Former Alaska Republican Gov. Sarah Palin yesterday said climate change is a myth that scientists and policymakers are peddling to advance a political agenda.
At an event on Capitol Hill premiering a new film by climate doubters, Palin said global warming is being used by the government "to have more control over us, our homes, our businesses, our families, our lives."
She said doubters of climate change in various levels of government are afraid to "go rogue" and speak out for fear of being attacked by the media.
"There is definitely a political agenda behind all of this," she said. "People who are involved in this issue — they’re not stupid. They have studied this stuff. They have studied the data that they are — erroneously, though — delivering to the public to make us think that we can somehow change the weather."
The former Republican vice presidential candidate also slammed the teaching of climate change in schools, calling it "indoctrination" of the nation’s children. And she said science is "getting thrown out of the window" in the debate about climate change in favor of advancing that so-called agenda.
"It needs to become in the science community less political; otherwise, it leads us to believe that so many things that [are] coming from perhaps the scientists could be bogus," Palin said. "If this is bogus, what else are they trying to tell us, trying to control us around, if they can’t do this one right?"
Palin made her remarks during what organizers billed as a "riveting panel" in marketing materials premiering "Climate Hustle," a documentary produced by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and CDR Communications Inc.
The documentary, first shown in Paris during the recent climate negotiations in which more than 190 nations agreed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, claims that man-made global warming is a myth that environmentalists are using to push a green agenda. It features interviews with more than 30 people who are skeptical of man-made warming.
Marc Morano, a former Republican staffer on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and a vocal climate change doubter, helped write the film. Morano is the executive editor of the skeptics’ website Climate Depot.
About 150 people attended the discussion and a screening of the 75-minute film. Staff members associated with CFACT and House Science, Space and Technology Committee Republicans ticketed and tightly controlled the event in the panel’s hearing room. At one point, a House science staffer stopped a reporter from recording the event with her phone.
Palin’s changing climate views
As Alaska’s governor, Palin in 2007 signed an administrative order establishing the Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet, charging it with preparing and putting in place a climate change strategy for the state.
That same year, Palin also signed onto the Western Climate Initiative, a regional collaboration among Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington to address climate change.
But she has long questioned whether humans are the cause of global warming. And, while governor, she vocally opposed the federal government’s efforts to list the polar bear as a threatened species and unsuccessfully sued to stop a listing.
"It was all part of a political agenda to stymie our natural resources development up in Alaska," Palin said yesterday.
More recently, Palin endorsed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has called global warming a hoax.
Yesterday, she did not mention Trump but said she hopes climate change will become a bigger part of the discussion. "It’s something that our candidates should be talking about and giving us their view on," Palin said.
Both of the Democratic presidential candidates favor taking action to address climate change, calling it a serious threat to the country.
House Science Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is also a doubter of climate change science and has recently pressured the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to hand over internal emails about a study that found no pause in global warming.
Smith was set to speak at the event but dropped out at the last minute because of House votes. In prepared remarks, he brought up his allegations about NOAA, accusing it of "alarmist announcements" about the climate "based on manipulations of existing data."
NOAA has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Along with Palin and Morano, climatologist David Russell Legates, who has long disputed man-made climate change, and conservative writer Brent Bozell appeared at the Hill event.
Panelists took heavy aim at studies that have found a 97 percent consensus among scientists that man-made warming is occurring. Just yesterday, a new study reaffirmed that number and concluded that there is a "consensus on consensus" on climate change (E&ENews PM, April 13).
But Palin called the 97 percent figure "bogus." The documentary also pushes back on the number, arguing that it comes from the way surveys word questions about climate change.
Legates claimed that the media is "squelching" the opposition to climate change. "If you run out of facts, you have to demonize the opposition," he said.
Bill Nye in the crosshairs
Although rumors circulated online prior to the event that Palin would debate scientist Bill Nye, "the science guy," about climate change, the popular science educator was not in attendance.
Instead, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow showed clips of a conversation, which will appear in the "Climate Hustle" film, between Nye and Morano that appears to take place on a park bench.
The two previously debated climate change in a publicized matchup on CNN’s Piers Morgan show in 2012.
"I agreed to do this interview," Nye says in one of the clips, "because I think it will expose your point of view as very much in the minority and very much not in our national interest and not in the world’s interest."
He also predicted that climate denial would become just a "footnote" in the nation’s history.
Nye posted a different clip online this week in which he asked Morano whether he would take a bet that 2016 will be the among the hottest years in the last decade, and that the decade between 2010 and 2020 will be the hottest on record. Morano declined both.
At the event, panelists freely took aim at Nye, who rose to fame through his popular children’s show on science. "Bill Nye, the Jail-the-Skeptic Guy," Morano said.
Palin said, "Bill Nye is as much of a scientist as I am. He’s a kids’ show actor."
Palin added that her father was a science teacher who taught all grade levels. She recalled dinnertime conversations where the family discussed "geology, geography, biology and the sciences" and said that her father taught her to challenge complex issues.
At the same time, she urged parents to teach their children that climate change is being used to advance a political agenda. She slammed school curricula that teach the subject, arguing that they don’t teach "that inherent link between the development of our natural resources and America’s security and our prosperity."
"It’s important," Palin said, "for the parent of the families to be a greater influence than the schools."