Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Newt Gingrich talks global warming with Bill O'Reilly

Newt Gingrich attempted to rewrite his 2006 book A Contract with the Earth as he answered a series of questions about global warming posed by Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly during a November 28, 2011 interview:

Bill O’Reilly: First of all, Nancy Pelosi, you sitting there talking about global warming on TV. What was that all about?
Newt Gingrich: Well, I’ve said it’s one of the dumbest things I’ve done in recent years. 
It was an effort on my part to say that conservatives are concerned about the environment. We have better solutions.
I actively opposed cap and trade. I testified against it the same day Al Gore testified for it.
But the commercial was just a mistake.
Bill O’Reilly: Okay, now do you believe in manmade global warming? That because the planet is polluted and we spew a lot of stuff into the air, that has influenced the way climate has come about? Do you believe that?
Newt Gingrich: I don’t think we know.
I think that the evidence is not complete, and I think that we’re a long way from being able to translate a computer program into actual science.
Bill O’Reilly: Alright, so you’re an agnostic on the subject. Would that be accurate?
Newt Gingrich: It would be fair to say that I am open minded. Certainly not prepared to spend trillions of dollars on a theory.
Bill O’Reilly: Nancy Pelosi is obviously the poster woman for the far left. And what was the benefit – put the issue aside of global warming, the environment, because I think that’s an important issue and I know you’ve been interested in it and have been for many years. Put that aside.
Did you think that being associated with her in any forum would be damaging to you?
Newt Gingrich: No, you know I thought at the time – look, I was a private citizen. I wasn’t contemplating public life. And I thought – I’d just written a book called A Contract with the Earth with Terry Maple on a conservative approach to the environment, and how to use incentives and business and common sense to have a better environment without the EPA.
Uh, and so I wanted to be in the middle of an argument about the environment to make a case that conservatives can actually have better ideas about the environment than liberals do.

In A Contract with the Earth, Newt Gingrich and his coauthor actually sang a very different tune, writing:

Information is ubiquitous, but our advanced information technology is the reason we know so much about global climate change and the decline of species, wetlands, and forests throughout the world.

They also lamented the politicization of science:

Unfortunately, we have experienced such political polarization on environmental issues that scientists are not completely trusted.

Far from explaining how “to have a better environment without the EPA”, A Contract with the Earth praised the Environmental Protection Agency for “promoting the use of landfill gas as a renewable green source of energy” and as a way to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Gingrich and Maple also hailed the use of alternative forms of energy to power EPA facilities as “ahead of the curve” and setting “a good example for other agencies.”

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