After His “Strong Support” Of Carbon Cap, Newt Gingrich Flops All Over The Place

Amidst the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Newt Gingrich is heaping praise on a new special interest-friendly political agenda – the Contract from America. In a recent op-ed, Gingrich endorsed the contract as “genuine voice of the American people,” and encouraged supporters to vote for their top ten solutions to bring “real economic, conservative and government reform.”

What Newt failed to mention is that one of the proposal’s 22 points is directly contradictory to his previous stance on cap-and-trade. The document states:

REJECT CAP & TRADE: Prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation’s global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures.

But in a 2007 interview with PBS, Newt clearly supported a cap-and-trade system for reducing carbon emissions:

Either Gingrich didn’t bother to read the “Contract from America” all the way to the end (it is a hefty 22-point document), or he has completely flip-flopped on his position in just a few years. The later appears to be true, based on comments by Newt over the past year. Media Matters put together a very telling chart on the Gingrich of 2007 vs. 2009:

GINGRICH THEN:If Bush Had Instituted A Cap-And-Trade Policy “We Would Be Much Better Off.” During a 2007 interview with PBS, Newt Gingrich said: “If [President Bush] had instituted a regime that combined three things I just said — mandatory caps, a trading system inside the caps, as we have with clean air, and a tax incentive to be able to invest in the new technology and to be able to produce the new technology — I think we would be much better off than we are in the current situation.” [PBS, 2/15/07]

GINGRICH NOW: Cap-And-Trade Is “Fundamentally Wrong.” During his testimony in front of the Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, former Speaker Newt Gingrich said: “Imposing stunningly high taxes on an economy in the middle of a recession is fundamentally wrong, and guarantees that our economic competitors in the global marking will be in a dramatically better economic position. They recognize that artificially capping their economy is the wrong approach for developing their societies.” [Gingrich Testimony, 4/24/09]

Why the sudden change of heart? It could have something to do with the $950,000 that coal and fossil fueled power companies contributed to Gingrich’s political advocacy group, American Solutions for Winning the Future, in the first half of last year. Among the top contributors were Peabody Energy – a St. Louis-based coal giant – and American Electric Power, the largest or second-largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. power industry.

So no matter how many economists and scientists come out in favor of a cap-and-trade scheme for limiting U.S. carbon emissions, you can count on Newt to keep on fighting for the interests of the country’s biggest polluters.

Rep. “Smokey Joe” Barton Still Shilling for Big Oil

You remember Joe Barton, don’t you? The shameless Texas Representative – and ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee – who apologized to BP for the government’s $20 billion “shakedown” after the Deepwater Horizons disaster? Well, good ole “Smokey Joe” is back to his old ways, shilling for Big Oil.

Politico has uncovered a secret meeting where Barton and other congressmen with atrocious environmental records promised favors to Big Oil and King Coal in exchange for campaign cash, assuring them of their ascension to top Energy positions in the House.

Yesterday, Barton, Reps. Fred Upton (Mich.), John Shimkus (Ill.), Mike Rogers (Mich.) and Greg Walden (Ore.) met with about 40 to 50 industry lobbyists during an event at the National Republican Club.

Though the event wasn’t billed as a fundraiser, according to one source in the room, the lawmakers tacitly linked donations to the Energy Committee’s agenda in 2011. From Politico:

“You should be giving us money because we’re going to be in charge,” the source said. “We’ll ensure there is no climate bill.”

Barton’s apology, laden with chutzpah, put him on America’s radar. It caused quite a stir among many of his fellow Republicans.

So, you’d think after a stunt like that, Smokey Joe might want to step back from the I-fight-for-profiteering-and-environment-marauding-industries limelight. But no. Barton and his colleagues are not only flouting discretion, but their hubris is starting to rival LeBron James and “The Decision.”

Huffington Post: Denying Climate Change and Receiving Big Oil Money Not Mutually Exclusive

The Huffington Post published a piece yesterday highlighting a not-so-shocking trend among climate-denying candidates for Congress. It notes that of all Republican candidates vying for the 37 open Senate seats this election, none support climate and energy legislation, with most outright questioning the sound and settled science of climate change, and that most have received considerable campaign contributions from dirty energy interests, such as Koch Industries and Murray Energy.

Many of these candidates are also members of LCV’s 2010 Dirty Dozen List. This includes Koch Industry favorite, Ron Johnson (WI-Sen), as well as Roy Blunt (MO-Sen) and Carly Fiorina (CA-Sen), both of whom count Murray Energy as top contributors. The piece also cites Pat Toomey (PA-Sen):

Pennsylvania Senate candidate Pat Toomey drew headlines when he said in a local radio interview on Friday, that the degree to which human activity is to blame for global warming is being “very much disputed” and “debated.”…Trolling, HuffPost found Toomey’s top contributors include oil and coal giants Koch Industries ($15,000) and Murray Energy ($16,655).

Speaking on behalf of Joe Sestak – Toomey’s competitor – campaign spokesman Jonathon Dworkin referred to Toomey as “another closed-minded ideologue bent on insisting that the ‘world is flat.'” We couldn’t agree more. Toomey is a card-carrying member of what LCV President Gene Karpinski likes to call the Flat Earth Society, as are many of the candidates The Huffington Post mentions.

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