By Edward Flattau
Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate makes a mockery out of his campaign pledge “to put America first.” Is placing a heartbeat away from the presidency an individual who is in denial about the most profound challenge of our times putting the welfare of the nation first? If McCain had the public’s interest at heart, would he select for vice president a person who considers global warming to be a natural phenomenon unaffected by human induced pollution? Her myopic view even contradicts McCain’s own stance towards the issue of climate change and its potential to create an extremely inhospitable environment plagued by drought, heat waves, and coastal erosion.
You can see where Palin’s belief would take us—precariously close to, if not past, the point of no return in dealing with escalating
temperature rise. If she really embraces the idea that global warming cannot be curbed, we can expect her to regard any measures (i.e. regulatory restraints on energy industry’s polluting emissions) aimed at slowing the phenomenon as pointless. The best one could hope from her would be attempts to adapt to rising temperatures—in other words, a band aid instead of a cure. What is unfortunate about that approach is the disease could advance to the incurable stage before any intervention occurred to address the root cause. And that is where McCain would leave us if he were elected and for some reason could not complete his term.
What makes Palin’s “wait and see” attitude towards the scientific consensus favoring immediate remedial action even more astounding is that her state has experienced the most dramatic adverse global warming impacts to date. While she has appointed a commission to study the effects of climate change on Alaska, the sea level has been rising and the permafrost melting. Native villages have been forced to relocate inland from their coastal locations. Glaciers and sea ice are retreating precipitously, and in the latter case, destroying the habitat of the polar bear. Other indigenous species in the state are in danger of going extinct because of not being able to adapt quickly enough to a fast changing climate. Then again, Governor Palin has never shown much
sensitivity towards preservation of stressed wildlife. Her focus has been on hunting them down for sport or sacrificing their habitat if it should conflict with industrial activity.
This is another knock on McCain, who would install as his backup a person with a singular disregard for protecting the biodiversity on which the survival of our civilization will ultimately depend. It seems that McCain has named the inexperienced but ultraconservative Governor Palin for the number two spot to appease a wary Evangelical Republican base whose support he deems essential to victory in the fall.
McCain has accused Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama of putting personal ambition ahead of country. Time to look in the mirror, John!
@Copyright 2008, Edward Flattau