Palin, McCain’s Energy Czar: ‘Weaning Ourselves’ Off Of Oil By Using More

Written with Daniel J. Weiss, a Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has handed to Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), his running mate, the responsibility of handling his “energy independence” agenda — much as George Bush did with Dick Cheney. On NPR this morning, McCain expressed his devotion to her, saying, “I’ve already turned to Governor Palin particularly on energy issues.” In an interview last night with Katie Couric of CBS, Palin — who McCain claims “understands the energy issues better than anybody I know in Washington, D.C.” — outlined her plan for America’s energy future. What she says she wants to do is inarguable:

We need to make sure that our nation’s taking those steps to become energy independent. . . I support all that we can do to reduce emissions and to clean up this planet.

However, the steps McCain-Palin would take to “become energy independent” and “reduce emissions” would in fact achieve the exact opposite. PALIN PLAN #1. ‘Weaning Ourselves Off The Hydrocarbons’ By Drilling For More.


And it’s why we should have started ten years ago tapping into domestic supplies that America is so rich in. Alaska has billions of barrels of oil and hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of clean, green natural gas onshore and offshore. . . Of course ramping up supplies domestically is a key to that. But so is weaning ourselves off the hydrocarbons.

FACT: Oil and natural gas are hydrocarbons. Weaning ourselves off them, by definition, means using less, not more.

PALIN PLAN #2. Energy Independence By ‘Tapping Into The Nuclear.’

Also tapping into the nuclear, the clean coal, to biomass, geothermal, tides, waves, all those things that we have as alternative energy sources, it’s gotta be an all-of-the-above approach to energy independence.

FACTS: The U.S. imports over 90 percent of the uranium used in nuclear plants. Russia is the number one uranium supplier to the U.S. And key components for new plants are only built overseas. PALIN PLAN #3: Repeat Big Oil Lies To Advocate Drilling In Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

As the governor of an energy-producing state, we’re supplying 16, 17 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy coming from my state. . . . And, remember ANWR is a 2,000-acre plot that’s in the midst of 21 million acres.

FACTS: Alaska produces only 3.5 percent of U.S. domestic energy. The Arctic Refuge is 19 million acres, and the coastal plain (1002 area) that oil companies covet is 1.5 million acres. Despite the Palin-Big Oil claim that all the wells, roads, pipelines and other drilling infrastructure can fit in “2000 acres,” the actual footprint would be approximately 640,000 acres.

PALIN PLAN #4: Support ‘All That We Can Do To Reduce Emissions’ By Increasing Global Warming Emissions.

He’s got a good cap and trade policy that he supports. And details are being hashed out even right now. But, in principle, absolutely, I support all that we can do to reduce emissions and to clean up this planet. And John McCain is right on board with that.

FACTS: Palin, like campaign advisers Steve Forbes and Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), refuses to endorse McCain’s stated plan for mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. What Palin does endorse — increased oil drilling, increased use of coal — would instead increase emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends that the United States reduce emissions by 36 to 49 percent by 2020 from current levels, and 83 to 96 percent by 2050. Al Gore’s call for 100% renewable electricity production in ten years is in line with those targets. Palin’s opinion? “I’m not an Al Gore, doom-and-gloom environmentalist blaming the changes in our climate on human activity.”