Sarah Palin gave a 2,585-word energy policy speech today in Ohio, and didn't breathe the words "climate" or "global warming," according to the prepared remarks available on the McCain campaign Web site.
She mentioned "energy independence," "energy security" and similar phrases dozens of times, and repeatedly promised to increase drilling for oil and natural gas, champion coal mining and "clean coal" technology, build new nuclear power plants ... and, to round out the "all of the above" approach, support renewable energy.
Though she was speaking to workers at the Toledo, OH, solar firm Xunlight Energy, she mentioned renewable energy less than any of the other options.
The most remarkable phrase in the speech may have been this one, because it comes so close to being worthy of praise:
Energy security, she said "tests our ability to confront and solve hard problems in Washington, instead of constantly putting things off. And it brings together so many other issues from the value of our pay checks to our nation's most vital interests abroad."
When it comes to energy policy, confronting global warming has been on the national "put off til tomorrow" list for a decade. But Palin didn't mention it. (The closest she got was, near the end of the speech, pledging to "control greenhouse gas emissions," a nod to McCain's support for cap-and-trade regulation for carbon dioxide.) Instead she emphasized the requisite "drill here and drill now!" (complete with exclamation point in the prepared text), McCain's pledge to see 45 new nuclear power plants built, the incorrect assertion that carbon capture and storage technology is currently widely in use to address greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal. She made just glancing mention of renewable energy investments.
The specifics on renewable energy incentives, delivered in the final quarter of her speech, consisted of ending subsidies (presumably for U.S. corn ethanol, one of McCain's consistent targets) and tariffs (presumably for Brazilian ethanol) and providing tax credits to encourage low-emission vehicles.
Palin has a now well-documented ambivalence about the global warming crisis. On the one hand, she typically acknowledges, when asked directly, that it is real, that it is having impacts, particularly in her home state of Alaska, and that she and McCain would do something about it. On the other, she doesn't bring the topic up on her own, has refused to acknowledge that the problem is caused by burning fossil fuels and has championed increased exploitation of domestic coal, oil and gas reserves without a mention of the consequences for the climate.
There's foreign oil dependence, and fossil fuel dependence, but Palin only sees one as a problem, apparently. Because of that, it's hard to believe Palin sees global warming as a priority.
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