Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Global Warming Is 'Very Real for Us,' Palin Says (Anchorage)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin acknowledged Tuesday that global warming was harming her state but said stepped-up natural-gas production could mitigate its effects.

Speaking at a hearing before Interior Secretary Ken Salazar -- the third of several he is holding to consider renewed oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf -- Palin said that relatively clean-burning natural gas could supplant dirtier fuels and slow the discharge of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

"We Alaskans are living with the changes that you are observing in Washington," she said. "The dramatic decreases in the extent of summer sea ice, increased coastal erosion, melting of permafrost, decrease in alpine glaciers and overall ecosystem changes are very real to us."

Palin previously had questioned the science behind predictions of sea ice loss. Her administration sued the federal government to block endangered species protections for polar bears, whose habitat is melting. When she was the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008, partisan crowds cheered her on by chanting, "Drill, baby, drill."

But at Tuesday's hearing, she dispelled any doubts that she was committed to combating global warming.

She cast energy development as part of the answer.

"Stopping domestic energy production of preferred fuels does not solve the issues associated with global warming and threatened or endangered species, but it can make them worse," she said.

Palin acknowledged that "many believe" a global effort to reduce greenhouse gases is needed. "Simply waiting for low-carbon-emitting renewable capacity to be large enough will mean that it will be too late to meet the mitigation goals for reducing (carbon dioxide) that will be required under most credible climate change models," she warned...........

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