Sarah Palin on Energy and the Environment

Last Updated : Dec 14, 2010


Governor Palin has been a constant and vocal supporter of the need for increased drilling in all areas of the US. She supports offshore drilling in shallow and deep water, and she supports drilling for oil in the ANWR. This support has been epitomized in the chants "Drill Baby Drill" and "Drill Here, Drill Now". She has stated that the reliance of the US on foreign oil has become a security issue as the US is now reliant on unstable regions for it's energy supply and the supply of oil can be threatened by dictators such as Hugo Chavez.

When President Obama lifted a Presidential moratorium on offshore drilling in early 2010, Governor Palin was critical of inaction to actually issue permits and called the move a tactic to feign an interest in domestic energy production as a prelude to cap-and-trade legislation. She called the move "Stall, Baby Stall." After the deepwater Horizon tragedy, Governor Palin continued to assert her belief that drilling should be expanded, and stated that any decrease in offshore production should be offset by an increase in land production. She opposed the moratorium put in place after the tragedy and stated that enacting such a measure showed that the Obama administration was out of touch with the American people.

In addition to the need for more oil, Governor Palin has stated that the US needs more energy from all sources. This includes nuclear energy, solar, wind, and geothermal energy. Governor Palin has been critical of President Obama's claims to support nuclear energy and his reluctance to enact such a policy.

Governor Palin has not been as consistent concerning climate change. At times, she declares global warming to be real and that the US must act to combat it, while at other times she notes that there is no evidence that it is man-made and cap-and-trade systems are ineffective and detrimental to the economy.  

While Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin created a climate change subcommittee to address changes in the state's ecosystem. She asked this subcommittee to look into the benefits of participating in the carbon-trading markets. During the 2008 Vice Presidential debate, Governor Palin stated that she believed in climate change, but was hesitant to blame all change on man-made causes. She stated that she supported capping emissions on carbon. In an interview with Charlie Gibson, she stated that there was no evidence that global-warming was man made or anything other than cyclical. She stated that she was not discounting that some warming could be due to man-made causes, but noted there was no evidence to support that claim.

Since the 2008 elections, Governor Palin has been an outspoken critic of man-made global warming and the Democrat's cap-and-trade legislation. She referred to the measure as "cap-and-tax" and stated that it would lead to the loss of thousands of jobs. When the climate-gate scandal erupted, Governor Palin cited the fact that climate change scientists were falsifying data as evidence that man was not the cause of global warming. She stated that while it is not certain if or what effect man has on the environment, the most likely cause of climate change is natural cycles. In a later statement, she noted that she never argued that climate change was real, only that man was not the sole cause. She noted that voluntary participation in carbon-trading markets was not the same as the cap-and-trade legislation.

In April of 2009, Governor Palin testified before a committee to open new areas to natural gas exploration and noted that the relatively cleaner burning gas could be used in greater amounts until alternative energy resources came on line. She not that the climate change effects in Alaska were real, and that natural gas could help lower everyone's carbon footprint.


Katie Couric Interview

In September of 2008, Governor Palin was interviewed by Katie Couric and asked about global warming. She stated that as the nation's only arctic state, Alaska has seen the affects of global warming more than most. When asked if she believed in man-made global warming, she stated that change in climate was well within cyclical variances. She stated that a portion of it may be man made, but there was no way of telling how much. She also stated that she believed it was a real phenomenon and that "we need to do something about it."


Charlie Gibson Interview

In September of 2008, Governor Palin was interviewed by Charlie Gibson and was asked about her positions on man-made global warming. She stated that her position was unchanged and that she believed there was no evidence that global-warming was man-made and no evidence that temperature fluctuations were not cyclical. She stated that some portion could be caused by man-made actions.


Drill Here, Drill Now

Throughout the 2008 Presidential election cycle, Governor Palin was vocal in her support for drilling in the US and beginning that drilling as soon as possible. This mantra was eventually dubbed "Drill Here, Drill Now" or "Drill, Baby Drill." In August of 2008, Governor Palin was interviewed by Larry Kudlow and asked about drilling in ANWR, drilling in the outer continental shelf, and overall domestic drilling.

Governor Palin also appeared on the Glenn Beck program in September of 2008 and spoke about her belief that ANWR should be explored and developed for oil and gas. 


Produce more of or own oil

In her speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention, Governor Palin spoke about the need to produce more energy as a national security issue. 


More Overall Energy

In her speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention, Governor Palin stated that we needed more pipelines, more nuclear energy, and more pipelines.


VP Debate - Climate Change and Carbon Capping

During the 2008 Vice Presidential debate, Governor Palin was asked about her views on climate change and capping carbon emissions in the US. During her answers, Governor Palin stated that as an arctic state, Alaska saw the effects of climate change more than any other state. She stated that these effects of climate change were real, but that she was not ready to attribute all the effects to man-man global warming. She states that some effects could be caused by man and that she was the first governor to create a climate change subcommittee to address the issue. When asked about whether or not she would support capping carbon emissions, she stated that she would.


Gas Drilling as Step to Curb Global Warming

In April of 2009, Governor Palin spoke a hearing before Interior Secretary Ken Salazar concerning the need for expanded drilling in the outer continental shelf. In that statement, she noted that relatively clean-burning natural gas could supplant dirtier fuels and slow the discharge of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.


Support for Drilling

In October of 2009, Governor Palin wrote an article for the National Review Online titled simply "Drill." The article expressed Governor Palin's view that more drilling was necessary for any energy plan and that even if all US cars used alternative energy, the US would still have to import oil.


Reaction to Climate-Gate

In December of 2009, Governor Palin wrote an article in response to the release of emails showing a coalition of climate change scientists conspired to falsify data and quell dissent through suppression of competing scientists. She stated that the emails gave validity to the suspensions of those who questioned man-made global warming, and that efforts to regulate carbon emissions through the EPA were an end run around the American people.

In February of 2010, Governor Palin wrote an opinion on Facebook titled "Global Warming - More Like a Snow Job." In the article, she voiced her opinion that the climate-gate scandal had showed the country that man-made global warming was a myth. She criticized President Obama for pushing to create a federal office for global warming. She applauded the President's recent commitment to nuclear energy, but noted that many of the items he touted were set in place through the prior administration.


No Change in Policy

Again, in December of 2009 Governor Palin sent a letter to the Washington Post in response to an article that she had somehow changed her views on climate change and carbon trading. Governor Palin states that she did ask a climate change panel to look into voluntary carbon trading policies, but that this was different from the mandatory plan proposed by President Obama.


Hesitation at President Obama's Drilling Policy

In early 2009, President Obama announced that the US would be pursuing drilling in the outer continental shelf and in other regions. This was a marked deviation was previous administrations and from President Obama's previous statements on the matter. In March of 2010, Governor Palin published an article on on the National Review Online titled "Stall, Baby Stall" which highlighted her hesitation to believe President Obama's support for drilling.


Opposition to Cap-and-Trade

In August of 2009, Governor Palin issued a facebook statement noting her opposition to the Waxman-Markley legislation and calling it a tax increase of historic proportions.

In May of 2010, Governor Palin spoke at a rally in Denver, Colorado. She spoke at length about her opposition to the cap-and-trade legislation which she referred to as cap-and-tax. She stated that the plan would lead to a massive loss of jobs and a drain on the economy.


Reaction to the BP Oil Spill

During the BP oil spill, Governor Palin was adamant that the tragedy of one drilling platform should be cause for a drilling moratorium on all rigs in either deep or shallow water. She was strongly opposed to the drilling moratorium put in place after the incident by President Obama. On June 1, 2010 Governor Palin tweeted her opinion that the accident showed why the US should take advantage of onshore energy, and days later she tweeted her opposition to the moratorium and reasserted the need for land drilling.

In July of 2010, Governor Palin appeared on the Sean Hannity Show and spoke about her opposition the moratorium. She stated that such a moratorium would make the US more beholden to foreign companies. She stated that the moratorium showed that the Obama administration was out of touch with the American people.


[1] Website: The Star Tribune Article: Sarah Palin: The climate crowd, exposed Author: Sarah Palin Accessed on: 11/16/2010

[2] Website: The Los Angeles Times Article: Palin sees gas drilling as step to curb global warming Author: Kim Murphy Accessed on: 11/19/2010

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