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What does Palin believe causes climate change?

The Alaska governor's beliefs have been hard to pin down.

By Blogger for The Christian Science Monitor / October 3, 2008

Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska debates Democratic vice-presidential rival Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware (not shown) Thursday night in St. Louis.

AP Photo/Don Emmert, Pool

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Climate change came up during Thursday night's debate between Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden, when moderator Gwen Ifill asked each candidate about what they believed was causing it.

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Biden's position is well-known: Like his running mate, Sen. Barack Obama, and like all of the world's major climatological institutions, the Delaware senator believes that human industrial activity is the primary culprit. Senator Obama's opponent, Sen. John McCain, also frequently states unambiguously that climate change is human-caused. In 2003 he and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut introduced the firs- ever climate bill, the Climate Stewardship Act, which would have established a carbon cap-and-trade system.

But as I wrote on Wednesday, Gov. Sarah Palin's beliefs are harder to pin down. Shortly, before joining the McCain ticket, she told the conservative magazine Newsmax the she is "not one though who would attribute [global warming] to being man-made." But she subsequently softened her position somewhat, telling ABC News's Charlie Gibson and CBS New's Katie Couric that human activity could be – but was not definitely – a contributing  factor, but that natural, cyclical changes also play a role.

Here's how she said it last night (CNN has a transcript of the whole debate):

IFILL: Governor, I'm happy to talk to you in this next section about energy issues. Let's talk about climate change. What is true and what is false about what we have heard, read, discussed, debated about the causes of climate change?
PALIN: Yes. Well, as the nation's only Arctic state and being the governor of that state, Alaska feels and sees impacts of climate change more so than any other state. And we know that it's real.
I'm not one to attribute every man – activity of man to the changes in the climate. There is something to be said also for man's activities, but also for the cyclical temperature changes on our planet.
But there are real changes going on in our climate. And I don't want to argue about the causes. What I want to argue about is, how are we going to get there to positively affect the impacts?
We have got to clean up this planet. We have got to encourage other nations also to come along with us with the impacts of climate change, what we can do about that.

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