Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Palin's Assault on Science

In August, Alaska filed suit against the federal government to overturn the listing of the polar bear as an endangered species. In support of this listing, Governor Palin wrote an editorial in the New York Times. This editorial claimed:

I strongly believe that adding them to the list is the wrong move at this time. My decision is based on a comprehensive review by state wildlife officials of scientific information from a broad range of climate, ice and polar bear experts.

Inside Higher Ed received a copy of this "comprehensive review," but only after substantial resistance from within the state government. The conclusion of this document was somewhat different than what Governor Palin suggested:

For the purpose of this review, we presumed that the projections of sea ice loss in the current scientific literature represent the best available information. Similarly, we have also presumed that the relatively substantial amount of information in the scientific literature on polar bear ecology, including habitat use and predator-prey dynamics, is applicable to polar bear subpopulations that have not been studied. Given these two critical assumptions and recognizing their significant associated uncertainties, the finding that the polar bear will decline significantly across much of its range is supported.

It seems likely that Palin would support a continuation of what has been termed Bush's "war on science."