Gingrich Didn't Always Take Issue With John Kerry's Climate Change Rhetoric
Blog ››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL
CNN co-host and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is calling for Secretary of State John Kerry's resignation for comparing climate change to a "weapon of mass destruction." However, media coverage of Gingrich's call has largely left out that Gingrich once agreed with Kerry on climate change, even standing with him on stage touting Kerry's book, in which he called climate change the "single largest threat" to mankind.
On February 18, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Kerry discussed climate change as a national security threat, saying "in a sense, climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction." Gingrich responded in a misspelled tweet, calling for Kerry's resignation:
The Huffington Post claimed in an article on his tweets, that "Gingrich has repeatedly dismissed the dangers of man-made climate change." But that article, like similar ones in The Washington Post, The Hill, and conservative media, failed to mention that less than a decade ago, Gingrich was sitting with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on a couch, agreeing we should act on climate change.
To his credit, CNN host Wolf Blitzer did raise Gingrich's flip-flop when interviewing him about his call for Kerry to resign. Gingrich responded that he still thought it was "rational" to say "as a matter of prudence we should limit carbon-loading of the atmosphere" (before rattling off misleading climate denier talking points), but doubled down on his stance that Kerry's comparison merited a resignation.
But Gingrich didn't previously take such umbrage to acknowledging, as many military leaders do, that climate change is a national security threat. In 2007, he himself acknowledged that there are security issues in a "petroleum-dependent society," vouching instead for a "national energy strategy that is good for the environment [...] and good for national security," according to a Nexis transcript of his debate with Kerry. He also touted This Moment on Earth, a book Kerry co-authored with his wife, saying it was a "very good book" and he "would agree with about 60 percent of this book." He later added, "I'm going to sell a few more books for you, John." In that book, Kerry called climate change the "single largest threat to all species -- and all humankind," and stated that "[c]limate change poses a growing threat to our national and economic security." He also wrote that "[i]t is time to stop debating fiction writers, oil executives and flat-Earth politicians and address, in a very real way, this mortal threat to America [climate change]," paralleling his comments in Jakarta.