The wink: a facial expression commonly used by speakers of the English language to denote irony by including another person in the speaker's "inside joke."
In Sarah Palin's case this rule does not seem to apply, unless that wink is aimed straight at the oil industry. In the ex-governor's parting blow to the world's top scientists, leaders from every civilized nation on Earth, and a vast majority of American citizens, Palin lambasted The American Climate and Energy Security bill, adding:
We must move in a new direction. We are ripe for economic growth and energy independence if we responsibly tap the resources that God created right underfoot on American soil.
While most of us could agree with the above statement, there remains that tricky definition of the word "responsibly."
Was it responsible for Alaska to destroy one of its most pristine lakes (the property of the people of Alaska) so that a private mining corporation would not have to pay for its own toxic waste cleanup?
Or how about drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, when drilling would permanently destroy a fragile ecosystem with enormous ecotourism opportunities, while providing only a very small reduction in oil imports (imports would be expected to drop only about 3.5 percent, from 70 percent to 66.5 percent of total oil consumption).
Then there is the issue of Kivalina.
Have you heard of it? It's a small Alaskan Native village which by all accounts is likely to become the first official victim of global warming in the United States.
Historically an early freeze created a buffer zone that protected the fragile coastline from rough fall storms and subsequent soil erosion. With sea temperatures rising faster than a hockey stick (wink) this icy protective sheet is being lost, and so is the village of Kivalina.
Winter sea temperatures are now an average of 7 degrees higher than they were 50 years ago, and according to a new report issued by NOAA last week, sea temperatures are likely to continue that trajectory. Alaska with its vast stretches of coastal permafrost will be the state most immediately impacted both geologically and fiscally.
Relocating the town of Kivalina, population 377, is estimated at $400 million. And as more swathes of Alaskan coastline are affected by rising sea temperatures, it is not hard to imagine the catastrophic financial burden climate change will ultimately wreak upon the taxpayers of Alaska.
Funny then, that the now ex-governor so confidently dismisses global warming claims when the best evidence for its existence is right in her own backyard.
The village of Kivalina is in the early stages of a civil lawsuit against the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters -- Chevron, ExxonMobile, ConocoPhillips, Duke Energy and many more -- suing for damages to cover the cost of relocation (PDF).
While few think they have a chance of winning, the case is nevertheless historic in seeking damages from greenhouse gas polluters for the destruction of privately held property.
So what's an anti-climate regulation, pro-drilling governor of melting state supposed to do? Well resigning is a good start ... and I say that without a trace of irony.
NOTE: The powerhouse environmental lawyer representing Kivalina in the lawsuit, Luke Cole, died last month in a car crash in Uganda. Read more.
ADDENDUM: This video of William Shatner reciting Sarah Palin's farewell speech as a beat poet is PRICELESS and flawlessly executed:
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