Sarah Palin has landed herself in hot water again — this time raising the ire of former Vice President Al Gore in an op-ed critical of the climate change community.
In a Washington Post piece titled “Copenhagen’s political science,” the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate wrote, “While we recognize the occurrence of these natural, cyclical environmental trends, we can’t say with assurance that man’s activities cause weather changes.”
Not surprisingly, the opinion drew a sharp rebuttal from Gore, reported msnbc.com, quoting the former vice president’s dismissal of “deniers” during an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “Global warming is not a political issue but a moral one,” he said.
But Palin’s critique focused on a controversy that has hit the climate change community just as climate talks are underway in Copenhagen. In recent weeks, hackers got their hands on the e-mails of leading climate scientists from Britain’s University of East Anglia and published on the Internet. Skeptics of man-made global warming say the emails prove that scientists have been in cahoots and are trying to hide evidence about climate change.
“Leading climate ‘experts’,” Palin wrote, have “destroyed records, manipulated data to ‘hide the decline’ in global temperatures, and tried to silence their critics by preventing them from publishing in peer-reviewed journals.”
Ahead of the U.N. climate change talks in Copenhagen, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, called the matter of the leaked e-mails serious, and said it would be examined in detail.
But Gore told Mitchell that, “The deniers are persisting in an era of unreality.”
“The entire North Polar ice cap is disappearing before our eyes,” he added. “What do they think is happening?”
Following Palin’s editorial, Gore emphasized that for decades, climate change experts have been conducting sound scientific research. "It's a principle in physics," he said on Mitchell’s show. "It's like gravity, it exists."
But Palin disagreed. Using Facebook, she took her claims a step further, charging that concerns over global warming are “doomsday scare tactics pushed by an environmental priesthood.”
"This scandal obviously calls into question the proposals being pushed in Copenhagen," she wrote in The Post. "Our representatives in Copenhagen should remember that good environmental policymaking is about weighing real-world costs and benefits — not pursuing a political agenda."
She further called on President Obama to boycott the Denmark climate talks, in light of the controversy raised by the leaked e-mails. "Without trustworthy science and with so much at stake, Americans should be wary about what comes out of this politicized conference," wrote Palin.
Obama has made no such move, and Gore said the political divide on climate change is thanks to the modern Republican party. (Lindsey Graham, for example, is a Republican leader who accepts the science, he noted.)
But he emphasized that climate change be a bipartisan issue. “It used to be,” he said.