by Conor Clarke
Just one more point about Sarah Palin's op-ed in this morning's Washington Post: Derek Thompson and others have pointed out to me that the piece does not contain the words pollution, emissions, carbon, or global warming. As Derek says, this is a bit like an op-ed on health care that doesn't contain the words spending, costs, coverage, or medicine, or a high-school paper on Catcher in the Rye that doesn't contain the words, um, Catcher in the Rye.
I find this absence sickening. Deciding how to deal with climate change is an uncertain and complicated process. It requires weighing costs in the present against benefits a hundred years in the future. It requires weighing costs in the U.S. against benefits in places like India and Bangladesh. It requires weighing concrete GDP against the moral emphemera of the world's floral and animal diversity. And it requires sacrificing today to ward off uncertain and unquantifiable future risks. This tremendous empirical uncertainty demands reflection and humility.
And then you have Sarah Palin show up, blathering about how we're "destroying America's economy" while we're "literally" sitting on mountains of oil and drill baby drill and blah blah blah. Sickening.