The Case for Green Conservatism

By Newt Gingrich Posted in Comments (119) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

The movement for the conservation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose and method. - President Theodore Roosevelt

[There is an] absolute necessity of waging all-out war against the debauching of the environment. - Governor Ronald Reagan, First Earth Day, 1970

First, I’d like to thank the Redstate community for providing a forum not just for me, but for any citizen with an idea they want to share. I believe America is facing a slate of challenges that, taken together, are as formidable as any our country has faced since the civil war. We need every American helping develop a generation of American Solutions to meet those challenges. Communities like Redstate will be an integral part of inspiring and channeling the creative energy of the country. This note is the first of many I intend to post here. Think of it as a note between colleagues intended to promote discussion and debate.

Today I want to emphasize the need to develop a “green conservatism”. I would like to elicit feedback that I will use to inform my speech tonight at EcoVision 2007, which will be webcast LIVE at www.AmericanSolutions.com starting at 7pm. I will be speaking around 8pm ET. I will also use later comments to help develop a speech for the Pennsylvania Conservative Conference in Harrisburg this coming Saturday.

Read on . . .

I believe we are seeing the beginning of a three-way split in American politics. The three groups are: the left wing machine; the “stand pat” Republicans; and the supporters of “American Solutions.” I’ve written about this split before in my weekly newsletter. It applies across many issues but for now, let’s focus on the environment.

The Left Wing Machine. The first group is those on the left who believe that only big government, big litigation, high taxes, and big regulation are appropriate answers for our environmental challenges.

The “Stand Pat” Republicans. The second group is those on the right who have grown so weary of the left using the environment as an emotional tool to push higher taxes and bigger government that they reflexively ignore or deny environmental challenges.

American Solutions. The third group – the group that I believe is the future of the American conservative movement, and indeed the future of American politics – are those who favor a “green conservatism” - an optimistic, positive, science and technology based, entrepreneurial, market-oriented, incentive-led, conservative environmentalism that creates more solutions faster and that will result in more biodiversity with less pollution and a safer planet.

As conservatives, we cannot trap ourselves into being “Stand Pat” Republicans. If the 2006 election taught us anything, it is that “Stand Pat” Republicans are no match for the left wing machine. This is as true for our environmental challenges as any other issue. In the absence of a clearly articulated “green conservatism,” the left wing machine will win.

Aside from the political ramifications, there is also the moral imperative of creating a future in which children in America and, indeed, all over the world, enjoy a much higher standard of living through a more vibrant economy and cleaner environments with greater biodiversity.

Values of Green Conservatism

An American Solutions approach will develop a “green conservatism.”

1. Green conservatism favors clean air and clean water.
2. Green conservatism favors maximum biodiversity as a positive good.
3. Green conservatism favors minimizing carbon loading in the atmosphere as a positive public value.
4. Green conservatism is pro-science, pro-technology, and pro-innovation.
5. Green conservatism believes that green prosperity and green development are integral to the successful future of the human race.
6. Green conservatism believes that economic growth and environmental health are compatible in both the developed and developing world.
7. Green conservatism believes that we can realize more positive environmental outcomes faster by shifting tax code incentives and shifting market behavior than is possible from litigation and regulation.

As a key part of green prosperity and green development, there has to be a green energy strategy which is designed to enable the human race to make the transition from historic fossil fuels which dramatically improved the quality of life over the pre-industrial period to a new clean generation of energy which will: enable us in national security terms to be liberated from dependence on dangerous dictatorships; enable us in economic terms to be effective in worldwide competition; and enable us in environmental terms to provide for a much cleaner and healthier future.

Reliable, affordable energy is indispensable to economic growth around the planet, and economic growth is essential to a healthier environment. In so many ways both here and abroad, we truly achieve “green through growth”.

Green Conservatism v. Green Bureaucracy and Litigation

A Green Conservatism Is Dedicated to Developing a “Generation of Solutions” -- Powered by the Sheer Scale of Scientific Change and the Application of the Principles of Free Enterprise That Work – To Meet the Environmental Challenges of our Generation

Green Conservatism has fundamentally different characteristics than Green Bureaucracy and Litigation.

Green Conservatism v. Green Bureaucracy and Litigation

Entrepreneurs<---------->Bureaucrats

Incentives<------------>Regulation

Focus on market<------------>Focus on command and control

Focus on tax code as an incentives tool<------>Focus on litigation as a coersion tool

Focus on scientists<------------>Focus on the trial lawyers

Meeting the requirements of a higher standard of living across the planet that minimizes environmental stresses and maximizes biodiversity requires fundamentally different strategies. These include replacing process with prizes in our scientific research investments and developing a system of carbon reduction tax credits powerful enough to make it a financially appealing for companies to switch to green technologies.

We must also insist that scientific data and facts be the foundation of public policy development. We need to develop a transparent system that aggregates all the environmental data being gathered worldwide into a single data set that is available to everyone. Arguments about analysis and scientific dissent should be encouraged in the pursuit of thorough analytical understanding of the complexities of our environmental system.

Help Me Launch a “Green Conservatism” Tonight

I will be discussing these themes and laying out specifics over the coming months, starting tonight at EcoVision 2007, an event being held this week in Washington, DC. You can watch the event LIVE tonight from your computer at www.americansolutions.com starting at 7pm ET. I will speak around 8pm.

Throughout the day my staff will be emailing your feedback to this note which I’ll use to inform my address tonight. I will also respond to some when I can, which will be posted here. I look forward to engaging in this dialogue with you to further develop green conservatism as well as American Solutions for all America’s challenges.

I look forward to hearing you as you speak at commencement.

One problem I see initially is your first point.

Green conservatism favors clean air and clean water.

While I'm sure you don't mean it, though who are on the fence and so used to getting beaten up are going to naturally react and suggest the implication hear is that "stand pat" Republicans oppose clean air and clean water.

Erick, the reason we begin with “Green conservatism favors clean air and water” is because the polling data is quite clear - most people do not believe that stand pat Republicans care about the environment.

It may not be true in terms of their beliefs but it is certainly true in terms of the public’s interpretation.

This perception was a significant factor in Republicans having a difficult time in virtually every suburban district in the country in 2006. We need to fix this and I think articulating a green conservatism is the answer.

So I don't have a knee-jerk hostility to conservatives advocating environmentalism.

But what I didn't see in your article was any suggestion of what problem do you believe you are solving- ie tell us, what are the consequences for us if we continue to be "stand-pat republicans"? Will Florida be underwater in 10 years (BS) or will the average temperature rise by 2 degrees over the next 150 years (who cares). Or is the benefit not at all to the environment, but as you allude to we could one day tell Saudi Arabia to go to take a hike (possibly reason enough in my view).

Many of us on the right are so numbed to enviro-hysteria that we dismiss it out of hand, and I at least would welcome hearing from someone with your background what you really believe would be the consequences.

The other thing that would be nice to hear is what you believe we have to achieve with carbon reduction to "solve" your assumed problem, and following that what we would actually have to do- ie the outcome of your carbon tax or whatever- to achieve the desired carbon reduction. For example, would we need to reduce auto emissions 10%, 20%, 30%? Or coal-fueled power generation? Or is it not so much about us cutting back, but to really solve the "problem" we would need to figure out how to clamp down on China/India/etc emissions that are ramping up through the roof while our own emissions, without needing your green conservatism, have been gradually plateauing as we transition to a service based economy?

In short, convince us there are real consequences to this "problem" and convince us that there are specific realistic things we could actually do to avoid the "problem."

In the same manner that a healthy free market is more than the sum of its parts, so to is a health biosphere.

An ecological system in relative balance produces goods which we don't have to exert effort to produce. Many of its products are not engineer-able, but are inherently chaotic and emergent in nature - just like market syntheses.

Two lite examples.

1) Monoculture of forests. This is analagous to mono-culture - as in the lefts drive for a top-down uniform cultural apparatus in the United States. It reduces perspectives, and makes for a less robust system. Same thing happens with trees. Unforseen - and in fact unforseable - pathologies pop up. While there may be an initial advantage, long term the system degrades. If instead, you work with the system, maximum yields my be lower than a surge peak output, but long term the yield balances out, and much less effort is expended.

2) Crop disease resistance. BT was engineered into corn. Whether this is good idea or not is debatable, but the implementation of the patent holder is to be noted. When planting BT corn, one is required to plant a section (called a "refuge") of disease susceptible corn nearby. Why?

The population of pests on the normal corn can survive without BT resistence. Even if a BT resistant pest evolves, its gene expression in the population will be diluted through breeding with the non-resistant population living on the normal corn.

Maintaining a resistant gene in a population requires pressure. Genes natural drift. They are conserved relative to their importance. Without enough of an advantage, the genes are diluted. The larger the "refuge", the less likely an immune pest popution will evolve because there is not enough of an advantage to maintain it.

Now, if we look at the entire biosphere as our "refuge", we can see the advantage of maintaining a robust ecosystem. Inside that biosphere, we can create relatively small and isolated "farms", and maintain disease resistance essentially for free.

Google "permaculture" for more info - but be aware that as with most heretical ideas, it attracts a fair number of true believer yo-yos.

Basically, think of ecosystems as markets. Our relationship to both is basically the same.

I don’t necessarily accept what you're getting at in terms of “the problem.” Maybe I'm not interpreting you correctly, but there are many characteristics and aspects of the environment. You mentioned Florida for example. I do not believe that Florida will be underwater in ten years or anytime in the future. On the other hand I do believe that the sound management of water in Florida is key to the survival of the Everglades, which is a beautiful, wonderful national park and enormously valuable ecosystem. Therefore, we should try to understand water-flow in South Florida to maximize the survival of the Everglades. This strikes me as a reasonable part of responsible conservation and therefore green conservatism.

Second, you’ve put your finger on a real key to the issue. If we don’t help China and India fix their problems and grow economically without damaging the environment, nothing we do in the U.S. will matter. So as part of the worldwide environment we have an interest in developing green technologies to allow green economic growth to have green prosperity so that China and India are able to have very a very good quality of life without having to expand water and air pollution and other problems. This is a key pillar of green conservatism.

Part of my reflexive concern whenever someone raises environmentalism is a result of the unfounded hysterical apocalyptic scare tactics that you get from the left on this issue, which all of us are quite sick of hearing about.

If your message on environmentalism is not based on some sort of "Day After Tomorrow" doomsday concern, but instead from your response sounds more along the lines of simply applying the conservative principle of behaving in a responsible manner, then that is certainly rational and I am interested in what you have to say, and happy to support any reasonable steps that are consistent with that.

For future reference, some of us are so numb to this issue because of the liberal doomsday hysterics that we (me) tend to dismiss it out of hand. You are talking about something different, and the more you emphasize that, the more conservatives will be willing to listen to what you have to say.

...environmental awareness. I would call my family and I "green" if the word hadn't been co-opted by anti-capitalist nuts and government control freaks.

Granted, my reasons for being stingy with my personal use of energy are vastly different than the Gore groupies. I look at energy responsibility and independence as primarily a national security issue, with the environmental benefit being a nice bonus.

I salute you, Mr. Speaker, on presenting conservative solutions to an issue that we should have owned from day one.

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"We want great men who, when fortune frowns, will not be discouraged." - Colonel Henry Knox

I couldn’t agree more. This is an issue “we should have owned from day one,” especially if you look at what Ronald Reagan said at the first Earth Day or what Theodore Roosevelt said one hundred years ago.

"During my lifetime, all our problems have come from mainland Europe, and all the solutions from the English-speaking nations across the world." - Thatcher

I have been gardening organically for 20 some years. My mom subscribed to Rodale's when it was new. We utilize rotational grazing and work to increase the organic content in our soil. We guard the watershed and prevent soil erosion.

We live frugally regarding electricity usage and fuel consumption, though that is primarily a waste not, want not consideration.

It offends me no end that the leftists have co-opted the idea of environmental protection, and even worse, have bastardized it to the point of backlash. Leave it to the left to screw up a good idea.

I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful 100 percent.

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We are all heroes, you and Boo and I. Hamsters and rangers everywhere, rejoice!

I was very impressed with your debate with Senator Kerry last week and thought it an important step in furthering the national dialogue. Thank you for taking the initiative in moving the debate past whether climate change is happening and onto the subject of what we can do about it. I appreciate your efforts and will continue to follow your developments.

"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." -Mark Twain

I have the greatest of respect for the work you have done while in congress. Its without false flattery that I say you are one of a very few speakers that has made a truly positive difference for the country.

Given your history I find it baffling that you are embracing the green movement. I understand your position that you can have green conservatism but that would have nothing to do with the current green movement. Greens are about controls mandates and top down decision making. Their philosophy is of wiser heads telling the rest of us how to live. The green philosophy is fundamentally totalitarianism tied to ecology. It is no different than any other form of totalitarianism we have seen over the years.

I am not saying the professed ideals of the greens are incompatible with conservatism. Conservatives above all else want this nation and its values to persist into the future. We can't very well have that without a livable environment. History however, has shown that the best way to improve the environment is to have economic growth and rising levels of wealth. If you look at the Brady photographs of the civil war, or the pictures of our cities from Bettman archive the contrast is telling. No one anymore, evacuates New York or Washington to avoid Cholera in the summers.

Conservatives have been achieving green Ideals. We do so in small sensible and economic steps all the time. Loggers replant where they cut, not from government mandate but out of economic reality. Automobiles solve public health problems created by horses, their environmental impact is also considerably less. Only wealthy societies can and will set aside land for parks. Central Park was created at about the time New York became the wealthiest city in the world. This is hardly coincidental.

As I said at the beginning I am a great admirer of yours, and its hardly my place to lecture, but government embrace of what is a dehumanizing movement can only bode ill.
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"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Joliphant - I didn't really read an embrace of the green movement as it currently exists into Speaker Gingrich's post. Everything you write about the green movement is spot on, but that's exactly what Speaker Gingrich argues against in his post. It seems that the two of you agree on almost everything you've written in your comment. The difference is that Speaker Gingrich is subverting the Left's use of "green" by attaching a new meaning to it. The Left has been able to claim environmentalism, green, etc., for far too long without any challenge. It's time for us to say that there are ways to be green without being communists. We shouldn't be afraid to use the words that the Left uses against them, to turn the ideological tables on them. We can be green too, with the understanding that we have a radically different way of doing things.

As for "your place," though, I doubt Speaker Gingrich would be here if he didn't want input. It certainly is your place to lecture. This is a government ultimately accountable to the people, and you're one of them.

Regards,
Nate Nelson
Reality Mugged Me

The Left has been able to claim environmentalism, green, etc., for far too long without any challenge. It's time for us to say that there are ways to be green without being communists.

And every Republican President since Nixon has signed lots and lots of new and improved environmental laws. Worked out well for the Republicans so far, hasn't it? We get as much credit for this as we do for caving on education (NCLB) or caving on health care (Medicare Part D). This is a recipe for failure.
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Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

I have zero intention of “caving” on the environment. I have every intention of creating an alternative that Milton Friedman would have been proud of and would have supported.

This thread is now on the second page, so I don't know if you're still following.

My focus is on small and local business. I find a lot of truth in several philosophers observations of the virtues of the small landowner. I tend to be wary of large structures, whether in the public or private sectors.

A good portion of the tension driving green fuels is now coming from large energy sector, or large in general, corporate structures. A good deal of that tension is based on the assumption of the historical interface between state policy makers and energy producers. But in the past, mineral and mining rights were primarily concerned with below ground resources. At the worst, such as in strip mining, the land would be mined but other property rights remained with the original owner.

With green fuel we are dealing with arable land. There will be pressure for significant takings and elite land use manipulations. Do you agree and how can that be mitigated?

Is there a chance of adding land use value back into the system for small land holders?

Thank you.

If a camel gets its nose in a tent the rest will follow. The government is much like a camel.

The way I view this is very simple. If the government starts getting involved ultimately it won't matter what the animating philosophy is. Animating philosophies are tools used by the democrat bureaucracy to increase the size and scope of their power. They truly must laugh when a conservative proposes a government program thinking it will work a particular way.

The change from within paradigm is fundamentally flawed. For every would be reformer there are 10,000 that are in love with the status quo and know exactly how to hamstring the reformer.

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"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Since you quote Thomas Paine, read Hamilton’s first report on manufacturing and first report on the national debt. Both represent a market-oriented intervention by a government that was very strong in very limited ways and very much opposed to bureaucracy.

Hamilton was always exceptionally insightful about the role of government. He is uniquely responsible for our current financial well being.
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"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

http://www.gwu.edu/~ffcp/exhibit/p13/p13_3.html

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"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

. The difference is that Speaker Gingrich is subverting the Left's use of "green" by attaching a new meaning to it.

And exactly what is the benefit of doing this? I find it very hard to beleive that there are a lot of people who would like to vote Republican, but can't bring themselves to do it for no other reason than the GOP just isn't green enough. The leftists who feel all snuggly and warm wrapped in thier anti-capitalist green fantasies are NEVER going to vote Republican, not even if you completely dismantle American industry. The people likely to fall for every new tidbit of environmental pseudo-science and buy a Prius "for the trees" are not going to buy into this, and you're not going to get the conservative base to go out and vote Republican because they're excited about "green conservatism".

With all due respect, Mr. Speaker, I think you're heading down the wrong rabbit hole with this idea. I think you'd have much better luck dressing up as Woodsy the Owl and doing the macarena at a superfund site. That would turn just about as many one-issue environmental voters, and wouldn't cost as much of your credibility with the conservative base.

Not only that, but I'd put the over/under for your tax incentives for businesses at about 32 minutes into the next democratic controlled congress, where they'll be denounced as "tax cuts for the rich", "corporate welfare" or worse. At that, I'm not too sure I'd be able to disagree. I'm all for cutting corporate taxes, but let's stand up and call a spade a spade, instead of hiding it behind the chickadees and the snail-darters.

The only good thing about this approach is that I'll finally be able to agree with my uberliberal brother on something during the next election cycle: "Green conservatism" is nothing more than pandering to an audience that simply isn't going to buy it.

This is exactly right. I’m trying to create the kind of new approach that would enable us to stand toe to toe with the left anywhere in America and offer people a better future with a healthier environment and a stronger economy by having a Green Conservatism.

Mr. Speaker, maybe you could explain how you expect this approach to yield some kind of positive environmental image for the Republican party, given what we have already done in the past. Republican administrations from Nixon on have presided over massive increases in environmental regulation, yet this perceived weakness on the environment remains.

How will your plan chain the perception, when all the previous Republican environmental initiatives accomplished absolutely nothing in this respect?
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Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

We do it by offering a real alternative to regulation and bureaucracy as a means of stewardship over the environment.

The left will always be willing to offer more regulation than us and thus can always seem more in favor of environment than we are. However, if we refuse to be bound by this narrow definition of environmentalism and instead offer a compelling solution based on market incentives and sound science, we can win.

if we ... offer a compelling solution based on market incentives and sound science, we can win

Offering market incentives will only provide the left an opportunity to paint the Republicans as stooges of Big Business, and sound science will always be trumped by soundbytes of pseudo-science among a population that's willing to unquestioningly accept such nonsense as second-hand smoke, the China syndrome, Frankenfoods, and "An Inconvenient Truth". I understand the desire to co-opt one of the left's key strengths, but this isn't going to do that.

I realize that you know far more about politics than I do, but then again, I was one of the few people who thought the internet bubble was a house built on sand while the experts where screaming "buy, buy, buy!". In the same vein, I'm telling you that this approach is going to backfire. It will be viewed as empty and cynical by anyone who has a real concern about the environment, it's going to be viewed as a "Me Too", follow-the-donkey response by those who don't particularly care about the environment, and it will be viewed as an abandonment of core principals by the conservative base. At the very best, it will distract Republicans from the things they do well, and will not blunt the Democrat's arsenal in the least.

My first impresson upon reading your post was "Et Tu, Newt?". Of all the people on the right, I expected you to be the one carrying the banner of smaller government, fewer regulations, and lower taxes. I implore you to stick to the principals that made you speaker, and leave playing with the polar bears to Algore and the other professional alarmists.

Let me suggest I am not in any way embracing the current left-wing environmental movement. In fact, precisely the opposite.

I am outlining a Green Conservatism because I want to give people who say they care about the environment (about 85 percent of the American people) a fundamental choice between what you describe correctly as a “movement on the left dedicated to bigger and more powerful government with more and more control over our lives” versus an incentives, markets, science and technology based environmentalism.

Or to put it more succinctly, a choice between a future created by entrepreneurs and scientists instead of trial lawyers and bureaucrats.

Hi Joliphant -- Not sure how you're linking econ. growth with the decline of cholera. Could you explain a bit more? Thanks.

Its easy, if you have a productive economy you can afford to do things about problems like cholera. If you don't have the resources your stuck.

Sewage systems and sanitation don't come for free.
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"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

I don't want to divert this thread -- especially as a newbie -- so this is my last post on the cholera question.

You're right, sewage systems and sanitation aren't free. And who paid for the expensive infrastructure that virtually eliminated cholera by 1900? Taxpayers.

Another major victory in the fight against water-borne disease came when laws were passed prohibiting individuals and businesses from dumping waste in public waterways. Regulations.

Taxes and regulations -- both are fightin' words to many of the faithful. Yet, in both cases, they were employed without delay or apology by Theodore Roosevelt to fight cholera and other public health threats.

I don't think this country has had a "greener" president (from either party), a more ardent proponent of capitalism, or a more fervent patriot. But I wonder how TR would fare in today's political environment (pardon the pun) -- and that worries me for the future of the GOP and for the Nation.

You can regulate all you want and nothing good will come of it.
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"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Mr. Gingrich, I really want to thank you for this post. Conservatism is in fact deeply compatible with environmental protection, because it eschews waste, needless costs, and embraces profitability -- not just on economic grounds, but also based on a moral sense of being an admirable and respectable citizen.

I have a lot more to say about this post later, but I'd like to tell you that as a Republican with a Republican Conservative father who is also a member of the Board of Health in a town where our most important resource is a beautiful and pristine lake built by the Army Corps of Engineers, there is nothing more paramount to me than being an environmental leader and a responsible businessman -- as a Republican. And that means being a conscientious and proactive citizen in terms of the environment.

Here are a few pictures of the lake that I live adjacent to -- Hamilton Reservoir in Holland, Massachusetts. It's a beautiful place and as a Republican and a businessman I am committed to keeping it that way for people who want to enjoy it as much as I have, as long as it exists.

"Those who plant, preserve."

Your post is much appreciated - but isn't this just conservation, when it all boils down?

This may be “just conservation” but Green Conservatism will communicate much more vividly in the 21st century. Sound, intelligent conservation was what Ronald Reagan was for on the first Earth Day and was what T.R. fought for 100 years ago.

Well, I think this might be good politics, but I don't think it's based on sound science or sound moral thinking.

My complaints.

1. Maximum biodiversity.

What is the intellectual basis for this goal? What do you favor when "maximum" biodiversity conflicts with more immediate human needs of economic growth and development?

The main human-centric argument for biodiversity is that we can discover new drugs. But that goal can be accomplished by cataloging and keeping samples of any species at risk.

The left uses biodiversity "threats" as a means to slow or stop almost any new development.

I don't believe there is a strong intellectual basis for maximum biodiversity, esp. compared to other goals with real and immediate human benefits.

We have been able to feed the world using a tiny number of cereal crops. A "Maximum Biodiversity" approach to our crops would have led to mass starvation in the 20th century.

2. Environmental Health.

This is a meaningless concept. Please define how one actually measures this.

If you mean clean air and clean water, then say that. We all support that. Although even there the Greens use paranoia over trace chemicals to convince Americans that their air and water are dirty, when the truth is our air and water have never been cleaner.

The environment is not an organism. It can't live and die. It can't get "sick". You can't "hurt" the Earth. The concept has no meaning.

The environment can be more or less beneficial to human beings -- our growth, our health, our standard of living.

Environmental concerns should be dealt with at a human-centric, humanist level.

....

The Greens want to elevate their new religion to the level of state-sponsored religion. Even though it might be popular, they are wrong and Republicans shouldn't help them.

We should support environmental laws that produce positive benefits to human-beings. These benefits need to be proven through sound science and cost-benefit analysis.

Simply asserting that we have a duty to protect a vague, undefined concept like Environmental Health is dangerous.

...

Again, I think this might be wise politics. The Greens are very popular these days. But as we've seen in the past with Green issues like DDT bans (which led to more malaria deaths in Africa), there can be hugely negative results from acting on the basis of religious or ideological purity, and not on a science-based, economically-sound, human-centric basis.

...

I've been a big fan of Gingrich for years. So I'm very disappointed in reading this. I do prefer his approach to the even worse command and control Democrat approach. But the real problems are the anti-human goals, more so than the means of achieving those goals.

On biodiversity, I believe that it is possible to find core values that transcend pure utilitarianism in seeing nature as a source of great joy and great strength.

As to “environmental health” – if you had watched the Cuyahoga River burn for three days you would have seen the absense of environmental health. If you look at air pollution in Mexico City you would see the absence of environmental health. I think one can be for environmental health without being utopian.

Wow, I'm impressed you responded.

But, and I think you know this, all of our stats on air and water quality show a steady, sustained improvement over the past century.

Individual anecdotes are powerful, but they feed into the misperception that we are on the verge of some sort of environmental crisis.

I still say that a term like "Environmental Health" is an empty political phrase that's mainly used as a rhetorical club.

If we are talking about air and water we can be very specific. Parts per billion of specific chemicals that have shown to cause real problems. When we operationalize our definitions like that we can take real action that actually makes people's lives better.

"Environmental Health" can mean whatever anybody wants it to mean. For some it's biodiversity, for other it's C02, for others it's total pristine nature, free from all human impact.

Using a phrase like that lets the anti-human Greens steal an intellectual base that they shouldn't be allowed.

...

I also think it is, sadly, good politics. A Green Republican is a good sell. Suburbanites will like it. Maybe it's something we have to accept in today's political reality.

But it's still wrong -- morally, scientifically, and economically wrong. The world is getting better all the time and you do America a disservice by catering to our irrational fears.

Green Conservatism absolutely must be based on sound scientific principles rather than hype, hysteria, emotion or a socialist agenda. The left shoves so many things down our throat without first validating them scientifically because they are a vehicle for them to gain power. Also there should be an appeal to encouraging morality in America so as to cause people to choose the right thing. After all, who would not want clean air, soil and water for our children and grandchildren? Only a wretch. The liberals do have a point when they consider care for the environment to be a moral issue. The problem is that they have abandoned other aspects of what we might call traditional morality and replaced it with their "new morality". In truth, you can't foster new morality without also embracing traditional morality. In embracing a false notion of separation of church and state, the government works against people believing in God. Until this issue is addressed it will be difficult to see a change in peoples values. A Green Conservatism is just a piece of a much larger puzzle.

It's also boiling into forced subsistence and racism... the same environmental principles touted by our progressive friends are being used to justify condemning the third world to their current state of development, seeming not to care that real advances of such could save the lives of millions of Africans annually...

Having grown up in Northern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline, I have a deep respect for the environment and know the value of being a good environmental steward. It's just sensible policy. However, some of the current environmental issues out there right now seem to be more of a "what if" scenario than anything, and CO2 emissions are one of them. Just as an example, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines over a decade ago, in one fell swoop, threw about as much CO2 into the atmosphere as a few years of American industrial activity. So long as we continue to insist on BACT (Best Available Control Technology) standards for power plants and industries, and use financial incentives to companies who develop better and more efficient emissions control technologies, we can end up still rapidly expanding our economy and our industry while our environmental impact even decreases.

In many parts of America, we have our cleanest water, air, and soil that we've had in decades, and that is because of our value on these resources, and the technology to do something to keep them that way. Go over to Europe, and this isn't always the case... in fact, even with all their talk on environmental matters, many parts of the continent would be considered "heavily polluted" by American standards. In my personal opinion, this is because, in America, we feel that the task of environmental stewardship goes beyond the government, and extends out to the business community and the individual as well. We are able to take for granted a level of environmental quality that many places of the world can only dream of, and it's all because we don't rely on the government to take care of all of it for us.

"I could explain, but that would be very long, very convoluted, and make you look very stupid. Nobody wants that... except maybe me."

That’s exactly the point we’re driving at with Green Conservatism. Millions of Africans should not be subjected to having a terrible future in the name of the environment. Instead there should be a way to have green development and economic growth.

You’re also correct in saying that wealthier societies with more powerful free markets and more advanced technology create cleaner water, air, and soil.

In the long run, if you want the elephant to survive, you want all the neighboring humans to be wealthy enough not to want to hunt them.

Conservatives just don't subscribe to the left's anti-capitalism anti-freedom extremism.

Take global warming, why is it assumed man causes it when the simple answer is the sun is causing it -- As well as the warming of other planets and moons in our solar system. Does that make me want the air to look like it does in China? No way. But I believe in science and facts not emotional irrational appeals to sacrifice for a nothing.

If you really thought that global warming was caused by man, you would be launching a huge International campaign to tackle the MASSIVE problem of agricultural fires set by man world wide. These fires cover countries, in many cases more than one, with huge clouds of particle and gaseous emmisions, dwarfing what is given off by any forest fire. These MASSIVE agricultural fires, visible on MODIS satellite images, would surly draw your attention. Fixing would be simple and not cost 100s of billions of dollars.

I live an the bank of a bay and am concerned as anyone with issues of pollution, water quality and air quality. But I am also an engineer and understand the appropriate use of trade-offs.

I applaud your efforts Newt, lets just keep it real, based on real science and leave the emotions and bunk to the the Goracle and the left.

Before claiming irrationality and emotion in others interpretation, it is best to look at the science.

The agricultural fires you mention as GHG sources are primarily the Indonesian peat fires which are a serious problem. In fact Indonesia may be the third highest CO2 emitter. However, that still does not make solving these fires a solution to the entire problem, being they contribute (on average) less than 10% of global emissions.

I agree, let's not sacrifice for nothing. But let's not sacrifice our judgment to some caricature of leftism either.

-jb

I mean, maybe there is someone somewhere who values their factory more than having clean water right next door, but its kind of a given.

Secondly, while being a green conservative sounds politicaly charming (sort of like being a compassionate conservative), how does this apply to global warming which you seemed to acknowledge in your discussion the other day with Senator Kerry.

Thirdly, I like that you are engaging in discussions about important issues. It is a different approach and a good one. I don't know that it will help you become president if that is your long term goal, but it is a helpful approach.

Fourthly, if you're looking for suggestions, how about nuclear power plants which will reduce the carbon footprint of blah blah blah.

Fifthly, I think having a "home grown" only strategy is a good national security feature. It would keep us out of some places (like Iraq) and it would prevent those types of countries from joining in if we ever have to fight a real war (like with China).


Signature disclaimer: I'm not currently paid by any campaign, but I am available. Current preferences for President: 1) F.Thompson; 2) Romney; 3) McCain; 4) Gingrich; Guiliani removed 04/03/07

Green Conservatism = replacing all of our non-nuclear power plants with nuclear power plants.

What it does not = is buying into Global Warming garbage. Carbon is a lagging indicator, not a leading instigator of global temperature spikes.

The left opposition to nuclear energy comes down to a desire to limit all growth.

A source of clean renewable energy would allow solutions to a lot of other problems, (electric rails, waste disposal, general living conditions, for example) that would reduce reliance on oil and gas and generally increase the standard of living. The opposition to growth comes mainly from anti-capitalists who can only see the future in terms of reduced standards of living, greater redistribution of wealth, and their leaders in charge. To this end, the "green" movement is part of a political plan with "anthropomorphic global warming" as their wedge issue. If Newt can co-opt some of this issue for the conservative side, more power to him.

Never underestimate the ability of modern medicine

Although perhaps the most memorable graph seen in An Inconvenient Truth, historical carbon/temperature correlation is NOT the reason we believe in current anthropomorphic global warming.

A combination of first principles understanding of the green house effect, observation of rapidly increasing CO2 levels, and the elimination of other possible primary forcings inform this conclusion. For more information, heavily referenced, see the IPCC Working Group 1 Summary.

-jb

Why do you invite a threadjack ? If you want to make your point blog it. Don't hijack the speakers thread.
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

I don't want to do that so consider me mum on technical arguments from now on.

I will observe that I'm quite pleased that the Speaker is speaking out on the issue of global warming. It is very easy when disagreeing with so many of the left's positions to see any issue presented from that side through the prism of "guilt by association". As others are observing, environmental issues are not the province of one party, but sometimes we need leadership to remind us of that.

Thanks for your comments Speaker.

-jb

Since you mentioned nuclear power you’ll be interested to know that if we had the same percentage of our energy production coming from nuclear power as the French currently have (78%), we would have 2 billion 200 million metric tons less carbon per year going into the atmosphere.

We would also be 15 percent below the proposed Kyoto target for 2008 and could wave cheerfully at the Europeans with no reduction in our economy.

Let's go all in. 100% - starting with TXU's new plants! Beat the French!!! :-)

Okay...now I must admit that as lame as I think getting starstruck is...OMG NEWT GINGRICH RESPONDED TO A POST OF MINE! lol. I guess I must now consider myself to be officially lame by my own standards. :-)

Is it sad how exciting it is to have a politican listen to what one has to say? haha

...on how to get a building permit for a nuclear power plant or three. We can cut down our oil dependency and CO2 output significantly with nuclear power, so I hope that becomes one of your planks.

Since conserve is in our very name, we should be leaders on the environment. Alas. I'm glad you're giving this matter some sorely needed attention, Mr. Speaker.

Overall, what I hear when you speak in general, it is with a tenor of reasonableness and therefore will continue to listen. My primary hope is that you end up somewhere on the 2008 ticket in order to help rebuild a strong Republican presence and proliferation of creative, wise problem solving.

With respect to environmental issues, those who are labeled herein as “stand pat” Republicans are a somewhat more variegated group. However, I would envision some slightly different explanation for that mindset. Indeed, they have been conditioned by the political tenor of debate which uses ideology and parochial gain to supplant reasonable discussion and policy. However, in deference, they listen to the environmental debate desperately hoping the posture will change; something which has not occurred. As seen in the global warming debate, it appears to have actually become more politically motivated. That is not only distressing but disappointing, especially in today’s political environment. There is only a finite amount of energy one can devote to the political spectrum. Therefore environmental issues seldom become part of the discussion portfolio; something I would agree is substantially unfortunate. We therefore agree to disagree, remaining resolute in opposing positions and categorical characterizations.

A perfect example is our Presidents efforts to reduce oil dependence and promote alternatives. The response from Democrats is not only disappointing but deliberately superficial and critical. This should indeed be something we can all agree on; the question becomes the cost, compliance and reasonable commencement.

It is also wise to truly use economic leverage on foreign countries that want to participate in our markets to be held to identical standards. We struggle to compete as businesses are constantly challenged with new regulations and a legal environment that can put a company out of business overnight. Many foreign countries selling in this market are faced with far less encumbrances. It is time to demand thoughtful commencement of all the factors which make true free trade possible. If this is done in a reasonable, even handed manner, one can envision reasonable discussion and adoption.

It appears that “Green Conservatism” has in some ways touched on many of these values. I look forward to the discussion as it not only change the debate, work for a common good and protect our future; it will also change the fallacious characterization promoted in political circles that Republicans are anti environment.

In the words of Thoreau, I would say "If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." Who better to build that foundation then conservatives?

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"
Contributor to The Minority Report

and while I have admired and been inspired by you for years, you are in error.

First, 'posting notes' here and reading the responses is a half measure. While the pressures on your time are doubtless legion, failing to fully interact with the community here will serve only to convince you of your own opinion. It appears to be an attempt to coopt the site in order to give your ideas a credible platform. While some may say we all do that, probably that isn't the appearance you wish to present. I urge you therefore to fully engage the Redstate community in interactive dialog. Click "Reply To This" if you find an interesting comment, and you will be on your way. If you really want to make points here, recommend a blog or two.

In what follows, know that I am a nature lover, avid recycler, and eat more than my share of granola.

More substantively,

  1. clean air and clean water
    And everyone else is for dirty air and dirty water.


  2. biodiversity
    Biodiversity is fine and everything, but what are the priorities? I would rather see an entire species of non-human life go extinct than for one human being to die one second early.


  3. carbon loading in the atmosphere
    Poppycock. You have fallen for the poor logic of the global warming alarmists.


  4. science, technology, and innovation
    Fine, but when the scientific quest for knowledge intersects with moral choices, from which sphere do you suggest the decision should be most informed?


  5. green ... integral to the successful future of the human race
    That's fine, as long as the priority continues to be humans, and not 'the planet'.


  6. economic growth and environmental health are compatible
    Of course they are. But by saying so, you implicity argue that environmental concerns will trump economic ones.


  7. environmental outcomes ... tax code incentives
    Oh, no. Not more complications to the tax code to direct the economy from the Politburo in Washington!


Thank you for reaching out to this group of highly interested citizens. You may be unable, due to time pressure, to truly interact with us. Either way, I wish you the best.

--


See the Academy

I would rather see an entire species of non-human life go extinct than for one human being to die one second early.

Maybe we're just about to find out what happens when the honeybees disappear...

______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Not this garbage again. This happens every once in a while (observed and recorded happening in 1915 just to name one instance), the sky isn't falling, the world isn't ending.

___________________________________
The CIA has better politicians than it has spies - Fred Thompson

A random walk through my head at Indiscriminate Tastes

For instance, how many humans would die if honeybees, or chickens, went away?

My statement is one of value. Convert the question to like terms: human life versus human life, not human life versus that of some other species.

Uh oh, I feel a blog coming on ...

--


See the Academy

The Speaker wrote a dozen comments in response. What else would like him to do, go to your house? Get off the high horse already.

But thanks for the tip. It behooves me to take off my blinders and remember to reign in my arrogant condescension.

--


See the Academy

Wow, whoever thought we'd all be blogging with a former Speaker of the House and former U.S. Senator, both of whom may one day be presidential candidates? What a great opportunity for us and for them.

Mr. Speaker, I think you're right on the money with your vision for green conservatism. I left the Democratic Party and became a Republican in February after growing increasingly uncomfortable with the way my party was already abusing its governing power, and part of the reason I left was because of Hillary Clinton's outrageous statement that she would take oil company profits and put those profits into alternative energy.

Even then, while still a Democrat, I argued that it would be far better to provide tax incentives for businesses to invest in alternative energy than to punish those who currently do not with heavy taxes and then to redistribute their wealth to alternative energy. I said then and still believe that such a move would only hurt the American economy while enabling the fledgling alternative energy industry to avoid competing in a free market. If the alternative energy industry doesn't learn to compete in a free market and is completely subsidized by big government, then in the long run it won't succeed; but if government helps it take off and encourages it to compete in a free market, we can look for the alternative energy industry to thrive in the future.

I think it would be far better for conservatives to articulate the kind of green conservatism you're talking about rather than simply arguing against the "environmentalism" of the Left. Yes, it's true that the Left's "environmentalism" is really just a disguise for radical socialism, and we do need to point that out to people. But we also need to remind people that we care about the environment too, and that our party has led an authentic environmental movement in the past and is ready to do so again without hurting the American economy. Now as in 1994, we need to articulate our own ideas for America's future and not just argue against our opponents' ideas. And if we're successful and regain our governing power, we need to follow through with these ideas. If the American people give us a mandate like they did in 1994, we need to use it this time even more effectively than we did last time.

Regards,
Nate Nelson
Reality Mugged Me

Respectfully, it's a nonstarter for me. I too am baffled as
to what the motives are here.

If the goal is ".. more biodiversity with less pollution
and a safer planet." then you need to be talking to
CHINA and INDIA. We are on the verge of becoming a bit
player in any carbon or biodiversity or pollution drama.
This year CHINA surpasses the United States in carbon
missions.

All I can see from where I'm sitting is you dividing
Republicans into two halves, the "Stand pat" Republicans and
the new Green Republicans. Dividing the Republicans against
themselves does not sound like a winning strategy unless
you can recruit from Left.

Except that talking at China and India will make far less difference (and create far less opportunities) than using the ingenuity and expertise at our disposal to drive the next industrial evolution.

Business has been talking about the opportunities afforded by the growth of China and India for years - green technology might well be where all that potential pays off for us!

If you are looking for well thought out and challenging input to your ideas, you have come to the right place, as evidenced by some of the comments above.

I work in the environmental field as an enforcement officer, so I see first hand the impact that policies developed by bureaucrats in a windowless office have on businesses that have to operate in the real world. Therefore, I appreciate your stress on environmental policies that are based on market pricniples and provide incentives rather than promises of more fines and paperwork for businesses. That said, I have a few criticisms of your principles of green conservatism. I'll take them one by one.

1. Green conservatism favors clean air and clean water. So does Conservatism.

2. Green conservatism favors maximum biodiversity as a positive good. Disagree. All life is a competition for scarce resources. Where "biodiversity" comes into conflict with development for those resources, there are times when it should win out and times when it should not. This statement is too borad.

3. Green conservatism favors minimizing carbon loading in the atmosphere as a positive public value. Why? I and many other conservatives are skeptical of the global warming consensus that says man's activities are responsible for warming the planet. You seem to be buying into the argument advanced by the left with this statement. In so doing, you put your movement in conflict with your #4 below. Show us conservatives sound science proving that carbon is a direct cause for global warming, if that's happening, and then we can begin to talk.

4. Green conservatism is pro-science, pro-technology, and pro-innovation. So is Conservatism.

5. Green conservatism believes that green prosperity and green development are integral to the successful future of the human race. In the sense that we should be good stewards of God's Creation, I agree.

6. Green conservatism believes that economic growth and environmental health are compatible in both the developed and developing world. This does not go far enough. Conservatves, green or not, believe that environmental health flows from economic growth. Wealthier societies tend to be cleaner ones. Tackling environmental health issues in develpoing countries is as much about fostering opportunities for enconomic growth and prosperity as it is about addressing specific pollution problems.

7. Green conservatism believes that we can realize more positive environmental outcomes faster by shifting tax code incentives and shifting market behavior than is possible from litigation and regulation. How does government shift market behavior? With regulations? If so, then I would disagree with this as well. If there is a market for realizing positive environmental outcomes, it will develop in and of itself. If there isn't, no amount of government regulation can create one.

Mr. Speaker, Conservatism as it is is compatible with improving environmental health. Slapping the label "green" on it only works to justify liberal and leftist charges that conservatives want to pollute and poison people to death in pursuit of the almighty last dollar. Change the focus of your talk from developing a new, modified, Green conservatism to pointing out how Conservatism itself is already green.

-----------------------
Develop alternatives to existing policies and keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable. Milton Friedman

I recently attended a state College Republican conference where a notable member of the Republican party discussed potential '08 presidential candidates. During his speech, and when I spoke with him afterwards, he stated Newt Gingrich made a "huge mistake" by saying global warming was caused by humans to earn points among the moderates, but would kill him in the primaries. His reasoning was that Republicans must present a united front against all messages from the environmentalists, because the environmental movement came about through anti-capitalism motives, and that he would now be used for propaganda by the liberals hurting his ability to gain the support of the GOP.

While I would hope that being a Republican does not mean refusing to listen to information, the more I thought about this analysis, the more I had to recognize this was a serious problem. I study oceanography and feel there are many things occuring in our environment today that may or may not be explained by global warming through our actions directly or through natural phenomena. However, it seems reasonable to say that putting the amount of pollutants into the air that we do today would have an effect on the environment as well as human health. I don't think any of us would want to be breathing air captured from the smokestack of a factory for one minute or not recognize the haze produced over large cities and associated risks of asthma. We should be able to agree that lessening the detrimental effects we have on the environment as well as ourselves is something we should strive for, especially through incentives that would help industry do what needs to be done while prospering.

The statement raised by the speaker I mentioned earlier, however, should not be ignored. I hope you address the sentiment that the war of politics means never recognizing a good point made by the other side. The same logic could be used for every topic of any importance, and this attitude that there can be no compromise would only serve to harm our country, or at best, allow it to continue to stagnate.

blikki1

I'm sorry Newt... I like you, but you're off base here. When I heard that you had a 'debate' with John Kerry in which you endorsed his book on Global Warming and made the statement that it is a consensus that Global Warming is man-made, my jaw dropped. I agree that we should care for the environment. However, the main problem comes in junk science like in the Global Warming debate. Yes we should do what we can to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and I am in favor of coming up with ways to heat buildings and power cars and all of that without using gas. It would be good for the economy and for the environment. However, when you endorse the claims of the left that the earth is warming because of human activity in spite of overwhelming evidence that the earth is going through its normal warming and cooling cycles that have existed since the beginning of time... you are simply giving credibility to the left's argument when they decide to push for more government programs. There is no real scientific evidence that global warming is man made. I have no problem with people researching this further as long as the research is non-biased and there is no incentive for these people to comeup with an affirmative conclusion. The problem I have is the climatologists who stand to make a lot of money if they push this along as if it is a scientific fact by receiving grant money and research money and even jobs by the government. Ultimately the market will push for changes. I would like to see a strong statement by yourself in opposition to Kyoto and any government intervention here. Do we really need to completely kill the U.S. economy based on an unproven and unlikely theory? I would also like for you to bring up to the people on the left who have been upset about jobs leaving the U.S. and going to India and China how much worse it is going to get if the left has their way with regulations. If they have their way, the U.S. will handcuff businesses. What will happen to these businesses? They'll be moving to India and China where they don't have to deal with this stuff.

Dear Mr. Speaker,

After reading your post calling for "Green Conservatism," which I might point out is an oxymoron, I'm reminded of two quotes by William F. Buckley, Jr.

The first is, "I would like to take you seriously, but to do so would affront your intelligence."

And the second is, "I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said."

I simply disagree with your premise. And if I disagree does that mean I want polluted air and dirty water?

Here is my question for you, Mr. Speaker: How do I get enthused about something, that in my gut, I believe to be a hoax? Call me a "denier," part of "The “Stand Pat” Republicans," that "reflexively ignore or deny environmental challenges," or any other pejorative you'd like, but that doesn't make me any more enthusiastic about embracing the manufactured climate crisis called "Global Warming."

Not even if you change its name to "Green Conservatism."

I'm sorry I'm not more help, Mr. Speaker. I just don't find it too appealing abandoning my principles no matter what political gains may come as a result. Especially when I know I'm on the right side of the issue.

The goal isn't to out green the greenies. The goal is to have truth on your side and convince the rest of the people to see things your way.

isn't a pejorative if you seriously don't believe there's a problem. But you must accept that you hold a minority opinion, within both the scientific and lay communities.

Seems to me that any post by a former Speaker of the House and potential presidential candidate merits top attention for at least a little while.
Thanks.

"During my lifetime, all our problems have come from mainland Europe, and all the solutions from the English-speaking nations across the world." - Thatcher

is plausible but I do know that we need to consider his theme carefully.

I live in a rural county in Western Maryland. Strong Republican territory. But we are being killed locally in my county and across the river in Loudoun County, VA, by Dems on the issue of land use, development, and transportation.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

I'm across the state line in NoVa. Despite the fact that basically all stats (for clean air, clean water, etc) show that our environment is getting better and better, decade by decade -- most suburbanites I know are convinced the environment is going to hell and that the Repubs don't care.

It's not reasonable or rational, but it is a political reality.

Learn from and repeat the strategies that led to success.

Nothing in that list stakes out positions that leftist would have to disagree with. Take out the word "conservatives" and you have a document easily swallowed by a majority of environmentalists.

If the reason we need to "own" this issue is for votes, then we need to stake out positions that put the environmentally minded at odds with the Democrat party or vice versa.

So long as we take a "me too" approach, then the voters will say, "Why bother with the new guy, haven't the Democrats been on board all along?"

Instead of "Green conservatives favor clean air and water"--that no one can disagree with and that fails to distinguish the green conservative from the radical green--, why not something along the lines of "Green conservatives favor market-based, community-oriented solutions to ensure cleaner air and water?"

Mr. Speaker,

I appreciate enormously the effort you are making in this crucial arena. For far too long there has been a stigma that if you care about the environment, you must be a radical left-wing "treehugger." On the other hand, if you're a Republican, you obviously care nothing for the health of our planet. Ridiculous assumptions on both counts.

I've always cared greatly for our environment, and I've always been a Republican, too! After all, who DOESN'T want a clean environment? This issue has nothing to do with global warming or anything political, but rather with what should be a common sense goal of preserving our ecosystem, making sure we all have clean air to breathe, and insuring that future generations will get to enjoy the beauty of this planet. The true dispute here, as you have said, Mr. Speaker, is that Democrats and liberals believe government is the only means by which we can achieve the same ends. Like always, Republicans and Democrats may agree on the ends to be reached, but we do not agree on the means by which we can reach those ends.

You are right when you say we can fight for a clean environment through more market-based "conservative" methods, and let me again reiterate my appreciation at your attempts to frame this issue in a new way for those on the right. Bravo, Mr. Speaker.

is that no matter what position Conservatives take on the subject, anything short of a full embrace of Man Made Global Warming, and a caving to Kioto, will be reported by the MSM as anti-environment.

You rightfully point out that conservatives are "perceived" as opposing clean water and clean air. There is NO rational reason for that perception, except for the fact that the MSM has hammered the right with that image for years. Perception is Reality where the MSM is concerned.

Taking a "Algore Lite" approach will still get Conservatives pilloried in the MSM, and will simply antagonize skeptical Conservatives in the bargain.

Oh, and may I say, thank you for not only posting here at RS, but for taking an active participatory role in answering questions and concerns.

from Rush...

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
Starbucks: Coffee, good. Cups, bad, but
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

bought into the tenets of the Church of MMGW. Earth to Newt: Man is a peeksqueak. The Sun warms me.

Please

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
Starbucks: Coffee, good. Cups, bad, but
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

An honor to hear from you, let alone to be heard.

The weakness of your proposal is that it presumes our current environmental measures are inadequate. I'd argue we are already over-regulated - throwing money down a rathole for miniscule marginal gain.

Therefore, I see almost any move along these lines as surrender to government-happy Democrats. I think in general, Republican resistance has less to do with institutional distrust than with pure disbelief.

If we're going to spend more money on such things anyway, as an attempt to appeal to Independents, let's pick proposals with some hope of positive impact: more fundamental energy research, and less regulation.

What you are arguing for is exactly what the Speaker is proposing: an alternative to the liberal model of regulation-based conservationism. Go back and read his original post and following comments; he is in complete agreement with your points. What the Speaker is proposing is an complete shift from the Left's methodology of conservation, not a derivative of the current model.

www.draftnewt.org
www.newt.org
www.americansolutions.com

It is not possible for the government to do ANYTHING without legislation and buereaucracy. Call federal programs what you will, they remain federal programs. They cost taxpayer money and are inefficient by nature.

We accept that willingly for a good cause. Evidence that this is a good cause has not been presented.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
Starbucks: Coffee, good. Cups, bad, but
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

the only balanced budget this country has seen in half a century. I disagree intensely with what he is saying but he has done more for the cause than you or I.
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
Starbucks: Coffee, good. Cups, bad, but
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

Or just some guy yanking our chains?

I thought Conservatives were red, white and blue!

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

Thankyou, Moe For clearing up the Newt Gingrich mytery for me! And thanks for your time!

Erik Erikson also e-mailed with a confirmation ... RedState is amazing, yes?

Former favorite potential candidate of Gamecock, Newt, answer Bill Clinton's scare line below (Hint: Where will the Knicks play vs. Sharks teeth bank in Columbia, SC before Chevrolet) and reassure us of your intellectual honesty and sanity after the Rush take.

Partial Transcript for Rush (subscription required):

(First off, I know. I've been pummeled with e-mails from people who happened to see Newt Gingrich and John Kerry (who served in Vietnam), and their so-called debate on global warming yesterday. It was on C-SPAN. When I first heard that this was going to happen, I said, "Well, it's about time," and I hate saying this (you have to understand, I hate saying this), but something happens to Newt when he gets up there face-to-face with these libs. It's like make nice. It's like kiss up. It's almost like he gets star-struck in front of these people. Remember his joint press conference with Hillary on health care? He was on the program after that, and I told him I was a little incredulous at that. He said, "Well, forget partisanship. A good idea is a good idea."

I said, "Well, that's the problem. I'm not sure," but Kerry? He's a sitting duck! It's sitting duck time, and to sit there and agree with the notion that we're in a crisis because of humanity, is to just (sigh) ignore the central political theme of this whole issue. So, like you, I was sad. It was just very sad. That's about the best way I can characterize this. Now, one of the things during the entire effort of mine here to educate as many people as possible on the real truth of the political movement of global warming, has been to tell you that what this is all aimed at is you and your lifestyle and the entire American lifestyle, and by extension, the lifestyles of Western democracies in general, but the focus is on us. "We're the bad guys. It is our excessive consumerism. It is our attempt to drive bigger cars that is the problem," they say, and that becomes the target. We're supposed to roll back our lifestyles. We're supposed to have less expectations for the future, because our actions as human beings -- using our brains as God created to create longer life spans and a better standard and quality of life -- has become the focus and target.

From The Sun vs. Gore

As previously reported in Redstate comments and diaries (mysteriously lost on gamecock's blog), Mike Gamecock DeVine filed an intra-galactic defamation lawsuit on behalf of Milky Way star, The Sun against former vice-president and Peter Finch in the movie "Network" impersonator, Al Gore.

The Sun claims responsibility for all significant warming of Planet Earth.

Gore claims that Homo Sapiens are threatening the survival of Man and Planet Earth herself through Man's own planetary warming devices.

Cow flatulence advocates are considering intervening as a third party to the action.

However, in a surprise move, The Sun has listed a fellow parishioner of Gore's in the Church of Man-Made Global Warming (CMMGW) as a witness against Gore.

The witness is former President Bill Clinton who made the rounds of the cable and network news shows in the Winter of 2005-6 and repeated what he and his Church considers a CMMGW "scare" line that actually supports The Sun's claim of slander.

Bill Clinton warned that Manhattan Island could lose 50 feet in the next 50 years due to the warming activities of Man. Madison Square Garden is more than 50 feet from the East and Hudson Rivers.

The Sun's discovery findings show that half the Eastern Seaboard was under the Atlantic Ocean for thousands of years before the first Chevrolet exhausted its first fume into the Earth's atmosphere. The main piece of evidence is a bank of sharks' teeth in Columbia, South Carolina.

Columbia is over 150 miles from The Atlantic.

The Sun proposes to depose the former President under Oath in hopes of using the testimony to move for summary judgment on liability and a trial only on the amount of damages to the planet's reputation.

Negotiations have stalled on the meaning of the word "is" and where the Knicks will play.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
Starbucks coffee cups are dangerous, but
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
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Good stuff here. I admire Newt for forcing us to confront the issue. But I have a few serious concern. I have to vent here.

I grew up on the biggest fishing port in the U.S.A. My father is a commercial lobsterman, so is my brother. My other brother is a commercial scalloper. I was born and raised on some of the hardest docks and the toughest waterfront that exists.

Traditional conservatism is wholly compatible with environmentalism. Again, I agree with Newt in principle, but his post and all the ensuing posts have a tinge of wonkishness and elitsism that makes a guy like me reticent. And I'll guess that same is true for the coalminers of West Virginia, the loggers of Washington, the ranchers of Texas, etc...

I just want to make the point that a good "Green Conservative" can exist, but I hope, I wish, that any mission statement or distribution literature they disseminate states everything in Newt's post, but also recognizes private property rights and the rights of man to earn a living of the land. I hope Newt and the policywonks can work with a few coalminers, fishermen, farmers and loggers before they adopt offical positions.

I truly think this is a good idea, but I just don't think that any such think tank or movement should just be represented by environmentalists and politicians. To be really effective, they need to consult and reach out to people who work the land.

Please don't adopt the liberal ideal that nature is somehow mystical or even holy. I cant stand this deification of mother nature. We all want good and sound environmental policy and clean air and clean water. BUT ignore the working man (and his gas guzzling trucks) at your own peril. And like a good fisherman, I have to get back to drinking (or is that the lawyer in me).

There have been many legit Environment Vs. Jobs fights, but coal-mining in West Virginia is not one of them. The new type of mining they are doing - mountaintop removal - is killing the job market. There have been over 90% job losses in the coal industry due to the automation of labor in West Virginia. The more we return to more environmentally forms of coal-mining (deep mining), the more people we put back to work.

Republicans for Environmental Protection

I have never understood why we cede environmentalism to the other side.

To grossly over-generalize, two of the biggest conservative constituencies are evangelicals and voters from rural areas. Stewardship of the earth that God entrusted to us would seem like a natural value for evangelicals to embrace. Love of the land and a desire to preserve it would seem equally natural for rural voters, farmers, outdoorsmen, etc. Why is it that we are consistently less credible on this issue than latte-sipping Manhattan residents?

Your initiative is long overdue, and your approach is wise. I hope that having your bona fides behind this effort will force conservatives to stop and realize that care of the environment IS a conservative value.

"If all men were just, there would be no need of valor."
- Agesilaus

Because you never had enviromentalists steal food from your family. To watch your own father struggle to barely stay afloat because an endangered right whale drifted into fishing waters. Yuppie liberals and consevatives get to feel good. I don't eat.

Look, whales are rare and it is government's job, if it is anything at all, to keep us from doing selfish things when they run counter to the good of the nation. If a law prevents you from catching fish because whales are migrating through (which is what I think you're saying) -I say be a good sport and deal with it. I kind of want whales in our future, and would sooner protect them than have you have a few more fish on your dinner table. I get the feeling you're not starving to death despite this law. Your complaint sounds like some drunk hunter who wants to be able to shoot a deer that has wandered onto the lawn of a daycare center.

No. You are so wrong. This is commercial fishing. I never saw anything my family brought home. This is not rod and reel fishing or summer fishing. It was our sole means of money growing up. My brother does 16 day trips at sea in the middle of December in 30 degree temps. It's not - one less fish at the dinner table. My mother dies a little inside every time one of us goes out to sea. Your comment was really kind of insulting. I acquired over a 100 grand in student loans to become a lawyer because my family couldn't afford to give me a cent. Actually both my brothers are fishing right now. Post Noreaster - one wont be back home for 15 to 18 days. The other goes out for 2-3 day trips. They both have wives and kids. What you said EXCATLY represents the elitisms that I hate amongst liberal and sometimes conservatives.

But unfortunately, that is an inherent attribute of the free market economy we embrace. Capital and labor must be free to shift to areas and activities where they can operate at greatest competitive advantage. Factories close, industries become unviable, and some people fall on hard times. In the long run, we get greater economic efficiency and a higher standard of living for more people.

The free market is unable to self-regulate against negative impact from some externalities. Sometimes the government must step in to protect the public good, like protecting endangered species. Sometimes those acts make a particular business less profitable, and some people find themselves out of a job. It's hard for those people, and they may have to go find themselves a new career ... like being a lawyer.

Preventing the extinction of species is not just a cause for liberals or "elitists", it is settled public policy that has enjoyed broad public support for decades. It's a shame that your kin suffered economically. But that is by no means a persuasive argument against environmental protection.

By the way, I have a wife and kids, and I go for 3-6 month trips to Iraq. And I've got it easy; many of my Army brothers are on 15 month tours. They have wives and kids too. I've seen people so poor they begged for empty plastic water bottles so they could make shoes. Ever seen starving kids scavenging for food on top of a trash heap? I have. Things are tough all over. You think your brothers have got it bad, well I promise you someone else has it worse.

"If all men were just, there would be no need of valor."
- Agesilaus

It is irrelevant that someone else in the world has it worse. The relevant issue here is that the lives of individual Americans and for that matter all Americans (through a smaller and more expensive basket of goods) are damaged as the result of questionable regulations.

...a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right...

---Thomas Paine---

Much of environmentalism is elitist. I see it all too often. People working in their offices, living their suburban lives and finding some peace going on long drives in the country. Everything they know about nature they learned on the discovery channel. It's the same thing with the ANWAR. Rich east coast liberals get inspred watching the nature channel and feel entitled to tell people almost half way around the world that they are not allowed to use their land, work and make money. The same rich yuppies who go whale watching once a year and now fight to protect the right whale. The right whale is one species. Animals have been going extinct forever. Whose lamenting the demise of the dodo bird now. Nature runs it own course and it is arrogant to try and stop that course. I think people would feel differently if protecting the right whale cost them $15,000 a year. Also, the endangered species act is definately part of the environmental movement.

I never intended my story to evoke sympathy. I just want to make the point that knee-jerk environmentalism has consequences for the common man. I also wanted to make the point that it is not a zero sum game. You may win some suburbanites and some soccer moms, but you still run the risk of losing some demographics if you do not tread carefully.

NO, NO, and No again. The scarcity of whales is irrelevant. The role of government is not "..to keep us from doing selfish things when they run counter to the good of the nation." The role of government is to protect the natural right of life, liberty, and property (any other role is tyranny). Your statement that "I kind of want whales in our future, and would sooner protect them than have you have a few more fish on your dinner table" is the height of leftist hubris. You are saying that your desire to see "...whales in the future..." (which has little no relation to environmental regulations) is more important than the livelihoods of working Americans, and that your desire is more important than the economic health of this republic.

Additionally your statement "I kind of want whales in our future, and would sooner protect them than have you have a few more fish on your dinner table" is also contrary to your stated purpose of government "...to keep us from doing selfish things when they run counter to the good of the nation." You very clearly place your selfish and unearned desire to have "...whales in our future..." ahead of the livelihoods of productive aspects of our society and our economy as a whole, which most truly are in our national interest.

...a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right...

---Thomas Paine---

WARMS THE EARTH AND SUGGESTS THAT WE CURTAIL OUR STANDARD OF LIVING DUE TO SAME IS NOT SOMEONE TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.

Yes, we all ant to reduce pollution.

We have.

Oil is not evil.

Alchemy is not an alternative. Yes, we all dream. Liberal dreams have resulted in slaughter and mass poverty.

Oil is the fuel of freedom now and will be for the foreseeable future.

that the left has prevented us from drilling for oil wherever we can find it has been near treasonous. It has hurt our national security, funds terror states, and makes us poorer, and has since 1978.

Any candidtate speaking on the energy issue and doesn't FIRST call for drilling for oil, loses my ear in sentence two.

Yes, my temperature is 98.6. If I die and assume room temperature I cool the earth.

See sunspots.

Don't surrender to the pagan religion Newt.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
Starbucks: Coffee, good. Cups, bad, but
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jacks

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
Starbucks: Coffee, good. Cups, bad, but
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jacks

And while I'm more of a Mitt Romney backer, Fred Thompson's ridiculing of Global Warming by pointing out that every other planet in the solar system is heating up got him big points in my book.

Fred Thompson always ran as a moderate, but I'm listening.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
Starbucks: Coffee, good. Cups, bad, but
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jacks

Mr. Speaker, this has been a fascinating discussion. I don't believe there is a consensus on whether global warming is manmade, real, or imminent, and it is disheartening to hear you vindicate the views of John Kerry on the matter, but I don't want to repeat what has already been said.

If we are to limit carbon emissions without a mandatory cap, what are our options, other than lifting the bureaucratic barriers to nuclear energy? It worries me that you say incentives, presumably tax incentives. Does this mean that, for the purpose of attracting a few eco-loving moderates in Northern Virginia, the party is willing to scrap some of its core issues -- like simplifying the tax code so it's not a political tool for economic, social and ecological engineering? There is an actual consensus that the tax code is an imminent disaster. Maybe ignoring that reality to combat the more chimerical issue of global warming isn't so wise politically or pragmatically.

tonight!

No republican candidate that will not denounce the Church of MMGW and will not promise to push to expand the areas to drill for oil in American territory will not get our vote.

The first words out of a candidates mouth when asked about energy and the environment should be a call to end the since 1978 suicide of the greenies that we did for free that the USSR and UBL would have paid for us to do.

It is insane that we don't drill for our own oil. Oil is not evil.

Live it.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
Starbucks: Coffee, good. Cups, bad, but
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jacks

Nobody sees the point.

Mr. Gingrich, I have no doubt that you have a very market-savvy plan here.
But "environmentalism" has been so poisoned, rhetorically-speaking, in our conservative community that the movement you present will be a few election cycles away.
As always, you are an impressive visionary.

My point is, whether the commenter would stick to the statement, it it happened to be the honeybees which he needed to trade in for that second of human life.

Take this as you want, as it comes from a liberal...

I like bipartisanship, when its not self-serving. I don't mind at all when politicians agree on something important and are willing to compromise a little to get something done. And I've long thought that decent and sensible environmentalism is a cause where liberals and conservatives can agree, as hunters, farmers, woodsmen etc... - natural conservative constituencies have as much vested in environmental issues as my tree-hugging friends.

Now excuse me while I recover from my head exploding, after I find myself agreeing with almost everything written in an essay by one our major bogeyman. It's as though RedState found itself in total agreement with an essay by Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Speaker,
I am startled and pleased by your post. Some of the responses to your post are in the weeds about what it will do to GOP chances in the short run - I think they miss the point. You may pay the price in the short-run with people misunderstanding your view but no good idea is adopted by the public overnight. There are plenty of people allied against environmental conservation concerns simply because it is married in their mind to Al Gore or the Green Party... You are right to remind us that TR as president and Reagan as governor supported environmental policies... as did Nixon. This shouldn't be an issue that divides... any more than the view that we need to improve education... the right and left differ on methods (sometimes severely) - but the goals are largely shared.

Clearly federal mandate alone is ineffective when China or others are ready to out-compete us and mess up the environment anyway... and unchecked self-interest is also doomed (the "tragedy of the commons"). The most extreme of the liberals perhaps ignore market forces too much and depend too much on legislation - the most extreme of the conservatives trust the "invisible hand" of the market so blindly they think it will solve all their problems by itself and that government should simply disappear. We need people such as yourself and Gore to step out of the predictable and say what needs to be said. Your position (or any of the current GOP slate adopting your position) will never be enough for me to swallow the neo-con agenda... and I will never vote for the crass pandering politicians leading the GOP race currently (nor will I ever vote for Clinton for the same reason)... BUT, an innovative and genuinely green agenda could definitely cause me to seriously consider some Teddy Roosevelt character (or similarly well-balanced conservative in the traditional sense of the word) in the future.

There have been times in the past when the needs of the country have eclipsed the differences of the parties and we have come together for the common good - from the founding of the nation, to entering WWII, to civil rights. These are one of those times. For "Green" to work - it has to make sense economically to individuals and businesses and countries - and for that to happen we need leaders who can inspire new ways of thinking and support economic and business advances to smooth the way to a more sustainable global economy.

Mr. Speaker, I always figured you to be simply an extreme and capable partisan with the typical weaknesses found with most politicians and people with power. …well, we probably still disagree on most issues – but I, for one, welcome you bringing your passion and your smarts to the table on this topic.

A side note: A couple of people brought up nuclear power - I think that this is one area that we need a reawakening in. The greens of 20 and 30 years ago were right to be horrified by 3 Mile Island and Chernobyl and the risks of environmental devastation associated with nuclear power at that time... but the technology has come a long way and, in my opinion, supporting nuclear technology advancement and implementation is now one of the greenest things we could do as a society. The French plants are a wonderful model - and the simple act of conservatives openly supporting something French would surely cause liberals to think twice about the position. haha.

"That which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it" - Aristotle

One more thing... pretty key, actually: "American Solutions" should be just that. American. Not excluding the left... half the populace...

You lump all the left into the "Left Machine" and still show diversity on the right - between "Stand Pat" and "American Solutions" which you define as a conservative movement... well, that definition may suit your partisan instincts, but you will undermine the solutions themselves by trying too hard to exclude the left and somehow prove them wrong. There are many on the left who are also struggling to renew their party and are fed up with machine politics... and have a hopeful and vibrant view of America that has little to do with "tax and spend" and handouts just as it has little to do with "conservative" practices such as corporate welfare, forming corrupt alliances with lobbyists and industry, turning us into a theocracy, and borrowing ourselves into oblivion. If you simply are splitting the right - you will fail. You need the left - the real left. If you are splitting the new thinking from the old - of both parties... and are truly working on common ground with self-described liberals such as myself and many others - who see that machine politics is bankrupt - then you have a chance. You have a lot of work ahead of you. We all do.

we can realize more positive [...] outcomes faster by shifting tax code incentives and shifting market behavior than is possible from litigation and regulation.

This sentence is representative of some of the best thinking coming from the Right these days. I elided the original emphasis on environmental outcomes because the thinking applies just as well to healthcare, retirement security, and many other priority issues.

I think about free markets a great deal. All day long, every day, in fact. I think a great many people somehow miss what free markets actually are. They are in fact nothing more than an emergent property arising from freedom itself. Free-market behavior simply results from standard human nature, which is to adaptively seek to maximize benefits in any given situation.

To understand the drivers for free-market behavior, one needs look no farther than his own motivations. Greed and competitiveness are part of the picture (and each of these has both a positive and a negative Janus face), but far from the only motivators. There are also many that our friends on the Left would recognize as community-minded and altruistic. All of these are powerful determinants of behavior, and the source of the power that people like yourself have in mind when they discuss market-based approaches to large social problems.

The difficulty is that you can't use a hammer to drive in a screw. Not efficiently or effectively, at any rate. Mr. Speaker, your goal is to use the all-powerful free market (and it is all-powerful) to solve a problem that the free market doesn't necessarily want to solve.

You speak in general terms about improved environmental outcomes. Yet you don't make clear what these are, apart from the desire to emit less carbon into the atmosphere. Although this is an important sector of the discussion, let's keep things (over)simple and stick to atmospheric carbon.

It seems to me that the real problem you're trying to address is a political one, as evidenced both by your post and some of your responses. You're looking for a way to approach the issue of atmospheric carbon loading that will give Republicans an electoral edge. That's good free-market thinking as far as it goes, and you adduce market research establishing that people want to vote for people they think will "do something" about the inchoately-defined "problem" of atmospheric carbon.

But you've done nothing to activate real free-market mechanisms that will actually change people's behavior by way of reducing carbon loading in the atmosphere. Your task, Mr. Speaker, is to change people's hearts and minds on the issue.

Something similar has been done in Japan in the last several years, where there has been something of a national movement to increase the energy-efficiency of all phases of human life. This is based on positive language, has specific numeric national goals, and has achieved some impressive buy-in from the Japanese people. It has changed behavior and will continue to do so because it has changed the things that people actually want, and thus will benefit from the magic and ingenuity of the free-market.

In this light, it's instructive to observe how the Left has mishandled the atmospheric-carbon "problem" (if it is a problem): their term for the problem is "global warming," and they've cast it (typically, for them) as a evil that humanity perpetrates as a result of pursuing our own individual self-interest. This is disastrously bad marketing, ignoring several fundamental rules (among them: "never tell your customer he's wrong or stupid"), and entirely doomed to produce nothing more useful than Academy Awards for mendacious and hypocritical Presidential candidates.

In short, if you want to reduce atmospheric carbon loading, you need to find a way to make us want to do it.

This brings us to the second half of your sentence that I quoted above. You specifically use the term "shifting market behavior." Unfortunately this comes immediately after "shifting tax incentives." Now I'll grant that government is in the taxing business, so I'm not quibbling about your choice of hammers as opposed to screwdrivers. But I am flagging the underlying market mechanism you seek to activate: the simple desire to maximize profits. There's no magic to this. You can create any behavior you want by taxing it less or its alternatives more.

But you can't create a financial incentive to do something like load less carbon into the atmosphere, because it's a goal not defined in financial terms. The hammer-driving-a-screw approach here calls for identifying all of the human behaviors which have the side effect of emitting carbon, and financially dis-incentivizing them. This approach reminds me of the Dutch boy with his fingers in the dikes. You won't succeed with this, no matter how much better you execute the plan than the Left has done so far.

At the end of the day, if you want to change behavior, you have to give people positive reasons for doing so. But everything comes back to your real goals, Mr. Speaker. And as I said, I believe your real motivations are political, not environmental or economic.

As brutal as it sounds to say this, you could do worse than what the Bush Administration and Congress have done. They have created a large array of tax-based and other financial incentives to increase the production and usage of ethanol. As a result, the lion's share of smart-money investor dollars have shifted away from other alternatives, and away from research of any kind, and shifted toward industrial-scale ethanol production.

Is this what we wanted for the economy or the environment? The point is arguable, along a continuum from "no, not really" to "what on God's green Earth were they thinking?!"

But remember the goals. The underlying problem they sought to solve was a political one, not one shared by us ordinary people out here in the real world. We are being given incentives to support behavioral changes that have as their primary goal to enable politicians to say: See? We're doing something about a problem that polls say you care about!

So to close, Mr. Speaker, I'd urge you to look at your toolchest and consider whether you might want to try a screwdriver rather than a hammer. If you're still stuck in thinking about tax incentives and "shifting" market behavior, you're on the wrong track. In fact only your means and not your ends are different from those of the Left. They forthrightly believe that people will produce undesirable outcomes if left free to do as they will, and therefore it's freedom itself which the Left seek to curtail. You're looking to do almost the same thing, by predetermining a behavioral outcome which we ordinary people don't necessarily believe in, and seeking some kind of free-market jujitsu to make us do it ourselves.

If instead you convince us that we really want to reduce atmospheric carbon, then the free market will work its magic and solutions will emerge overnight. You won't need tax incentives.

Thanks for stopping by, Mr. Gingrich. You're always welcome at RedState.

Green Conservatism seems to be the brand of detergent that you can most effectively sell in the 'burbs. Well, maybe so. I find it to be short on specifics, dodging the issues of energy supply and energy security. You remind me of BP's "Beyond Petroleum" ad campaign, packaged to appeal to consumers, but failing to confront the reality that our economy is fossil-fuel based, and will be for the remainder of most of our lives.

As a little bit of background, I'm a petroleum engineer by training, and a manager at a small oil and gas exploration and production company located in South Louisiana.

All of my peer group considers themselves to be conservationists. Petroleum engineering is all about conservation of resources; nobody makes money by spilling or wasting natural resources. Beyond that, people in south Louisiana live, work and play in the environment; we see it vanishing year to year, hundreds of acres at a time. We have adopted operating strategies and technologies to conduct our business in the fragile wetland environment with a minimum of impact.

Oil and gas companies have proven their ability to operate in sensitive environments with minimal impact. Nobody can ever say it's risk free, but offshore we absorbed hurricanes Katrina and Rita back to back with little to no lasting environmental impact. There was catastrophic damage to a dozen rigs and dozens of platforms, hundreds of wells, but the amount of oil spilled was negligible.

It's time to open ANWR and expand the Outer Continental Shelf that is accessible for drilling. It's time to have a cooperative, not adversarial permitting environment for proven responsible operating companies. It's time to celebrate, not deride, profitable American compnies that can efficiently and creatively develop mineral resources.

Oil, gas and coal provide 90% of the nation's energy needs. Hydro and nuclear provide almost all the rest. That picture can't be changed overnight. Yes, we should be moving in the direction of alternative technologies. We need to also use what we have now in a more intelligent and efficient way.

One part of your plan that I like is the recognition that the free market, coupled with intelligently targeted tax incentives, is the ultimate answer. Greedy capitalists can move mountains. By way of example, the unconventional fuel tax credits of the '90's directly led to the development of brand new technologies (coal bed methane and gas from shales, to name two). By 2010, 40% of America's natural gas will come from these resources that were considered pipe dreams a generation ago. We should not direct resources at things that make no economic sense. That is the ultimate waste.

It must not be religion. Decisions and priorities must be objective and economic in nature - cost vs. benefit - not steeped in passion and emotion. I'm all for a sensible environmental policy which places a high premium on market incentives to achieve a cleaner, healthier world BUT it must be understood that there are some outcomes, however enshrined as absolute necessities by some, that are simply not achievable given the realities of the world. Such realities must be acknowledged and accepted. This is where the environmental cause generally loses me - it refuses to accept certain realities and demonizes those who do. Find me an environmentally knowledgeable leader who understands costs and the realities of them, one who isn't afraid to say that some objectives simply aren't tenable and I'd be more than happy to offer my support. Until such a person arrives count me as a stand-patter.

Mr. Speaker. And I've little doubt that given an agenda that emphasises Green Conservatism, we can make the Liberals look downright silly on a point-by-point basis. I got a kick out of the look on Kerry's face as he applauded your call for immediate action on AGW issues during your recent debate. You know he was thinking, "Okay.... what's this guy up to?"

My concerns are that so much of the Liberal Green movement is based on junk science. It would seem that any attempt at a Green Conservatism movement would of necessity have to either contradict the junk science fundamentally, in principle, or embrace it. If you are going to hijack a movement, you have to define both your principles and proposed practices, and those definitions are going to have to be sufficiently convincing to come to dominate the marketplace of ideas. Merely urging folks to change their incandescent bulbs for fluorescents that you bring home in your new hybrid won't be enough.

And while most people in this country are either not fully convinced of AGW, or are at least not really prepared to support a full AGW agenda, my experience with the conservative group that staunchly opposes the green movement is that they are on the whole better informed as to science involved (both actual and junk science) than the majority of those on the left. Ergo.... they are not going to be easy to convert absent something really new (at least politically.... like the re-legalization and support-of breeder reactors in this country), coupled with denuciation of the junk science part of what's out there.

How can we stop mountaintop removal coal-mining in Appalachia, and still meet our energy needs?

Republicans for Environmental Protection

I prefer the term Ecoconservative.

The New Deal birthed Fiscal Conservativism.
Known as Fiscons.

The Korean & Vietnam Wars birthed Defense Conservativism.
Known as Defcons.

Legalized Abortion and the liberal counter-culture birthed Social Conservativism.
Known as Theocons.

Global Warming is birthing Green Conservativism.
Which I think will be known as Ecocons.

So the GOP tripod of Ronald Reagan grows to 4 wings.

This means the GOP will grow ever larger.

Oh yeah, the tripod failed because, Fiscons were outnumbered by more fiscally liberal Defcons and Theocons. The tripod got dominated by fiscally liberal, defense-oriented, social conservative known by some as Neocons,(as a son of a Jewish father, I am not anti-semitic). The Neocon tripod is over. That was the conseratives' answer to Neocon policies. Now there will be a balance not seen since Barry Goldwater ran for President.

Expect Guiliani, Gingrich, and GOP candidates to run on this new Ecocon platform. Rudy's already playing the Ecocon card to balance out his disagreements with Theocons. Guiliani will do for Ecocons what Nixon did for Theocons in the 1970s. He will show Ecocons that their rightful home is in the GOP.

If you don't get the Ecocon wing because, you are primarily a Theocon. This is similar to how Goldwater didn't get the Theocons in the 1970s. By the 1980s, theocons became a dominant force in the GOP.

The question is that if Guiliani builds the 4th GOP wing. Then, Who is this new GOP's Ronald Reagan? We need to suppport the growth of the Ecocon wing. This could be the last part of the GOP super-majority in American politics.

"The Southern Strategy".

Just to clear that up.

Neocons appear to be the reencarnated version of the "Radical" Republicans of the 1850s-1920s.

So, there may be in fact 5 wings today.

Fiscons, Defcons, Theocons, Neocons, and Ecocons.

We could call this the 5 Pillars of Conservativism.
However, this sounds too Islamic.

I am building a modern home this spring and doing lots of research now in design phase. It will be passive solar design (maximize sun intake in winter, minimizing it in summer, keeping heat w/ thermal mass such as concrete floors and in summer using overhangs to avoid direct sun) since I have a south facing lot. I have researched a ton into "green" building. Buyer be ware. There are those who have no problem spending lots of money for the latest and greatest similar to "early adopters" in technology, but for most of us we need to see tangible paybacks.

The broadest market is always when new ideas deliver lower total cost of ownership or generate a sensible payback on investment.

I will be forgoing solar panels & geothermal and focusing on passive solar and more insulation as these make economic sense today. I am considering various building methods such as ICF and SIPs construction with SIPs being in the lead right now.

I would like to see more emphasis on "smart green" or "smart building" rather than green for green's sake. Most marketers today are slapping "green" on everything and will dilute its value and meaning. Really going after and promoting those ideas that make economic sense rather than emotional sense. The people acting w/ their hearts and emotions on the green topic are very very few (think Living w/ Ed Begley show) but if we can develop green building to make economic sense it will happen rapidly to a much broader market.

Many "green" recycled materials are much more expensive than traditional materials. It's either the scale isn't there yet in bringing manufacturing costs down or the early adopter green market will bear higher prices. I think it's more of the latter for now.

A slowing housing market is the perfect time for new ideas and innovation. Why? Because during the housing boom you aren't going to get a crusty old contractor to try something new while he is backlogged with plenty of work. Now that they are slower and have plenty of time for pondering new ideas while fishing, they will more apt to try something new and better to differentiate themselves from the competition. That is exactly what is happening now.

Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for you. Washington Elected Elite

Forgot, that my point in was to concur with those that think green can be conservative/Republican. It is popular thinking that green is liberal which doesn't have to be true. There is nothing wrong with saving resources if it makes economic sense and provides help w/ any national security.

I hope conservatives and Republicans adopt the "Smart Green" rational approach to improve on the green for green sake emotional approach of liberals.

Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for you. Washington Elected Elite

 
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