(CNSNews.com) – In its exclusive interview with Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, ABC News reported that she has “softened” her view on global warming and whether it is man-made, putting her closer in sync with John McCain. However, contrary to ABC, Palin has never said that human activity does not affect climate change, or that it does not.
Further, in a New York Times op-ed this year, Palin said: “What is justified is worldwide concern over the proven effects of climate change.”
Nonetheless, ABC is reporting that Palin has somehow changed her view on the issue. ABC’s Charles Gibson raised the topic with Palin on “Nightline” Thursday, when he asked, “Do you still believe that global warming is not man made?”
Palin responded that the science is not definitive, arguing that whether global warming is “wholly caused by man's activities or is part of the cyclical nature of our planet,” a McCain-Palin administration would address the issue.
“I believe that man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change,” said Palin, but it could also be natural planetary “warming and cooling trends.”
Gibson pressed the issue, and the following exchange occurred:
GIBSON: “Yes, but isn't it critical as to whether or not it's man-made, because what you do about it depends on whether it’s man-made.”
PALIN: “That is why I'm attributing some of man's activities to potentially causing some of the changes in the climate right now.”
GIBSON: “But I, color me a cynic, but I hear a little bit of change in your policy there. When you say yes, now you're beginning to say it is man-made. It sounds to me like you're adapting your position to Sen. [John] McCain's.”
PALIN: “I think you are a cynic because show me where I have ever said that there's absolute proof that nothing that man has ever conducted or engaged in has had any affect, or no affect, on climate change.”
Gibson then changed to topic to discuss oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
Palin’s Position Remains Consistent
A reading of the public record shows Palin has not changed her position, contrary to ABC News, which headlined its segment on global warming as, “Palin Takes Hard Line on National Security, Softens Stance on Global Warming.”
Palin’s responses to Gibson were consistent with what she has said in newspaper op-eds and in public statements.
On Sept. 14, 2007, Palin signed an administrative order creating the Climate Change Sub- Cabinet to investigate and offer advice on the challenges connected with global warming.
“Many scientists note that Alaska’s climate is changing,” Palin said in a press release at the time. “We are already seeing the effects. Coastal erosion, thawing permafrost, retreating sea ice and record forest fires affect our communities and our infrastructure. Some scientists tell us to expect more changes in the future. We must begin to prepare for those changes now.”
In a New York Times opinion columnpublished on Jan. 5, 2008, Palin explained why she was opposed to listing polar bears under the Endangered Species Act. There is “insufficient evidence” to suggest polar bears are in any real danger, she argued. In fact, the population is more numerous now than it was 40 years ago, she wrote.
The endangered listing could be used to “stop or severely limit any public or private action that produces, or even allows, the production of greenhouse gases,” Palin said. While climate change should be addressed in a constructive manner, the Endangered Species Act it not the appropriate vehicle, she maintained.
“Such limits should be adopted through an open process in which environmental issues are weighed against economic and social needs, and where scientists debate and present information that policy makers need to make the best decisions,” Palin wrote.
In contrast to her Democratic opponent in the 2006 governor’s race, Palin did not accept the idea that there was “scientific consensus” on the cause of global warming.
Palin is not certain a natural warming cycle is at work, her spokesman, Curtis Smith, told reporters at the time.
"She's not totally convinced one way or the other," Smith said. “She thinks the jury's still out."
"I will not pretend to have all the answers," Palin said during an appearance at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention, where delegates passed a resolution calling for a mandatory reduction in pollution affecting the atmosphere.
In response to a question from the Daily News, Palin advised against overreacting.
In the ABC News interview, Gibson said there were “significant differences” between Palin and McCain, a point that has been raised by other commentators.
“With his choice of Sarah Palin -- the Alaska governor who has advocated drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and does not believe mankind is playing any role in climate change -- for vice president, John McCain has completed his makeover from the greenest Republican to run for president to just another representative of big oil,” New York Times columnist Thomas Freidman wrote in a recent editorial.
Palin has been quoted in a variety of news sources as saying “the jury is still out” on whether or not mankind is responsible for an unnatural warming of the planet. However, a Nexis search going back to her run for governor does not show she dismissed the idea out of hand.
McCain has been less skeptical than Palin about man-made global warming. In recent years he has co-sponsored legislation with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) that would mandate caps on greenhouse gas emissions. The 2004 bill would have cost the U.S. economy at least 39,000 jobs in 2010, and at least 190,000 jobs by 2020, according to a study produced by Charles River Associates.