A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Palin’s Change on Climate Change


Dipping one more time into last night’s Gibson/Palin interview, we found another misleading claim, this time on climate change. When Gibson accused Palin of flip-flopping her stance on the causes of global warming, Palin denied her position had changed on whether humans are partially responsible. But that doesn’t quite jibe with what she’s said in the past:

Gibson: Do you still believe that global warming is not man-made?

Palin: I believe that man’s activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change. . . .

Gibson: [C]olor me a cynic, but I hear a little bit of change in your policy there. When you say, yes, now you’re beginning to say it is man-made. It sounds to me like you’re adapting your position to Sen. McCain’s.

Palin: I think you are a cynic because show me where I have ever said that there’s absolute proof that nothing that man has ever conducted or engaged in has had any affect, or no affect, on climate change.

We can’t show that Palin has ever said there is “absolute proof” than humans aren’t responsible to any degree for global warming, but that’s not what Gibson was asking. In fact, it wasn’t even that long ago that she was saying human activity isn’t to blame. In an Aug. 29 Q&A interview with Newsmax, Palin was asked, “What is your take on global warming and how is it affecting our country?” Her reply:

Palin (Aug. 29): A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I’m not one though who would attribute it to being man-made.

She told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner pretty much the same thing in 2007:

Palin (Dec. 4, 2007): I’m not an Al Gore, doom-and-gloom environmentalist blaming the changes in our climate on human activity, but I’m not going to put my head in the sand and pretend there aren’t changes.

We don’t begrudge politicians the right to change their minds, particularly on scientific questions where new data can sometimes fundamentally alter scientific consensus. But Palin was wrong to imply that her public stance hasn’t changed.