"Gingrich: “It’s an act of egotism for humans to think we’re a primary source of climate change.”"
And yet more pro-pollution falsehoods: “There’s no evidence in American history that regulations … work to create a better future.”
UPDATE: I forgot about this amazing Gingrich video from 2007 in which he said, “the evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon loading in the atmosphere…. And do it urgently, yes.”
Grist dissects former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in an interview.
Gingrich has long been an just another anti-science conservative eco-fraud pretending to care about the environment who adopted the anti-regulation, pro-technology approach suggested by GOP strategist, Frank Luntz, and popularized by his protege, George Bush (see Bush climate speech follows Luntz playbook: “Technology, technology, blah, blah, blah” and “Eco-fraud Gingrich has always opposed clean energy, climate action“).
The only “news” Gingrich makes is that he keeps fooling the media with his poll-tested disinformation (see “NYT’s Andy Revkin and E. O. Wilson get suckered by Newt Gingrich’s phony techno-optimism and Slate and the Post are suckered by anti-environmentalist Newt Gingrich).
Here’s some of the nonsense he told Grist:
Q. What is your position on climate change? How much of a threat do you think it poses?
A. It’s an act of egotism for humans to think we’re a primary source of climate change. Look at what happened recently with the Icelandic volcano. The natural systems are so much bigger than manmade systems. I am very dubious about claims that we know precisely what’s going to happen. And I’m very suspicious of the use of those claims to create much larger governments with much greater bureaucratic controls over our life.
How anyone still considers Gingrich a smart man is a mystery to me. How does the Icelandic volcano undercut the staggeringly vast amount of evidence — and basic physics — that humans are a primary source of climate change? Indeed, it is a pretty fringe position even in the ‘respectable’ anti-science crowd to assert humans are not a primary source of climate change. They mainly (falsely) assert it’s not the primary source, that the climate hasn’t changed much, and that it’s not going to change much in the future.
I would note that in his 2007 book, A Contract with the Earth, he wrote of “carbon emissions that contribute to the warming trend most climate experts have documented.” His finger-in-the wind positions are uber-malleable.
Q. In 2008, you appeared in an ad with Nancy Pelosi in which you said that America “must take action to address climate change.” Why have you flip-flopped?
A. I haven’t flip-flopped. The actions I would take would include nuclear power and the use of renewables. For much less cost than what Al Gore wants to spend, you can incentivize dramatic changes.
Q. I’m sorry, I’m confused. You’ve said on the one hand you’re not sure climate change is human-caused. On the other, America should take action to address climate change.
A. I think the carbon of the atmosphere is something we should deal with. To give you an example, if you had the same percent of American electricity from nuclear that you get in France, you would take 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year out of the atmosphere.
Q. You have applauded CEOs of GE and Duke Energy and Wal-Mart and other major industry executives for leading environmental progress in the country. These same executives are supporting a regulatory cap on carbon, saying they need federal regulations that provide market certainty.
A. What they are really telling you? They’re telling you they are so afraid that the Environmental Protection Agency will be used that they would rather have a law than have the Environmental Protection Agency make their life even more miserable.
Q. So you think these people actually aren’t concerned about climate change and don’t support a cap on carbon emissions?
A. I’m just saying there are a lot of people who are driven to take positions because they are genuinely afraid the government will make their life even more miserable through regulatory devices.
The interview goes on an on and on in this way.
Q. You have supported nuclear, solar, wind, smart grid, and other emerging technologies. Do you see incentives as the only way to push these markets to evolve?
A. Absolutely. There’s no evidence in American history that regulations and punishments work to create a better future.
Q. The Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act are widely lauded as successful legislation. Would you support rolling them back?
A. Depends on what you mean by rolling back.
Q. Do you think the government should have specific targets for clean water and clean air that can’t be surpassed?
A. Not necessarily.
Q. You don’t think a law should say the air has to be X percent clean?
A. No, I don’t.
Actually, there’s a staggering amount of evidence that regulations have created a better future — providing clean air and clean water — here for instance:
Retrospective Study, 1970 to 1990 – On October 15, 1997, EPA issued the first in this series of reports, entitled “The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act, 1970 to 1990,” following completion of a six-year process of study development and outside expert review. The report shows that the public health protection and environmental benefits of the Clean Air Act exceeded the costs of its programs by a large margin.
Indeed, there is no evidence that subsidies (alone) for energy technologies have ever lead to a net reduction in pollution. Quite the reverse.
But it is good to see Grist give Gingrich enough rope to hang himself on his extremist views, which can now be accurately characterized as anti-science and pro-pollution. He fundamentally wants dirtier air and dirtier water for your children. Plus a ruined climate.