McCain-Palin – the oil industry’s dream ticket

Global Warming
Photo Credit Stijn Vogels

I don’t pretend to know a whole lot about American politics and generally avoid commenting for that reason however, the addition of Sarah Palin to the Republican party presidential campaign meant I had to say something!

Sarah Palin is less of a friend to the environment than George Bush. I know that may be difficult to believe but remember that Gov Palin is from the state of Alaska whose economy is tied in pretty closely with oil and gas.

Consider that Gov Palin, earlier this year, sued the Bush Administration over its decision to place the Polar Bear under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, claiming that climate models predicting the continued loss of sea ice – the main habitat of polar bears – are unreliable! This at a time when North Pole has become an island for the first time the last 125,000 years as climate change has made it possible to circumnavigate the Arctic ice cap.

Then there is her recent about-face on drilling. In her speech at the convention Gov Palin said

Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems – as if we all didn’t know that already.

This seems to contradict completely her statement just last July that

I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can’t drill our way out of our problem

Just two weeks ago Gov Palin was calling for more off-shore drilling off Alaska’s coast. She characterized opponents as “manipulating politicians” and she also said that different

alternative-energy solutions are far from imminent and would require more than 10 years to develop

John McCain is at least as bad. He has been in the pocket of big oil for decades. Tom Friedman called him out a few weeks back for not showing up for a crucial vote on extending the investment tax credits for installing solar energy and the production tax credits for building wind turbines and other energy-efficiency systems. This was the 8th straight time he missed the vote. As Tom wrote:

Once, he was even in the Senate and wouldn’t leave his office to vote.

This is nothing new, as As the Center for American Progress reported in April:

In 2002 and 2005, there were votes in the Senate to require utilities nationwide to generate 10 percent or 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy resources. Sen. McCain voted against renewable electricity every time.

* 2005: Voted against a renewable portfolio standard
* 2002: Voted against 20 percent requirement:
* 2002 (Vote 55): Voted to gut 10 percent requirement:
* 2002 (Vote 59): voted to gut 10 percent requirement:

In the same report they also note that:

On average, senators voting for big oil tax breaks and against incentives for renewable energy and efficiency in 2007 received $195,973 in campaign donations from the oil industry during this decade. In 2007 alone, Sen. McCain received $291,658 from the oil and gas industry.

[My emphasis]

Contrast these positions with Sen Obama’s aggressive, comprehensive, and achievable energy plan and if you have any interest in your future well being or the well being of the planet, it is pretty clear who the necessary choice for president is.

Many of the links in this post were found via Joe Romm’s supremely informative ClimateProgress site.


Small island nations petition to the UN

Nowhere to go..
Photo Credit Sir Mervs

I received the following email this afternoon – it is a request by small island nations for the UN to address the international climate crisis with at least as much urgency as it gives to matters of war and peace.

I think it is worth reproducing here:

Dear friends,

Imagine the sea rising around you as your country literally disappears beneath your feet, where the food you grow and the water you drink is being destroyed by salt, and your last chance is to seek refuge in other lands where climate refugees have no official status. This is not a dream, it’s the fearful reality for millions of people who live on islands around the world, from the Maldives to Papua New Guinea.

That is why these small islands are taking the unprecedented step of putting an urgent resolution before the United Nations ahead of next week’s global climate talks, calling upon the Security Council itself to address climate change as a pressing threat to international peace and security.
This is a creative move born of desperation, a challenge to global powers to end their complacency and tackle this lethal crisis with the urgency of wars. But the island states’ campaign is meeting fierce opposition from the world’s biggest polluters, so they need our help. Sign the petition now to raise a worldwide chorus of support for this call — it will be presented by the islands’ ambassadors to reinforce their resolution at the UN next week:

For the first time in human history, the North Pole can be circumnavigated — the Arctic ice is melting quicker than many anticipated, accelerating sea level rise. Now small island nations, whose highest points are often only a few meters above sea level, are preparing evacuation plans to guarantee the survival of their populations. They are on the frontline, experiencing the first wave of devastating impacts from climate change which soon will threaten us all.

President Remengesau of Palau, a small island in the Pacific, recently said: “Palau has lost at least one third of its coral reefs due to climate change related weather patterns. We also lost most of our agricultural production due to drought and extreme high tides. These are not theoretical, scientific losses–they are the losses of our resources and our livelihoods…. For island states, time is not running out. It has run out. And our path may very well be the window to your own future and the future of our planet”.

Beyond the islands, countries like Bangladesh, whose population of 150 million people is already suffering, face losing large parts of their landmass. The experience of our planet’s most vulnerable communities serves as a warning sign of the future world we can all expect: extreme weather growing in intensity, conflict over water and food supplies, coasts disappearing and hundreds of millions made refugees.

The small islands’ brave campaign for survival is our campaign too — and the more signatures we raise to be delivered to the UN next week, the more urgently this call will ring out to protect our common future:

With hope,

Ben, Iain, Alice, Paul, Graziela, Pascal, Ricken, Brett, Milena — the Avaaz team

PS: For a report on Avaaz’s campaigning so far, see:

PSS: These are the States who are sponsoring the resolution: Canada, Fiji, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

For a draft of the Small Islands States Resolution please see:

For more information about those presenting the petition please visit:

For information on Tuvalu’s evacuation plan and climate refugees:

For information about how rising sea levels will affect us all:

For more information on the Ice melt:

For more information about all of the Island States: