What are the ramifications of a U.S. Vice President that is willing to shrug off the scientific realities of global warming?
Guess we'll find out if John McCain takes the White House. In an interview with Newsmax today, McCain's vice-presidential running mate Sarah Palin stated that:
"A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made. "
I guess Palin spends her time reviewing climate science as reported on Newsmax and other media outlets (read: Fox News) bent on ignoring and confusing the warnings from top scientists at the nation's most prestigious scientific academies, like NASA and the National Academy of Science.
As the National Academy of Science rightly points out, the link between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change is an age-old scientific finding dating back as far as the 1800's:
The theoretical realization that human activities could have a global discernible effect on the atmosphere came during the 19th century, and the first conclusive measurements of atmospheric change were made during the last half of the 20th century.
And the link between the massive upswing in heat-trapping greenhouse gas, human activity and major disruption to the earth's climate system in the 20th century is also a scientific reality. According to the National Academy of Science:
The first greenhouse gas demonstrated to be increasing in atmospheric concentration was carbon dioxide, formed as a major end product in the extraction of energy from the burning of the fossil fuels--coal, oil, and natural gas--as well as in the burning of biomass.
Palin's apparent ignorance on the contemporary science of climate change speaks to a much bigger issue about US science policy in general.
If Palin is willing to ignore such robust science concluding catastrophic effects on our climate systems due to our ever-growing over-consumption of fossil fuels like coal and oil, what other scientific realities will a McCain administration be willing to ignore at the behest of its second-in-command?
UPDATE: Here's at least one other scientific reality it looks like Palin will ignore, courtesy of Brandon Keim at Wired Science.
UPDATE #2: Greenpeace just sent out a comprehensive look at Palin's history on environmental issues (attached to the bottom of this blog post).
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