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By Samuel R. Avro on Apr 17, 2009 with no responses

Palin Admits to Global Warming, Says Drilling Can Help Curb It

The former Republican vice presidential nominee has at long last admitted that global warming is a problem, but sticks to ‘Drill, baby drill’, contending that an increase in drilling for natural gas can help curb its effects.

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Even with her abrupt about-face on global warming, Governor Palin is sticking to her position of "Drill, baby drill".

At a hearing hosted Tuesday by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to discuss the future of offshore energy development on the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, long considered to be a denier to the global warming phenomenon, has finally, and blatantly, conceded that it’s causing harm to her state.

“We Alaskans are living with the changes that you are observing in Washington,” she said. “The dramatic decreases in the extent of summer sea ice, increased coastal erosion, melting of permafrost, decrease in alpine glaciers and overall ecosystem changes are very real to us.”

But the governor’s solution to the problem is not going to make environmentalists any less hostile to her opinions than they previously were. Palin insists that the solution to the deterioration of Alaska’s ecosystem will come from further drilling – which surely won’t go down well with opponents of “Drill, baby drill”.

She wants to increase the use of natural gas in order to replace currently used dirtier fuels to meet the goals of stemming the effects of global warming.

“Many believe that in order to mitigate these long term and systematic changes it will require a national and global effort to decrease the release of human produced greenhouse gases into the atmosphere,” she said. “However, simply waiting for low carbon emitting renewable capacity to be large enough will mean that it will be too late to meet the mitigation goals for reducing CO2 that will be required under most credible climate change models.

“There is no way to achieve these goals in the next few decades without a dramatic increase in domestic natural gas and a strong effort to modestly increase domestic oil production,” Palin said. “Keeping Alaska’s OCS [outer continental shelf] lease sales, exploration, and development programs on schedule, especially in the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea, is critically important to this effort.

alaska-offshore-drilling“Stopping domestic energy production of preferred fuels does not solve the issues associated with global warming and threatened or endangered species, but it can make them worse,” she said.

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, the drilling issue was a frequent, and oft-argued, topic. The McCain-Palin camp were big proponents of utilizing the nation’s oil and gas reserves to assist in the overall energy solution.

In her comments, Palin seems to say that humans are playing a role in climate change. But not everyone is smiling at the apparent about-face.

“I don’t know if this signals an official change in her thinking,” said Cindy Shogan, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League. “But she is a pretty savvy politician and ‘maverick,’ and I think she sees the writing on the wall that there’s going to be some legislation and some administrative action on climate change, that this is something she’s going to need to address.”

Alaska’s outer continental shelf — federal waters generally located three miles offshore — could hold about 27 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to government estimates.