The week before she was chosen as John McCain’s running mate, Alaska governor Sarah Palin was interviewed by CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo about drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve and elsewhere. In measured, lucid tones, Palin produced a veritable tsunami of non sequiturs, misleading claims, and outright falsehoods. One would need to go through second-by-second to fact check all the screamers — there’s the “20 percent of America’s domestic energy” bit, the “drilling in the Refuge would be confined to 2,000 acres” [PDF] shtick, and many more to boot — but I’m not going to put myself through that.

I just want to draw attention to Palin’s comments about renewables, which perfectly capture conservative conventional wisdom. I’ll transcribe her full comment below, but this is the key bit: “It’s naïve to think that we can go right to renewables and think that that’s ever going to work for our nation — today, at this time.” You can see that she catches herself at the end. She said “ever going to work,” which was probably a case of excess honesty, so she hedges with “today, at this time.”

But listen to her full comments, listen to her tone. It’s clear she thinks renewables are basically a charity project to satisfy liberals; she won’t oppose them, no one ever will, but she thinks oil and gas are energy for the foreseeable future. How long? Well, the new drilling and pipelines she’s pushing for won’t be delivering energy for at least 10 years, probably longer. So when she says we’re going to be in a “transition period” to renewables for “quite some time,” she’s talking about 50, 75, 100 years.

Sure, Palin “knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America,” but does she know anything about wind? Concentrated solar? Advanced geothermal? Cogeneration? Smart grids? V2G technology? Efficiency?

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Regardless, the public should know: Most Republicans think renewables are a sideshow. (And I’d bet a fair number of Dems agree.) That’s the key argument greens need to win; everything else flows from it.

Palin’s full comment (about 4:30 in) and video below:

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People need to be realistic, also — and this is also what kinda scares me about Biden and Obama — it seems to be almost a naïve notion of theirs that we can just automatically jump right into a renewable supply of energy to feed hungry markets across our nation when these renewables are not yet proven to be economic nor reliable. We’re gonna be in a transition period for quite some time where you have to be reliant on conventional sources of energy as we’re workin’ on the renewables. We certainly have to head in that direction also, but it’s gotta be doin’ everything, everything that we can to allow the domestics supplies, renewable and non-renewable, to be tapped, solutions plugged in from both those ends, and not just skip the oil and the gas developments, and the coal development also, that we have to have as part of a comprehensive plan. It’s naïve to think that we can go right to renewables and think that that’s ever going to work for our nation, today, at this time.