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September 23, 2008 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-09-23

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 -5

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, Septemher 23, 2008 -5

Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin don't always agree, especiallyon the issue of global warming. While McCain has said humans in part drive global warming, Palin has consistently questioned this argument.
On climate change, Pali and McCain diverge

Unlike running
mate, Paln
questions human
role in warming
The Washington Post
including Gov. Sarah Palin, ques-
tions that Alaska's climate is chang-
ing more rapidly than any other
state's. But her skepticism about the
causes and what needs to be done to
address the consequences stands in
sharp contrast to the views of her
running mate, Sen. John McCain,
and place her to the right of the
Bush administration and several
other Republican governors.
Although Palinestablished a sub-
cabinet to deal with climate change
issues a year ago, she has focused
on how to adapt to global warming
rather than how to combat it, and
she has publicly questioned scien-
tists' near-consensus that human
activity plays a role in the rising
She fought the administration's
listing of polar bears as threatened
with extinction because of shrink-
ing sea ice. Palin sued to overturn
the decision on the grounds that
it will "have a significant adverse
impact on Alaska because addition-
al regulation of the species and its

habitat ... will deter activities such
as commercial fisheries, oil and
gas exploration and development,
transportation and tourism within
and off-shore of Alaska."
In his campaigning, McCain
has regularly said that humans
are driving global warming and
declared that his efforts to cap
greenhouse gas emissions dem-
onstrate his ability to work with
Democrats. But in selecting Palin
and deciding to place her in charge
of energy affairs should they win
the White House, he has a running
mate who has resisted this key tenet
of his candidacy.
Rick Steiner, a University of Alas-
ka marine conservation professor
who pressed Palin's administration
to hand over documents related to
its position on the polar bear listing,
said the governor has not enacted
policies that would help reverse cli-
mate change even as it transforms
the state's landscape.
"She has said some of the right
things in the last two years, but
she's done absolutely nothing,"
Steiner said.
But Larry Hartig, commissioner
of Alaska's Department of Envi-
ronmental Conservation, said Palin
worked aggressively to address cli-
mate threats by lobbying the leg-
islature to provide $13 million to
help remote villages facing coastal
"Unlike the rest of the country,
we are experiencing the threats of

warming here, now," Hartig said,
adding that while the Palin admin-
istration has focused largely on
adapting to the shifting climate,
"I wouldn't interpret that as a lack
of interest in mitigation, by any
Different regions of the United
States are responding in vary-
ing ways to climate change, with
drought in the Southwest and
changing blooming patterns in the
Northeast, but Alaska is feeling
the effects the most. The state has
warmed by 4 degrees Fahrenheit
over the past 50 years - far outpac-
ing the global and national temper-
ature rise. Glaciers on its southeast
coast have receded one to five
miles over the past few decades,
and the warmer, drier tempera-
tures sparked a beetle infestation
that devastated spruce trees on the
Kenai Peninsula.
Alaska has experienced "a dou-
ble whammy," said John Walsh, a
University of Alaska at Fairbanks
climate change professor, because
it has been affected by changing
wind patterns as well as human-
induced warming.
Palin does not minimize the con-
sequences. When she established
her climate sub-cabinet last Sep-
tember, she said in a news release
that Alaskans "are already seeing
the effects" of warming: "Coast-
al erosion,. thawing permafrost,
retreating sea ice and record forest
fires affect our communities and

our infrastructure."
But when environmentalists
urged the governor to include lan-
guage attributing global warm-
ing to humans and suggested that
the state set a target for limiting
greenhouse gas emissions, Palin
hedged. Instead, she issued an
executive order saying the state
needed to develop a strategy that
would "guide its efforts in evaluat-
ing and addressing known or sus-
pected causes of climate change.
Alaska's climate change strategy
must be built on sound science and
the best available facts and must
recognize Alaska's interest in eco-
nomic growth and the develop-
ment of its resources."
Kate Troll, executive director of
Alaska Conservation Voters and a
member of a sub-cabinet advisory
group, said she did not understand
why Palin resisted the language
environmentalists wanted until
Newsmax magazine published an
interview late last month in which
the governor said: "A changing cli-
mate will affect Alaska more than
any other state, because of our
location. I'm not one though who
would attribute it to being man-
"Now I know why" -the state
doesn't have emissions reduction
goals, Troll said. "It's very scary
to have someone in the vice presi-
dential seat who doesn't get the
link to human activity, because if
you don't get that, you don't get the

connection to the rest of the story,
of national security and global
Palin played down her skepti-
cism last week in an interview
with ABC's Charles Gibson, say-
ing: "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 effect or no effect on climate
change. I have not said that."
By contrast, when a General
Motors employee asked McCain
on July 18 whether "the science
of man-made global warming has
really been proven," the candidate
said it had. "I've been all over, and
I believe that climate change is
real, and that's the preponderance
of scientific evidence," said McCa-
in, who also believes polar bears
are endangered.
Hartig, the environmental com-
missioner, said his discussions
with Palin "didn't get into the sci-
ence, how much is man-caused."
He sees that question as irrele-
vant, adding that the sub-cabinet
is exploring how best to reduce
greenhouse gases while looking
at how to help Inuit communi-
ties that face the most immediate
effects of global warming.
"We wouldn't be doing those
things if we didn't think there's a
point to it," he said, addingthat the
state has taken an inventory of its
greenhouse gas emissions.
Palin has not voiced an opinion

on whether the federal govern-
ment should cap carbon emissions,
a cause McCain has championed
for years. But she did resist the
federal government's move to list
polar bears under the Endangered
Species Act.
Initially, Palin said her state's
fish and wildlife department had
conducted a review showing that
the bears were not facing extinc-
tion. But Steiner, the professor,
obtained an e-mail exchange
showing that state officials con-
curred with federal scientists' pre-
dictions that all of Alaska's polar
bears would disappear by mid-
century if trends in greenhouse gas
emissions continued.
Scott Schliebe, aretired U.S. Fish
and Wildlife biologist who oversaw
the scientific analysis for the polar
bear listing, said Palin and her
deputies "had some strong views
that were different from ours, and
we thoroughly reviewed them. We
didn't find their views had merit
from the mainstream consensus
of scientific thinking, which was
backed by data."
Walsh, at the University of Alas-
ka, said Palin has taken "a practi-
cal perspective," and he praised
her for "casting a wide net of infor-
mation." But when asked whether
her policies have reflected the sci-
entific information he and other
climate researchers have given
her, Walsh responded, "I haven't
seen it yet."

Asian banks invest in Campaign promises are unchanged

troubled U.S. assets

amid national economic turmoil

spend as
just how
own ecox
But th
Asia's ci
States tr
cial syste
For y
U.S. go
their tray
Asian ct
withal ti
into dist
the com
ment, to
their U.S
primed t
But W

n's biggest bank row $700 billion to finance a
banking system bailout could give
spend about $8 foreign investors pause. The dollar
plunged Monday, signaling some
ion for stake in global investors' concerns, ana-
lysts si.
rgan Stanley lThe move by Tokyo-based Mit-
subishi UFJ appears to be part of
By DON LEE a previously announced strategy
Los Angeles Times to expand in the U.S. Last month,
it agreed to pay $3.5 billion for
vGHAI, China -- In the 35 percent of UnionBanCal
ing plans yesterday to Corp., parent of San Francisco-
much as $8 billion for a 20 based Union Bank, that it did not
stake in Morgan Stanley, already own. Meanwhile Monday,
biggest bank underscored Japan's largest brokerage com-
far that nation's financial pany, Nomura Holdings, agreed to
ies have come from their pony up $225 million for the Asian
nomic crisis in the 1990s. operations of Lehman Bros. Hold-
he deal by Mitsubishi UFJ ings Inc., which filed for bank-
al Group also highlighted ruptcy protection last week.
rucial role as the United "It says a lot about the strength
ies to restore health and of Japanese banks to be able to do
ice to its tottering finan- this," Tu Packard, a senior econo-
em. mist at Moody's Economy.com, said
ears, Asian nations have of the Mitsubishi UFJ plan. "The
i the heavy spending of the Japanese have lots of experience
vernment and American dealing with troubled assets."
ers by investing much of Morgan Stanley also had been
ide surpluses in U.S. gov- in talks with China Investment
and corporate bonds. Corp., China's sovereign wealth
huge stockpiles of foreign fund, which took a 9.9 percent
China, Japan and other stake in the U.S. investment bank
ountries have the where- in December. But an investment
o plow much more money banker familiar with the discus-
ressed American assets in sions said there was not enough
ing months. Many Asian time to work out the involved regu-.
I institutions, which a latory and political issues.
ago foundered from bad Like the Japanese, Chinesebanks
practices and mismanage- have plenty of experience with bad
day look a lot better than assets. Over the years, China has
. counterparts and appear poured tens of billions of dollars
o seize buying opportuni- into its top state-owned banks to
clear off troubled loans and shore
ashington's plan to bor- up banks' finances.

Advisers say
candidates are
sticking with tax
cuts, energy spending
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - As the scale
of the government's interven-
tion transforms the nation's fiscal
landscape, neither presidential
candidate seemed ready Monday
to readjust his campaign promises
to match a changing reality that
could push the federal budget defi-
cit next year toward $1trillion.
Sens. Barack Obama and John
McCain indicated they will not
stand in the way of the Bush
administration's $700 billion res-
cue of U.S. financial markets, and
each offered his own proposals for
making it more palatable to voters:
Obama laid out a plan to overhaul
federal contracting and save an
estimated $40 billion a year, while
McCain proposed an oversight
board to monitor the bailout.
But advisers in both campaigns
said they are not about to shelve
their own plans to get the economy
back on track - or embrace more
aggressive budget-cutting mea-
sures - in the face of a short-term
surge in the federal deficit.
"This is a major fiscal problem
in the short run, but it doesn't alter
the long-run fiscal picture," said
Jason Furman, Obama's economic
policy coordinator. "The biggest

challenge we face in our economy
over the next year is getting it
moving again, creating jobs and
relieving the squeeze on families.
That's our overriding priority for
the next year."
Said Douglas Holtz-Eakin,
McCain's chief economic policy
adviser and a former director of
the Congressional Budget Office:
"In terms of the numbers, obvi-
ously the landscape has changed.
In terms of the (underlying) chal-
lenge, no, I don't think there is
much change."
Given the drama on Wall Street,
economists of all economic stripes
say the candidates' reluctance to
adjust to the newlandscape, as well
as their focus on such peripheral
issues as lobbying ties to mortgage
giant Fannie Mae, are turning the
campaigns into a sideshow. The
sheer size of the bailout could give
the next president political cover
to address long-festering fiscal
problems, such as the burgeoning
costs of Medicare and Medicaid,
yet neither of the men vying for the
job has shown an interest in taking
advantage of it, they say.
"The U.S. fiscal situation is dra-
matically deteriorated from what
it was," said Martin N. Baily, a
former chairman of President Bill
Clinton's Council of Economic
Advisers. "There is a debate which
we need to have that is becoming
more urgent: Our fiscal picture
does not add up."
Bruce Bartlett, a Treasury offi-
cial in the Reagan administration,
said: "This is just a terrific oppor-
tunity for both of these guys to do
a do-over. Most of these proposals

were formulated when they were als, companies and government
running to get their party's nomi- - livimg beyond its means, bor-
nations. It looks ridiculous to keep rowing to prop up overconsump-
peddling ideas that are no longer tion. Swapping the private debt
viable, as if nothing has changed. of banks and homeowners with
Then whoever is elected is at public borrowing by the federal
least elected on a plan that makes government changes nothing, said
sense." Douglas W. Elmendorf, former
Even before the bailout plan Federal Reserve Board economist
was announced, the Congressio- now at the Brookings Institution.
nal Budget Office estimated this And while Obaml and McCain
month that the deficit for fiscal have pledged that they would live
2009 would reach $438 billion, within some fiscal constraints,
already a record in dollar terms. neither has offered enough details
If Treasury needs half the money about how they are going to pay
it has sought for the bailout plan for promised tax cuts, health-care
in 2009, as well as money already plans and energy spending, said
promised to.. seize Fannie Mae, Leonard E. Burman, director of
Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns and the the nonpartisan Tax Policy Cen-
insurance giant American Inter- ter.
national Group, the deficit could "Both of them would dig the
approach $900 billion. As a per- hole way deeper," he said.
centage of the economy, that num- Campaigning Monday in Green
ber would rival the highest deficits Bay, Wis., Obama outlined pro-
in history, recorded in the Reagan posals to tighten federal ethics
administration, said Rudolph G. and contracting rules and bring
Penner, another former CBO direc- unprecedented scrutiny to the leg-
tor, now at the Urban Institute. islative process, including through
Some, or even much, of that a new clearinghouse to assess cor-
money could be recouped as the porate tax breaks.
government tries to sell off the His speech, outlining an 11-page
assets it plans to buy, but by the "Plan to Reform the Greed and
time the bailout is resolved, Wash- Excesses of Washington," built
ington will have to confront the on the regulatory overhaul for the
retirement of the baby-boom gen- financial services industry that
eration as well as soaring Social he proposed last week. To curb
Security and Medicare costs. the influence of lobbyists, Obama
By buying the bad debt of col- would have all bill writing be con-
lapsing financial firms, the-govern- ducted in public. Congregs holds
ment could stop panicked investors public hearings on legislation, and
from withdrawing money, freeing lawmakers debate and vote in the
up lending, boosting home sales open, but the conference com-
and lifting the economy. But the mittees where final language is
current crisis, in large part, was crafted meet mostly behind closed
created by a nation - its individu- doors.



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