was only planned to last a year (it lasted about 18 months).

For those who want to plow through the story, I reproduced the original CSWatch narrative at Globalwarming.org with links (some of which may not work) to documents embedded. You’ll see at the end that I tend to believe that then-Gov. Palin was doing the politically correct thing at the time by signing the administrative order, but left the major decisions to Chapple, Hartig, and the Subcabinet itself. I think the views she’s expressed now only serve to confirm that theory, but I could be wrong.

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