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October 3, 2008

Palin, Biden Disagree Over Global Warming

Thursday's U.S. vice presidential debate revealed a distinct divide between the two candidates in respect to the issue of global warming.

Running alongside Senator Barack Obama on the Democratic ticket, Senator Joe Biden was steadfast in his belief that climate change is man made and that it is critical to know the source.

"If you don't understand what the cause is, it's virtually impossible to come up with a solution," Biden said. "We know what the cause is. The cause is man-made. That's the cause. That's why the polar icecap is melting."

In contrast, Sarah Palin, Republican governor of Alaska and John McCain's running mate, acknowledged the existence of global warming, but refused to rule out the possibility of natural cycles being a larger part of the picture.

"I don't want to argue about the causes," Palin said during the debate in St. Louis. "What I want to argue about is, how are we going to get there to positively affect the impacts?"

As governor of a state full of natural resources, Palin has drawn criticism from green groups because of her environmental policies. She supports drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which her presidential running-mate, Sen. John McCain, opposes.

Palin said McCain's plan to battle climate change would involve a mixed approach that would include the use of alternative fuels and conservation.

Biden said McCain has voted 20 times in the 15 years against funding alternative energy sources including solar, biofuels and wind power.

Obama, McCain and Biden have supported legislation to limit climate-warming carbon emissions, and on Thursday, Palin said she too favored this. But she also linked increased domestic oil production to the fight against global warming.

"As we rely more and more on other countries that don't care as much about the climate as we do, we're allowing them to produce and to emit and even pollute more than America would ever stand for," she said, when talking about reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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Image Caption: Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin discuss key political issues during their only scheduled debate this election season Oct. 2 at Washington University in St. Louis. Gwen Ifill moderates the event. Courtesy Washington University