Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) engaged in head-to-head debate this morning on global warming. During the event, Kerry challenged Gingrich on his commitment to global warming science, asking him what his message would be to conservatives like Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) who are “resisting the science.”
Gingrich distanced himself from Inhofe, saying:
My message I think is that the evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon-loading of the atmosphere.
Via CNN Pipeline:
Gingrich went on to say that acknowledging the scientific consensus around climate change “is a very challenging thing to do if you’re a conservative” because they associate environmentalism with “bigger government and higher taxes.” Another possible explanation? Global warming skeptics find it lucrative and rewarding to side with the deep pockets of the oil lobby.
Gingrich concludes by arguing it is time for “green conservatism.”
UPDATE: BlueClimate has a full review of the debate.
KERRY: I’m excited to hear you talk about the urgency — I really am. And given that — albeit you still sort of have a different approach — what would you say to Sen. Inhofe and to others in the Senate who are resisting even the science? What’s your message to them here today?
GINGRICH: My message I think is that the evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon-loading of the atmosphere.
KERRY: And to it urgently — and now…
GINGRICH: And do it urgently. Yes.
If I can, let me explain partly why this is a very challenging thing to do if you’re a conservative. For most of the last 30 years, the environment has been a powerful emotional tool for bigger government and higher taxes. And therefore, if you’re a conservative, the minute you start hearing these arguments, you know what’s coming next: which is bigger government and higher taxes.
So even though it may be the right thing to do, you end up fighting it because you don’t want big government and higher taxes. And so you end up in these kinds of cycles. And part of the reason I was delighted to accept this invitation and I’m delighted to be here with Sen. Kerry is I think there has to be a if you will a “green conservatism” — there has to be a willingness to stand up and say alright here’s the right way to solve these as seen by our value system.