Gibson Pushes Palin to Concede Global Warming 'Man-Made'

ABC's Charles Gibson pressed Sarah Palin repeatedly, in a fresh interview excerpt aired on Thursday's "Nightline," to cry uncle and concede global warming is “man-made” -- but even when she did he wasn't satisfied and pushed for more of a mea culpa. "Nightline," which made “War, God and Oil” the on-screen header for excerpts from Gibson's interviews, began with a slightly longer version of what "World News" carried earlier, mostly about foreign policy, followed by new video from a second interview Gibson conducted as the two walked alongside the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

Gibson presumed not believing global warming is “man-made” is some kind of shameful oddity as he wondered: “Do you still believe that global warming is not man-made?” Palin offered that “I believe that man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming,” but that wasn't enough for Gibson, who held up John McCain as the oracle and lectured:

“But it's a critical point as to whether or not this is man-made. He says it is. You have said in the past it's not.” To which Palin promised “John McCain and I are gonna be working on what we do about it.” Still not satisfied, Gibson argued: “Yes, but isn't it critical as to whether or not it's man-made, because what you do about it depends on whether its man-made?” Palin repeated herself (“That is why I'm attributing some of man's activities to potentially causing some of the changes in the climate”), which finally led Gibson, “color me a cynic,” to gloat “it sounds to me like you're adapting your position to Senator McCain's.”

Palin, the Republican VP nominee, rejected his premise:

I think you are a cynic because 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 affect, or no affect, on climate change?
Gibson moved on to how Palin and McCain “agree to disagree” on drilling in ANWR. Will Gibson ever push McCain to adapt to Palin's pro-drilling position?

Anchor Martin Bashir introduced the program:
War, God and Oil: What does this relative unknown, who soon could be just a heartbeat from the presidency, think about the key issues facing America today?
ABCNews.com transcript of most of what aired on Nightline from Gibson's second interview with Palin.

My earlier NewsBusters post, “Gibson Accuses Palin of 'Hubris' and Seeing Iraq as 'a Holy War,'” with a complete rundown of what aired on Thursday's "World News" which was from Gibson's first session with Palin -- the same interview with which Nightline started.

What aired on the September 11 Nightline from Gibson's interview with Palin conducted as the two walked beside the oil pipeline near Fairbanks, picking up after Gibson asked her about where her proposed gas pipeline would run:
CHARLES GIBSON: Let me talk a little bit about environmental policy, because this interfaces with energy policy and you have some significant differences with John McCain. Do you still believe that global warming is not man-made?

SARAH PALIN: I believe that man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change. Here in Alaska, the only arctic state in our union, of course, we see the effects of climate change more so than any other area with ice pack melting. Regardless, though, of the reason for climate change, whether it's entirely, wholly caused by man's activities or is part of the cyclical nature of our planet -- the warming and the cooling trends -- regardless of that, John McCain and I agree that we gotta do something about it and we have to make sure that we're doing all we can to cut down on pollution.

GIBSON: But it's a critical point as to whether or not this is man-made. He says it is. You have said in the past it's not.

PALIN: The debate on that even, really has evolved into, okay, here's where we are now: scientists do show us that there are changes in climate. Things are getting warmer. Now what do we do about it. And John McCain and I are gonna be working on what we do about it.

GIBSON: Yes, but isn't it critical as to whether or not it's man-made, because what you do about it depends on whether its man-made?

PALIN: That is why I'm attributing some of man's activities to potentially causing some of the changes in the climate right now.

GIBSON: But I, color me a cynic, but I hear a little bit of change in your policy there. When you say, yes, now you're beginning to say it is man-made. It sounds to me like you're adapting your position to Sen. McCain's.

PALIN: I think you are a cynic because 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 affect, or no affect, on climate change?

GIBSON: ANWR. You favor drilling in the Arctic National Refuge. He does not.

PALIN: I sure do.

GIBSON: You changed him on that? He changing you?

PALIN: I'm going to keep working on that one with him. ANWR, of course, is a 2,000-acre swath of land in the middle of about a 20 million-acre swath of land. Two-thousand acres that we're asking the feds to unlock so that there can be exploration and development.

GIBSON: So, you'll agree to disagree on ANWR?

PALIN: That's exactly right. We'll agree to disagree, but I'm gonna keep pushing that, and I think, eventually, we're all gonna come together on that one.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center