GOP Ticket Split on ‘Global Warming,’ Drilling in ANWR

September 2, 2008 - 7:21 PM
Sen. John McCain and his vice presidential pick, Gov. Sarah Palin, are united in saying that a focus on energy policy is vital to winning the White House in November.
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(CNSNews.com) – Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his vice presidential pick, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska), are united in saying that a focus on energy policy is vital to winning the White House in November.
 
But the candidates disagree on two of the most controversial energy issues: drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and whether global warming is caused by man.
 
“I'm not one who would attribute it [global warming] to being man-made,” Palin told Newsmax magazine last Friday in response to the question: “What is your take on global warming and how is it affecting our country?”
 
“A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location,” Palin said.
 
But in a May 12 speech in Portland, Ore., McCain named global climate change "the most serious of all environmental dangers.”
 
“The facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington," said McCain.
 
“Instead of idly debating the precise extent of global warming, or the precise time-line of global warming, we need to deal with the central facts of rising temperatures, rising waters, and all the endless troubles that global warming will bring," McCain said.
 
"We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great. The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge."
 
McCain’s campaign Web site contains a section dedicated to climate change.
 
McCain has also broken with the GOP by supporting a mandatory “cap-and-trade” program that allegedly would control carbon emissions.
 
McCain and Palin also disagree on whether or not the United States should open drilling in ANWR, a site in Northern Alaska that the U.S. government estimates holds 10.4 billion barrels of technically recoverable crude oil and natural gas liquids.
 
McCain repeated his long-standing opposition to drilling in ANWR in an interview with The New York Times on June 19.
 
“People have said to me, ‘I’m going to bring you new information about ANWR, how environmentally we can make it safe,’” said McCain. “I’ll be glad to accept new information but my position has not changed.”
 
But in an interview with CNBC’s Larry Kudlow in June, Palin said that she thinks McCain is wrong on the issue of ANWR but also thinks he may be convinced to “evolve his position.”
 
“Senator McCain is wrong on that issue but he is right on a lot of other issues,” Palin said in June. “Thank goodness he is understanding and evolving on his position on drilling in the OCS (Outer Continental Shelf). So that’s encouraging. I think he is going to go evolve on his position on drilling in ANWR too.”
 
Alaska is mentioned in the 2008 GOP platform as one place where further domestic drilling should occur. But ANWR is not specified.
 
“We support accelerated exploration, drilling, and development in America, from new oilfields off the nation’s coasts to onshore fields such as those in Montana, North Dakota, and Alaska,” the platform reads.
 
Insiders told CNSNews.com that a specific reference to ANWR was omitted in deference to McCain’s position.
 
Palin’s position on global warming also clashes with the GOP platform, which, for the first time, includes a plank that calls for a “global climate change strategy.”