Gingrich Discusses Global Warming with NYT’s Revkin

November 27th, 2007 10:12 AM

In April, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich rocked the conservative world by stating in a highly publicized Capitol Hill debate with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) that he believed global warming was real.

Since then, Gingrich has published a new book on the subject entitled "A Contract with the Earth."

A few weeks ago, the former Speaker sat down with New York Times environment reporter Andrew C. Revkin to discuss his views on this controversial subject.

This resulted in a marvelous video posted at the Times website (available here), along with a November 13 article entitled "Challenges to Both Left and Right on Global Warming" (h/t NBer botg):

In "A Contract With the Earth," Mr. Gingrich, with his co-author Terry L. Maple (a professor of psychology at Georgia Tech and president of the Palm Beach Zoo), has written a manifesto challenging conservatives not just to grudgingly accept, but to embrace, the idea that a healthy environment is necessary for a healthy democracy and economy.

The book invokes concepts like the precautionary principles that are anathema to many in Mr. Gingrich's party. In a rare stance for those on the right, the authors say curbing carbon dioxide emissions (affordably) is a wise strategy.

They call for America to lead in moving to a world where "fossil fuels have been largely modified for carbon recycling or replaced by carbon-neutral alternatives."

The book does reveal in spots Mr. Gingrich's disdain for what he calls liberals' failed reliance on legislation and litigation in environmental protection. It is all about carrots, like tax incentives, and nowhere about sticks, like binding emissions limits.

But for the most part it is aimed at conservatives, urging them to embrace their inner Teddy Roosevelt and craft a new "entrepreneurial environmentalism."

NewsBusters readers are likely aware that I don't agree with some of Gingrich's positions on this issue, in particular, his concern for carbon dioxide emissions and the need to curb them.

Frankly, I don't understand how anyone familiar with the process of photosynthesis, and its importance to life on this planet, can be so afraid of CO2.

Given my esteem for the former Speaker, and his vast intellect, I would prefer to see some effort on his part to open up the debate on this cornerstone of the global warming myth rather than assisting in keeping it closed.

After all, the supposed consensus that there is a significant correlation between rising atmospheric levels of CO2 and rising temperatures, other than being brought into serious question by skeptical scientists that have proven time and again that CO2 levels rise after temperatures do, also defies a statistical metaphysical certitude: correlation does not mean causality.

To make this clear, in America, there is a 100 percent correlation between children going back to school and, within a couple of months, leaves falling off trees.

Happens every year, doesn't it?

Does anyone believe kids going back to school cause this annual phenomenon?

Yet, the climate alarmists' entire cataclysmic premise relies on such a preposterous conclusion.

Someone as plain-spoken as Gingrich could make people understand this, maybe even those in the media who claim the debate is over.

As I enthusiastically welcome his participation in this discussion, I believe it is incumbent upon the former Speaker to assist in the identification and verification of all facets of the science involved rather than endorsing this one controversial component.

This is critical given the number of gases in the atmosphere believed to have a significantly greater greenhouse impact than CO2. By ignoring their contribution, and focusing efforts exclusively on CO2, Gingrich might be advocating expensive solutions that end up solving absolutely nothing.

Such seems to defy the former Speaker's fiscally conservative track record in Congress.

Taking this a step further, as Revkin is also a clearly insightful individual that wants to be an active part in this discussion as both a scientist and a journalist, I would love to see him address such questions as well.

Even though I disagree with many of Revkin's views on this issue, I applaud his efforts to bring critical areas of this subject forward, and would like to see him challenge what most of his colleagues in journalism blindly accept.

After all, scientific assertions, regardless of how many people believe them, should be able to withstand scrutiny if they are at all relevant.

In fact, this is indeed the basis of science, something that those claiming the debate is over disgracefully misrepresent, and those looking to advance the discussion should advocate rather than squelch.