April 22, 2008

Green Gingrich

Carroll Andrew Morse

Two interesting quotes from a Newt Gingrich chat session yesterday with Slate Magazine on the subject of green conservatism, from his opening statement...

I want to start by saying that I believe we need an entrepreneurial, science and technology oriented approach to the environment, and that most Americans agree with that. If you go to www.americansolutions.com, and pull up the Platform of the American People, you will see that a majority of Democrats, independents, and Republicans all agree that entrepreneurs can do more than bureaucrats to solve environmental challenges.
I think the tragedy has been that conservatives have been unwilling to spend the time and energy to debate the left on which will produce the better outcome.

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

…and from his answer to the question "Didn't a cap-and-trade system work well in reducing sulfur dioxide emissions in the 1990s"...
That cap and trade system involved a very small number of players and a very specific product. A carbon cap and trade system would be massively more complex. It would lead to corruption, political favoritism, and would have a huge impact on the economy.

I think that tax credits for reducing carbon loading would work faster in a much more decentralized way by rewarding people for doing the right thing.