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On Sarah Palin's climate stance

Friday, December 11, 2009

Regarding Sarah Palin's Dec. 9 op-ed, "Copenhagen's political science":

What motivation do the Democrats or, for that matter, the greater scientific community have for pushing an agenda that would, as Ms. Palin asserted "change our economy for the worse"? To what end are these alleged political machinations? The former governor's claims are specious at best.

The theft of documents from the University of East Anglia exposed a handful of scientists who are guilty only of poor judgment. More than a thousand other scientists participated in the drafting of the Fourth Assessment Report at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and independently reached the same conclusion: Global warming is a serious problem. The final report was voted on and ratified by 192 countries, including recent climate negotiation pariah Saudi Arabia.

The science is sound, the solutions are clear. The pain of climate change is already a reality for millions around the world. At this critical juncture, the world does not need mavericks; we need rational and intelligent decision making. Ms. Palin, let our president do his job.

Adam Salberg, Chappaqua, N.Y.

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In her op-ed exhorting President Obama to boycott the Copenhagen climate change conference, Sarah Palin acknowledged that climate change is real but argued that the science behind the assertion that carbon emissions are causing this change is not. Yes, in the World According to Sarah, climate change is most probably due to "natural, cyclical environmental trends." So let's discount the work of thousands of scientists who warn that carbon emissions do indeed cause climate change and simply intuit that the effects of millions of tons of carbon pumped into Earth's atmosphere year in and year out could not possibly be harmful.

I can't decide which is more abhorrent: Ms. Palin's shortsighted views or The Post's giving this shameful self-promoter a forum in which to air them.

William Byron, Takoma Park

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I want to congratulate you for having the insight -- and the guts -- to publish Sarah Palin's op-ed. Do not surrender to those who would stifle freedom of the press to protect their own agendas. Ms. Palin and, for an example from the left, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) both have a right to speak their minds. I applaud any media outlet that would publish an op-ed from either end of the spectrum.

Russell M. Lloyd, Hauppauge, N.Y.

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Sarah Palin used the inappropriate behavior of a minuscule fraction of the world's climate scientists to call for a boycott of the Copenhagen meeting on climate change. Yet in the very next paragraph of her op-ed piece, she twisted and misused science when she stated that "the polar bear population had more than doubled." In 2009, the Polar Bear Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature determined that of the 12 (out of 19) polar bear populations for which there were sufficient data to assess, only one population was increasing, three were stable and eight were in decline.

Moreover, the number of declining populations had increased between 2005, the year of the previous meeting of the specialist group, and 2009. That is why scientists are concerned about polar bears globally. By cherry-picking and manipulating the data, Ms. Palin made the same sin that she was accusing the climate scientists of. If only we could boycott Sarah Palin.

E.C.M. Parsons, Fairfax

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Sarah Palin's screed on the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen was notable for its polarizing style -- she sought at turns to sound practical ("I've always believed policy should be based on sound science, not politics"); folksy (she "got clobbered" by Americans supporting polar bear conservation); and inflammatory, referring to academics at the University of East Anglia as part of a "radical environmental movement," as if rather than gossiping about fellow scientists they had been caught chaining themselves to trees. Simplifying President Obama's plan to reduce greenhouse gases as a costly tax increase, she preyed on fears about the economy.

A politician through and through, Palin might not have her facts straight, but she is no fool. We overlook her guile at our peril.

David Heath, Fairfax

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