Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Newt and Me

Yesterday was a big day. The Pennsylvania primary, Earth Day, and a reason to celebrate for Flyers' fans. I'm planning to tackle it with two separate posts.

Slate hosted a bunch of Earth Day chats with various personalities, and most of it was the usual tripe, but I was tickled when I saw that Newt Gingrich was one of them.

Newt's a hyprocritical, comical, destructive character who wasted millions of taxpayer dollars trying to impeach the best president of my lifetime while complaining that the government spends too much money. At the same time he impugned Clinton for his philandering, he was fucking around on his wife. And he's named after a salamander!

So imagine my surprise when I found myself agreeing with most of Newt's positions on global warming. Here are some of the highlights:

    Newt Gingrich: For example, if you are really worried about carbon loading of the atmosphere...if the United States produced the same percentage of our electricity from nuclear power as the French, we would take 2 billion, 200 million tons of carbon out of the atmosphere a year, and that one step would be 15 percent better than the total Kyoto goal for the U.S.

Imagine that, promoting nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels. Please note the double irony: without excessive government regulation encouraged by environmentalists, the U.S. would be significantly greener today. The free market, if left to work, would have already surpassed the goals of Kyoto. The environmentalist answer to this problem? Why, more excessive government regulation, of course! No law will work faster and more efficiently to encourage environmentalism than $115/barrel oil, but instead of letting the market do its job, everyone insists on legislating a "solution".

    Newt Gingrich: You raise a good point, and as somebody that studies paleontology, I am well aware we have had much higher carbon levels (pre-historic time periods, probably caused by volcanoes) and much higher temperatures in the past. In addition, around 11,000 years ago, the Gulf Stream stopped for 600 years for reasons we don't understand. Europe went into an ice age. Then the Gulf Stream restarted for reasons we don't understand and the ice age disappeared.

    So a great deal of the "current science" is in fact politics.

    However, the word "conservative" includes "conservation" as its root. And conservatives should be cautious. Therefore, I am willing to look for methods of lowering carbon that do not destroy the economy or give the government increased power.

I had no idea that Newt's well-roundedness extended to paleontology. But there are two absolutely key points in this statement. First: So a great deal of the "current science" is in fact politics is exactly what I've been saying for the past two years. Second: in spite of that, Newt is willing to stipulate that continally pumping CO2 into the atmosphere isn't the best idea, and we should look for ways to prevent it that do not destroy the economy or give the government increased power.

I couldn't have said it better myself.


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