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Sierra Daily

Apr 21, 2011

Newt Gingrich Says the Darnedest Things!

It seems like it was only 2008 when former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was sitting down on a couch with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, agreeing that "our country must take action to address climate change."


But how times change! Via Think Progress, here's Newt speaking at a fundraiser last night in New Hampshire:

“I think we honestly don’t know,” he said. “I think the evidence is not nearly as complete as the computerized models, and I think that the understanding of climatology is a lot more incomplete than the global warming advocates would have you believe.”

Gingrich said he could see taking “prudent” and cost-effective steps to address climate change but would not support any form of a cap-and-trade program.

“I would not adopt massively expensive plans over a theory,” he said.

So what happened between 2008 and 2011? The very smart Ezra Klein pegs it not to anything intrinsic to the cap-and-trade system itself, but to the incredible polarization of U.S. politics:

This “you’re for it so we’re against it” phenomenon is increasingly common in politics, and not limited to any one issue. Cap-and-trade is, for now, a casualty of the way party polarization has become policy polarization. And no one one has yet developed a reliable strategy for interrupting that process.    

For more on the near-ubiquity of flip-flopping climate change, see "It Was a Mistake" in the current issue of Sierra.

--Paul Rauber

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