From NBC's Domenico Montanaro and Carrie Dann
Earlier today, we noted that McCain and Palin differ on stem-cell research. But the Republican ticket also appears to differ greatly on ... polar bears.
As governor, Palin sued the federal government over the Interior Department's potential listing of the animal as an "endangered" species. (It actually wound up giving polar bears "threatened" status under the Endangered Species Act in May of this year.)
"We are suing the federal government recognizing that the endangered species act is not a place to kinda mess around with in terms of listing a species that right now is very, very healthy," Palin said on the Glenn Beck show earlier this year (About five minutes into this video). "In fact, the number of polar bear has risen dramatically in the last 30 years. Our fear being that the extreme environmentalists will use this tool -- the ESA -- to curtail or halt North Slope production of very rich resources that America needs. And we need that oil. We need that gas."
But that puts her at odds with McCain.
"The polar bear is now obviously listed as an endangerd species. I think it should have happened long ago," McCain said during an impromptu news conference in Columbus, Ohio, on May 14 of this year to note the new status of polar bears. "I strongly support it. It is clearly one of the thousands of consequences of climate change. I think that now the first step of listing the polar bear is important. But there's got to be a lot of work to be done and at the end of the day it will be seriously addressing the issue of climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Hopefully will stop and someday reverse the polar ice cap and the changes that are taking place. They were traditionally for thousands of years the habitat for the polar bear.
"I've been to the Arctic, and I've never seen a polar bear, I freely admit, but I certainly observed the affects of climate change whether it be in Svalbard, Norway or whether it be on the Arctic Circle or a native Alaskan village or whether it be. I'm glad that the polar bear's been -- the decision has been made by the administration. Secretary Kempthorne made the announcement, and I support it strongly. I'm sorry it didn't happen a long time ago."
The state of Alaska even commissioned their own competing study this year.
Science Daily wrote on May 10 of this year: "Prof. Armstrong and colleagues originally undertook their audit at the request of the State of Alaska. The subsequent study, 'Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public Policy Forecasting Audit,' is by Prof. Armstrong, Kesten G. Green of Monash University in Australia, and Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. It is scheduled to appear in the September/October issue of the INFORMS journal. Interfaces.