Washington Post Promotes Palin’s Denialist Op-Ed By Putting Science In Scare Quotes

Washington Post puts science in scare quotes.As The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder notes, “Once again, the Washington Post has given Sarah Palin the chance to harness herself to the political story of the hour” by publishing her op-ed today urging President Obama to boycott the Copenhagen climate change conference because of the exaggerated controversy over the “Climategate” hacked e-mails. On its homepage, the Post promotes Palin’s op-ed, which is largely a redux of one of her Facebook posts, by putting science in scare quotes.

Palin claims that the e-mails stolen from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia show that “leading climate ‘experts’ deliberately destroyed records” and “manipulated data to ‘hide the decline’ in global temperatures.” Climate Progress’ Joe Romm points out that the e-mails “don’t reveal that” while Tim Limbert notes that a Washington Post story linked in Palin’s op-ed undermines her assertion of “manipulated data.”

Palin’s op-ed, however, does reveal just how deep into climate denialism she has delved. While claiming that she does not “deny the reality of some changes in climate,” Palin casts doubt on the science of global warming:

But while we recognize the occurrence of these natural, cyclical environmental trends, we can’t say with assurance that man’s activities cause weather changes. We can say, however, that any potential benefits of proposed emissions reduction policies are far outweighed by their economic costs.

Though Palin recently told Rush Limbaugh that changes in the climate were “cyclical” and she didn’t “attribute all the changes to man’s activities,” she told CBS’ News’ Katie Couric during the presidential campaign that she did believe humans contributed to climate change:

Couric: Is it man-made, though in your view?

Palin: You know there are – there are man’s activities that can be contributed to the issues that we’re dealing with now, these impacts. I’m not going to solely blame all of man’s activities on changes in climate. Because the world’s weather patterns are cyclical. And over history we have seen change there. But kind of doesn’t matter at this point, as we debate what caused it. The point is: it’s real; we need to do something about it.

Indeed, during the vice presidential debate Palin even said she supported capping carbon emissions. But now that she’s unattached to a candidate proposing a cap-and-trade system — from which he has also backtracked — Palin has reverted to her original denialism and the Washington Post has repeatedly given her space to air her falsehood-filled attacks on efforts to reduce carbon emissions.