Monday, March 28, 2011

The Republican Retreat from the Fight against Climate Change

Denying that humans have anything to do with climate change may be a standard among Republicans. But it was not always so. Time magazine's Swampland blog has a handy review of the views of possible GOP presidential contenders whose views on climate change were not always so implacable. Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Mike Huckabee were all for action on climate change before they were against it. Even Sarah Palin has spoken of the possible effects of global warming, as when she created an "Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet" on climate change back in 2007:
"Many scientists note that Alaska's climate is changing," Gov. Palin announced at the time. "We are already seeing the effects. Coastal erosion, thawing permafrost, retreating sea ice and record forest fires affect our communities and our infrastructure. Some scientists tell us to expect more changes in the future. We must begin to prepare for those changes now."
Newt Gingrich is a special case. If consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, then Gingrich must be a very deep thinker indeed. Think Progress has compiled a timeline of Newt's statements on both sides of the global warming debate going back more than 20 years:
1989: Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA) co-sponsors the ambitious Global Warming Prevention Act (H.R. 1078), which finds that “the Earth’s atmosphere is being changed at an unprecedented rate by pollutants resulting from human activities, inefficient and wasteful fossil fuel use, and the effects of rapid population growth in many regions,” that “global warming imperils human health and well-being” and calls for policies “to reduce world emissions of carbon dioxide by at least 20 percent from 1988 levels by 2000.” The legislation recognizes that global warming is a “major threat to political stability, international security, and economic prosperity.” [H.R. 1078, 6/15/1989]
In the intervening years, Gingrich has oscillated between assailing efforts to combat climate change and urging that we act to protect the climate. As recently as 2008, he appeared with Nancy Pelosi, saying, "we do agree our country must take action to address climate change."

4 Comments:

Blogger Tom Konrad Ph.D. CFA said...

" If consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, then Gingrich must be a very deep thinker indeed."
Great line!

11:10 PM, March 28, 2011  
Anonymous kavips said...

If God is the author of the world, then the truth, whatever it is, can never be a heresy...and people of faith ought never fear it.

4:35 AM, March 29, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I took the link from your recent Guardian entry on nuclear power.

I also liked the 'hobgoblin' comment, but should not Gingrich be a shallow thinker? If consistency is a problem to simple minds, then Gingrich's oscillation between the different positions shows inconsistency and therefore a shallow mind.

It could be said, however, "if inconsistency be the hobgoblin to the serious mind, then Gingrich must be a very deep thinker indeed." Or something similar.

Apologies for the Sunday morning pedantry.

10:53 AM, April 03, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damnit! That makes no sense! My train of thought was broken (phone) and then my shallow mental inconsistency came to the fore.

Your original formulation is fine except that it should say: "If consistency be the hobgoblin of SERIOUS minds, then Gingrich must be a very deep thinker indeed."

The only thing worse than the GOP is pedants who correct their own incorrect pedantry.

11:00 AM, April 03, 2011  

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