The Greening of Gingrich


Capital Briefs – April 10, 2007

This is an overview of a recent debate by Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, and Senator John Kerry.  Senator Kerry has long held that global warming was caused by human activity but now Mr. Gingrich has announced that he feels the same way.  The majority of their debate then seemed to center on what to do next with Mr. Kerry purposing regulations and Mr. Gingrich proposing more of a free market approach with incentives for new technology.

As my regular readers know, I don’t think we understand enough to say that global warming is caused by human activity or not.  But if it is, I doubt that either solution proposed by Mr. Kerry or Mr. Gingrich will work.  If we have actually changed the climate then it will take an enormous change in the way we use energy to reverse direction.  Also, this entire conversation did not take into account methane, which has the potential to be a far greater factor on the climate than carbon.

In a heavily hyped debate – one that environmentalist Democrats hoped would be a “smack down” on Republicans — former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich disappointed them and conservatives alike when he declared that human activity was causing the Earth to warm.

In his first portion of allotted time Gingrich said there were two undisputed areas of scientific consensus on global warming: that the earth is getting hotter and the warming had been caused by human activity.

Gingrich said, “The evidence is sufficient that we should move to the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon.”

Gingrich said, “Regulation and litigation are the least effective ways of getting solutions. Reshaping markets with incentives are the fastest way.”

Kerry argued that environment laws drafted with help from the United Nations have been successful.

Kerry said the laws were “needed to create the leverage and the market so they would go out and invest in the technology because they don’t invest without it.” Government regulation, he said “is the only way to invite people to make that investment.”

Kerry said, “This is not bureaucracy. You set the standard the market will set the price,” he said. “We all live in a world where we don’t pay for the cost. We don’t pay for the loss of fish, we don’t pay for the lost of these species. None of that is priced into the goods today.”

You can read the article here. 

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