Sunday, 23 May 2010

Sarah Palin doesn't understand Cap & Trade - UPDATE

"Whether it is in the United States or in mainland Europe, written constitutions have one great weakness. That is that they contain the potential to have judges take decisions which should properly be made by Democratically elected politicians." ~ Margaret Thatcher (page 275 of her book "Statecraft")

This video is disturbing. First she insults the rest of the world (Greece in particular), then proceeds to attack President Obama's proposed Cap & Trade plan.

Has Sarah Palin ever offered any alternatives to the problem of emissions? In her op-ed on the Washington Post (published ten days after she announced she was quitting as governor of Alaska), she cites cleaner coal, her gas pipeline and nuclear energy as cleaner supplies of domestic energy. The first two are non-renewable fossil fuels and the third is not without many attending problems.

This is a very complex issue, encompassing subjects ranging from simple, visible pollution to the more complicated topics of climate change and energy independence.

Pollution is real, climate change is real, the fact that non-renewable energy sources will be depleted in the not so distant future is real.


Sarah Palin doesn't want America to be like Greece. Let's have a look at Athens (Greater Athens population 3,000,000+):

Smog in Athens

By the late 1970s, the pollution of Athens had become so destructive that according to the then Greek Minister of Culture, Constantine Trypanis, "...the carved details on the five the caryatids of the Erechtheum had seriously degenerated, while the face of the horseman on the Parthenon's west side was all but obliterated."

In Athens, two types of air pollution are recognized: the first is characterized by high concentrations of particles. The second type - photochemical smog - is linked to an excess of nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide (primary pollutants), ozone, and organic nitrates (secondary pollutant) and results from a series of chemical reactions driven by sunlight.

As a result of the abatement practices, the level of sulphur dioxide, smoke, nitrogen dioxide and ozone exhibit a gradual decrease in later years. However, the exceeding of the levels of the World Health Organization are still recognized in a higher frequency in the city centre, with the exception of zone which exhibits its higher values in the northern suburbs of Athens. It is anticipated that the completion of the major infrastructural works in Athens (e.g. Metro, peripheral roads, introduction of natural gas, replacement of buses, etc.) will decrease to a considerable extent current atmospheric pollution levels.

The US is better equipped to tackle pollution than most countries, but as recently as 2008, Sarah Palin pleaded with the governor of California to object to certain measures that would reduce pollution in that state because it would affect Alaska.

Los Angeles, CA

(Click to enlarge)

New York, NY

Pittsburgh, PA

Birmingham, AL

Phoenix, AZ

Emissions and Climate Change

The previous administration, with strong ties to the oil industry, failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

US President George W Bush pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, saying implementing it would gravely damage the US economy.

His administration dubbed the treaty "fatally flawed", partly because it does not require developing countries to commit to emissions reductions.

China and India fall into this category, although they are two of the world's biggest producers of greenhouse gases.

Mr Bush says he backs emissions reductions through voluntary action and new energy technologies.

Sarah Palin reiterated the argument about hurting the American economy in her Washington Post op-ed and is still harping on the same note.

She also believes climate change theories are based on "snake-oil science."

In that case, we shouldn't expect Sarah Palin to offer solutions for a problem she doesn't believe exists.

Energy independence and renewable energy sources

The only way to achieve 100% energy independence is to rely solely on renewable sources. Solar and wind power and geothermal energy seem to be the way to go. Biofuels may be controversial because of the impact on agriculture and livestock, but it could have a limited role to play.

They are the only guaranteed way to ensure energy supplies for future generations without further cost to the environment. Questions to Sarah Palin: When does the future start? Why not start investing now?

If these alternative energy sources are to become the norm, it would be necessary to make a massive investment in developing them. President Obama has committed to such investment and Cap & Trade is part of it.


Sarah Palin, forever at the beck and call of the oil industry, fails to see the big picture, fails to use her imagination and take a glimpse into a more distant tomorrow.

There is a price to be paid whether the US moves towards a cleaner future or not.

If it does, certain sections of the economy will pay the price.

If it does not, small communities, cities, countries and ultimately the planet will pay the price.

Small communities will suffer from the direct effects of energy exploration on their environment. Cities and countries will continue to suffer the effects of the uncontrolled burning of fossil fuels. Thousands of people died because of the London smog in 1952 and in 1956 the British Parliament passed the Clean Air Act. It also had a price. Whereas before the Act people were paying for "progress" with their health and their lives, after it was passed, the related industries had to absorb the costs.

Great London Smog, 1952

In Sarah Palin's world, only the costs to her favoured industries count for anything. Forget clean air. Forget true energy independence. Forget the people, the planet and the future.

A reader sent me a couple of very good links. Read THIS first, then have a look at this report.



Students in Denver are not very keen on Sarah Palin:

Honestyingov confirmed the figures published by the Denver Post (3,500 people in attendance) which are at odds with figures broadcast by Fox News (6,000).

This email was received by our alert reader from the writer of the Denver Post article:

" I got it from the organizers. There is absolutely no way there were 6k people there, that's laughable. " -- Sent from my Palm Pre "

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