Why Sarah Palin Is Good for the Planet

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Here’s good news for the planet: Sarah Palin has become perhaps the leading US foe of the Copenhagen summit and efforts to redress climate change.

While on her book tour, the governor-who-quit has been Twittering regularly about her adventures. Most of her tweets have a God-bless-America tone:

* Privileged 2 now meet w MN folks w families n Alaska;1 realizes how intimate r nation is as we travel&hear of connections all Americans have

* Headed to Walter Reed hospital this morn to meet wounded warriors;will give them msg of support from patriots who love these selfless troops

*Flying 2 Dallas now where bus meets us 2 get early start tomrrw w 1000s of good Texans who are lot like Alaskans:independent/bold/patriotic

But when she’s not tweeting about all the wonderful Americans she meets across the wonderful United States, Palin has been zapping out Twitter messages about global warming–or the lack thereof:

* Stand by for Facebook entry on Obama’s climate change “experts” & their latest shenanigans. Thank God “Climategate” truth is being revealed!

* Leave chilly TX(poor evidence of global warming today)4 Virginia event&speech tonite n DC;Glad Todd got 2 lv construction project 2 join us!

*Copnhagn Climate Summit;Obama should boycott in light of bogus “findings”Public leary re:snake oil science,he must take stand on climategate

* 2 much of “global warming” agenda is merely to halt responsible developmnt;sound science must b foundation 4 Copnhagn decisions,not politics

On Wednesday, as the Copenhagen conference was under way, she published an op-ed in The Washington Post, denouncing the climate change crowd, claiming (errantly) that the so-called Climategate controversy proves there’s no significant scientific consensus, and asserting climate change is not connected to human activity: “while we recognize the occurrence of these natural, cyclical environmental trends, we can’t say with assurance that man’s activities cause weather changes.” (Actually, the issue is climate change, not weather change.)

Palin is supplanting Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) as the nation’s most prominent climate change denier. Her stance is nothing new. On Palin’s first day as John McCain’s running-mate in 2008, she said in an interview, “I’m not one though who would attribute [climate change] to being man-made.” This past July, she wrote a Washington Post op-ed decrying the pending cap-and-trade legislation, without once referring to climate change. In that recent Facebook note she tweeted about, Palin contended, “we cannot primarily blame man’s activities for the earth’s cyclical weather changes. The drastic economic measures being pushed by dogmatic environmentalists won’t change the weather, but will dramatically change our economy for the worse.” She went on:

Policy decisions require real science and real solutions, not junk science and doomsday scare tactics pushed by an environmental priesthood that capitalizes on the public’s worry and makes them feel that owning an SUV is a “sin” against the planet. In his inaugural address, President Obama declared his intention to “restore science to its rightful place.” …Saying no to Copenhagen and cap and tax are first steps in “restoring science to its rightful place.”

And she sees a chilly day in Texas as a sign that climate change is bunk.

Inhofe has announced that he will come to the Copenhagen climate summit next week to serve as a self-proclaimed “one-man truth squad.” Palin, apparently, is not as committed. She’s not traveling to Denmark. She still has books to sell. But Copenhagen won’t be the end of the climate debate. The issue is likely to intensify next year, as the nations of the world move from the political agreement that is likely to be reached at Copenhagen to banging out a global accord with binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the US Senate will be fighting over climate change legislation. So there will be plenty of opportunity for Palin, the “Drill, Baby, Drill” candidate, to stay involved in the debate.

The politics of climate change do seem to be getting tougher in the United States, with that Senate bill facing stiff bipartisan opposition. Given that Palin’s standing in various polls is low, environmentalists may want to encourage her to Twitter even more and be seen as the leader of the assault on Copenhagen. If Palin truly becomes the public face of the opposition, that is not likely to boost the credibility or prospects of the do-nothing crowd.

You can follow David Corn’s postings and media appearances via Twitter.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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