Friday, December 30, 2011

Newt Gingrich on Keystone XL Pipeline, global warming

Newt Gingrich correctly identified global warming as one reason why environmentalists oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline, but did not say how he would address this concern in a speech to voters gathered at a December 28, 2011 town hall meeting Southbridge Mall in Mason City, Iowa.

Transcript of Gingrich’s remarks:
Take the XL Keystone Pipeline.
20,000 jobs immediately.
Billions of dollars of oil gone through Houston, which is the largest refinery complex in the world.
A generation of money coming into the U.S. from Canadian oil on the way to worldwide distribution.
The President postpones it, doesn’t want to make a decision.
Why? Because his environmental extremists are against building a pipeline for a very abstract reason. 
It’s not because they’re worried about pipelines.
We build pipelines all the time.
They don’t want Canadian oil on the market because of the indirect byproduct that they see in terms of global warming.
Therefore they are trying to keep Canadian oil in Canada. 
Now here’s the problem.
It’s one thing if you have an administration that can’t play chess. 
It’s another thing if you have an administration that can’t play checkers.
But if you have an administration that can’t play tic-tac-toe, you’re in deep trouble.
The Canadians are not trapped by Barack Obama.
The Canadians can take Chinese money to build the very same pipeline straight west across the Rockies, put it in Vancouver.
Not a penny will come to the United States.
Not a job will be created in the United States. 
The environmentalists will lose because the oil is going to be used by the Chinese.
And that’s what the President’s faced with.
And I don’t think he understands it.
So he goes to Brazil and he says to the Brazilians, “I really want to be your best customer.”
He praises the Brazilians for drilling offshore, which he stops us from doing.
He tells them how glad he is we can guarantee $2 billion in equipment for a George Soros invested company.
And then he praises them and says, “I’d like to be your best customer.”
This is exactly backward and every Iowa farmer knows this.
We do not want the President of the United States to be a purchasing agent for foreign countries.
We want the President of the United States to be salesman for American products. 
If we don’t sell American agricultural products worldwide, we will have depression in farm country. 
So we need a President who goes out and opens up markets for American agricultural products because we produce more than we use at home.

A complete video of Newt Gingrich's town hall meeting in Mason City, Iowa is available on C-Span.

Photo of Newt Gingrich by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, December 23, 2011

Michele Bachmann: Durban Climate Change Conference about redistribution of American money

Michele Bachmann fielded questions about UN Agenda 21 and global warming at a December 16, 2011 town hall meeting in Orange City, Iowa. The Minnesota Congresswoman and 2012 Republican presidential candidate took the opportunity to share her views on the Durban Climate Change Conference in South Africa. Bachmann also reiterated her plan to eliminate the EPA.

Here is a transcript of her remarks: 

Voter: I would like to know what your thoughts are on Agenda 21
Michele Bachmann: Yes, for those who don’t know Agenda 21 is essentially something that came out of the Rio Conference.
It’s about 20 years ago. 
Anyone know Al Gore?
Al Gore was there at the Rio Conference and the whole goal is really about global control.
It’s essentially a one world government view where there’s political body and the United States would have to subsume our sovereignty into a global body, but more than that, we would also have to give away our wealth.
So the wealth of the United States would be redistributed to other countries.
As a matter of a fact, that’s what the Durban Conference was about in South Africa this weekend, also about redistribution of American money.
And so I want you to know very clearly where I stand on this issue.
I oppose Agenda 21. 
I oppose putting the United States in an international political body where we lose United States sovereignty.
I don’t agree with that.
I don’t agree with a lot of the goals of the UN.
And I don’t agree with taking your money away from you and redistributing it across the world, because I believe in America and American sovereignty 
Voter: What do you believe about global warming? 
Michele Bachmann: What I believe is that we should not have a political agenda.
So much of the political agenda really in response to your question on Agenda 21 was this Durban Conference in South Africa this last weekend.
It was about global warming.
That was the basis of it.
But that is being used as a political pretext to have the United States tax us with a national energy tax, take that money into the federal government, use it to build a big federal government, but also use it to redistribute our wealth across the world.
I disagree with that. 
I absolutely disagree with that agenda.
And so I think that you’ve got to follow the science. 
What does science say?
If you look at the sources of carbon dioxide, you’ve got to look at the sources of carbon dioxide.
Is it human activity?
Is it bad what’s being produced?
And I think you’ve got to look at the science and let the science make the decision.
And that’s not what’s happening now.
Now it’s politics that’s driving this decision.
Voter: What would the EPA look like under your administration?
Michele Bachmann: Sure.
What would the EPA look like under my administration?
There wouldn’t be one.
The EPA would be gone, because we already have – there’s already 50 EPA’s in the United States.
There’s one here in Iowa.
It’s best if Iowans deal with clean air and clean water, and set your standards for your state, and let all 50 states…
Who in this room wants dirty water and wants dirty air?
Okay, I think that’s kind of the answer, isn’t it? 
Iowans are very common sense people.
I don’t want dirty air and I don’t want dirty water, but that’s not what the EPA is about.
They’re about killing jobs right now. 
And for farmers, they’ve been a disaster for farmers as well. 
I’ll not only shut down the EPA I’m going to shut down the Department of Education. 
And I have a few others in mind too that are going to go.
That’s not grandstanding. 
I mean it.
You can take that to the bank.

In the past, Bachmann has employed less tempered language when discussing climate science. On December 11, her campaign issued a statement describing global warming as an “unproven theory”.

C-Span has a full video of Michele Bachmann’s town hall meeting in Orange City, Iowa.

Photo of Michele Bachmann courtesy of via Wikipedia Commons

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Donald Trump’s new book calls global warming "psuedo-science"

In Donald Trump’s new book Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again, the real estate mogul turned reality TV star describes global warming as a “make-believe problem” and “pseudo science”. He’d know make believe when he sees it. Earlier this year, Trump played a pretend Republican presidential candidate in real life, going so far as to mount an exploratory trip to New Hampshire in his Trump-copter. 

Now, Trump wants us to believe that he may jump back into the race as a third-party candidate.  But he still sounds just like all the other GOP presidential candidates when it comes to energy and the environment. Ignoring the fact that domestic oil production reached a new high in 2010 and that gas prices were at their historic high of well over $4 a gallon under former President George W. Bush, Trump claims that, “In the first two years of the Obama administration, gas prices leapt a shocking 104 percent.” He then recycles all the usual Republican talking points about cap and trade.

Photo of Donald Trump by Michael Sandburg via Wikipedia Commons

At times, Trump sounds a bit more reasonable.

“I’m all for developing alternatives to oil, but that’s for the long term,” he writes, specifically naming geothermal, solar, windmills, and nuclear as examples of alternative fuels.

Of course, these comments are made in a chapter titled “Take the Oil”, which pretty much sums up where Trump thinks we need to focus our attention in the short term.

Should Trump actually decide to run for president under a third party banner, or as an Independent, Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again will certainly provide fodder to anyone who wants to point out the obvious, which is that Trump is really no different than whoever the Republican nominee turns out to be when it comes to energy and environmental policy. For now, his book remains on Amazon’s top 10 Hot New Releases in Politics & Social Science list purely for its entertainment value, or so we  hope.

Rick Perry talks Keystone XL, fracking in Decorah, Iowa

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry faced tough questions and even direct criticism from voters attending a December 18, 2011 town hall meeting in Decorah, Iowa, after he claimed that there is no proof tying groundwater pollution to hydraulic fracking.

The Texas Governor dedicated around ten minutes of the nearly hour-long event to energy issues, arguably his topic of choice on the campaign trail.

Perry began with his usual attack on the EPA, and called for the job of environmental regulation to be transferred to the states:
Rick Perry: I didn’t get around to tellin’ ya about the John Deer and the new engine that they're – the federal government has new emissions standards on this new engine that John Deer is building and its on the nitrogen oxide level. 
And I will tell you that I understand about environmental protections and I’m going to tell you just a quick story about Texas in a second and how EPA’s come in and tried to take over what we’re doing in our state and we’ve cleaned up our air more than any other state in the nation.
But the cost to that tractor is going to be $20,000 a copy.
You’re going to have to pay that and I would suggest to you that the air – I mean the difference in the quality of the air that that tractor is going to make is going to be miniscule at best. 
And the people of Iowa know better how to keep their air clean and to make sure their water is clear and drinkable than some bureaucrat in Washington, D.C.
And so these regulations, whether they’re bank regulations or they’re environmental regulations, they are strangling this country. 
I’ll pull every regulation that has gone forward since ’08 and test it for this simple fact: Does it kill jobs or does it create jobs?
And if it kills jobs, we’re going to get rid of them. 
We have the ability in our states to protect our environment.
And, as I shared with you, we cleaned up our air more than any other state in the nation.
Nitrogen oxide levels were down by 58% in the decade that we just finished. 
It’s our people. It’s our air. 
Why would we spoil that with the sensibilities in the state.

Next, Perry fielded two softball questions about the Keystone XL oil pipeline:
Voter: Yeah, on the oil pipeline from Canada tar sands down to Texas for exporting gas and oil versus exporting through British Columbia, Seattle.
What’s your pros and cons of that pipeline proposal?
Rick Perry: I’ve had some pretty lengthy conversations with both the Canadians and the governors that represent the states where that pipeline will go. 
Not all of them, but some pretty lengthy conversations.
I have been a proponent of that pipeline.
Energy independence should be a goal for this country.
That’s the reason when I talked about I’m an all of the above energy person.
I don’t think we should shut out any type of legitimate energy source.
I’m not for giving those tax credits, but I am for developing them and removing the regulatory hurdles. 
And what we’ve got today – that oil is going to go one of two directions. 
It’s either going to go West and the Chinese will buy it or it will go south for the United States consumption.
Every barrel of oil that goes south is one barrel of oil that we will not have to import from foreign countries, and in some cases foreign countries that are hostile to this country.
I mean, I look forward to the day when we can tell Mr. Hugo Chavez, “No thank you, we don’t need any Venezuelan oil.”
But that pipeline creates a lot of jobs, and I’m talking about in the development of the pipeline.
I’m talking about in the building of the pipeline.
I don’t agree that the President should veto this bill.
He should let this pipeline occur.
And I know he’s being pressured by those on the radical environmental side of the aisle that want him to not build this pipeline.
This pipeline has been studied for at least three years.
The information that I have on it, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m an absolute expert, but the information is that it is one of the safest pipelines if not the safest pipeline that’s ever been built.
And there are already pipelines that go across the Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska, which the bone of contention that they’re making.
So this pipeline needs to be built. We need to be looking for every source of energy.
I want to wrap up, one more thing about energy and then I’m coming to you sir.
The federal lands and waters that we have hands off right now for exploration should be opened up.
Only 8% of the proven reserves on our federal lands – and I understand there are places in our federal parks where we’re not going to be exploring. 
I mean, we’re not going to be going into the Everglades.
We’re not going into Yellowstone.
But we’ve got millions of acres of federal lands with proven reserves on them that need to be opened up so that we can safely produce those resources. 
And I would use a substantial amount if not all of that revenue coming into the federal government to help pay down the debt.
Voter: What do you expect to see happen to our local gas and also national gas prices on gasoline if that pipeline goes through?
Rick Perry: I don’t think you’ll see a big change, would be my instinct, until the infrastructure built.
Here’s what I think occurs when that pipeline is built, because then there’s confidence.
People will feel substantially more secure that this supply of oil in this case is going to have – is going to be coming.
We have found sources of energy that we had no idea that we have ten years ago.
I’m sure all of us have heard the stories a decade ago that we have found all of the petroleum products that there are.
They’ve all been found.
You know, we may be able to improve some secondary tertiary recovery to get it all out, but we’ve found it all.
And then we find these huge natural gas deposits that people didn’t know were there.
Frankly, we don’t know what’s under Iowa. 
The technology hadn’t been developed yet maybe.
That Iowa may be sitting on top of huge reserves of natural gas or oil that people haven’t found yet.
So my point is that the way to drive those prices down – and for American citizens that are on fixed income, I think one of the most important thinks that we could do as a country is to expand our energy exploration and our energy industry, whether it’s corn based with ethanol, or whether it’s gas, or with solar or wind.
Because once you get that huge amount of energy, you can drive down the cost of that energy.
Gasoline, electricity, the manufacturing costs, the costs of living can go down in this country if we will apply our energy resources that we have.
We’ve got 300 years worth of energy in this country.

Perry fell out of stride when confronted with a question about the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracking:
Voter: In reference to the natural gas, you talked about how there’s a huge natural gas deposit, it’s been proven that that technology to extract that energy has polluted groundwater.
Rick Perry: No ma’am.
Voter: Yes sir, it has.
Rick Perry: No ma’am.
We can have this conversation, but you cannot show me one place where there is a proven, not one, where there is a proven pollution of groundwater by hydraulic fracking.
Voices of other voters in the room: That’s false! That’s just false sir.
Rick Perry: Bring me the paper.
Show me the paper.
I’m just telling you – this whole – I am truly offended that the American public would be hoodwinked by stories that do not scientifically hold up.
If that was true it would be on the front page of every newspaper.
It would be on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News.
Everybody would be running that story.
We have be using hydraulic fracturing in my home state for years, and this is a fear tactic that the left is using and the environmental community is using to absolutely, excuse the pun, but does not hold water.
Voters again: That’s not true.
Rick Perry: Bring me the evidence.
And once you do that, you show it to me and I’ll be the first to say, “You’ve got a point.”

It didn’t take long for someone to step up to the plate and respond to Perry’s challenge. Within 24 hours, CBS News had posted a story covering the exchange, complete with link to a December 8, 2011 story bearing the headline “EPA suspects fracking linked to pollution”. That story covered an EPA study that, while still in draft form, links fracking to groundwater pollution.

C-Span has complete video of Rick Perry's town hall meeting in Decorah, Iowa.

Photo of Rick Perry by Ed Schipul via Wikipedia Commons

Barack Obama on EPA’s new mercury and air toxics standards - video

U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized the first-ever national standards to reduce mercury and other toxic air emissions – including arsenic, acid gas, and cyanide – from power plants on December 21, 2011:
Hello everybody, 
Back in 1990, the first President Bush signed history legislation requiring our nation’s biggest polluters to limit the amount of mercury and other toxic gases that they were sending into the air.
It was a bold and necessary step to strengthen public health and protect the environment that we’ll leave to our kids.
But over the years, the law was never fully implemented.
Special interest groups kept delaying the process and remarkably, for over two decades emissions standards for our power plants, which are the dominant source of toxic pollution, were never put in place.
That was wrong. Today, my administration is saying, “Enough.”
We’re announcing common sense, new cost effective standards to dramatically reduce harmful air pollution.
Because we’re acting, emissions of mercury and other pollutants, which cause a range of health problems, including neurological damage in children, will decrease significantly.
In fact, we estimate we’ll prevent thousands of premature deaths, heart attacks, and thousands of cases of asthma in children each year by 2016.
So this is a good day.
It’s a good day in the fight for cleaner air.
It’s a good day in the fight for healthier communities.
And it’s a good day in the fight to protect our environment for the generations of Americans still to come.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Newt Gingrich talks ethanol in Hiawatha, Iowa - Video

Newt Gingrich fielded questions on ethanol policy at a town hall meeting with voters at Level 10 Apparel's warehouse in Hiawatha, Iowa on December 19, 2011. Here's what the 2012 Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker had to say: 
Newt Gingrich: If the subsidy expires, it will not have a dramatic impact, as long as we keep the renewable fuel standard and as long as we’re moving towards flex fuels cars and flex fuel stations, which are the keys we need.
Because the truth is when you get to a certain price in oil, the production of ethanol and the production of corn have improved so much in the last 25 years that we are actually very competitive with oil, as long as – it has to be carried.
I mean the problem we have – this is what some our friends don’t understand about the development of biofuels.
Big oil would like to have nothing to do with it because Big Oil would like to sell nothing but oil. Okay?
I am for every America source of energy, because I think it is a national security issue, and if you watched last week when the Iranians were practicing closing the Straights of Hormuth, and you say to yourself, “How big would the industrial depression be if the Persian Gulf was cut off?”
We should be pretty deeply committed to getting to American sufficiency in energy and ethanol’s a part of that.
Voter: To that point, what happens under a Gingrich administration when oil’s back down to $40 a barrel? Then what happens?
Newt Gingrich: Well first of all, I think it’s not likely to have oil back down to $40 a barrel.
And second, as long as we have a renewable fuel standard it won’t matter, because you’ll have E 10 or E 15 ethanol.
I favor strongly going to E 15. There’s no technical reason the cars can’t use E 15 and that makes a big difference.
But in the long run we ought to do what the Brazilians have done. The Brazilians are going to a flex fuel car where every single car in Brazil can use any form of fuel you want and the result is that the Brazilians don’t rely on the Middle East for anything. Zero.
Okay, that ought to be our strategic goal. 
Video of Newt Gingrich's ethanol remarks in Hiawatha, Iowa:

Newt Gingrich on coal reserves in Alaska

Watch out Alaska! Here comes Newt Gingrich with plan to increase federal government revenue by turning an area of your state the size of Texas into a giant coal mine.
What follows are remarks made by the former House Speaker to The Des Moines Register Editorial Board during a December 15, 2011 interview:
I’m for more revenue by opening up federal lands.
You know, we own 69% of Alaska.
That’s 1 ½ times the size of Texas. 
You can give half of Texas to the environmentalists and that would leave you an area the size of Texas to develop. 
Largest coal reserve in the United States is in Alaska.
There are lots of things we can do to generate revenue. They just don’t involve raising taxes. 

Video of Newt Gingrich's meeting with The Des Moines Register Editorial Board, with segment on Alaskan coal starting at 35:25: 

Poll: 90% in New Hampshire believe climate change is happening now

A majority of Americans believe that climate change is happening now, caused mainly by human activities, including 55 percent of New Hampshire residents and 52 percent nationwide. The findings come from a new Issue Brief - Do You Believe the Climate Is Changing? Answers From New Survey Research - published by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire on December 6, 2011.

Those majorities correspond roughly with the 54 percent of New Hampshire voters and 53 percent of voters nationwide who elected Barack Obama as President in 2008. Obama campaigned on implementing “an economy-wide cap and trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.”

A substantial minority – 35 percent in New Hampshire and 39 percent nationally - believe that climate change is happening, but caused mainly by natural forces. A tiny minority – 3 percent in New Hampshire and 7 percent nationally – believe climate change is not happening now.

Survey data collected in August 2011 by the UNH Survey Center as part of the Granite State Poll shows disagreement over climate change falls largely along party lines in New Hampshire:

Climate change is happening now and caused mainly by humans:
  • 82 percent of Democrats
  • 43 percent of Independents
  • 31 percent Republicans

Climate change is happening now and caused mainly by natural forces:
  • 12 percent of Democrats
  • 44 percent of Independents
  • 55 percent of Republicans

Climate change is not happening now:
  • 1 percent of Democrats
  • 4 percent of Independents
  • 5 percent of Republicans

Researcher Larry Hamilton, a professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire and senior fellow at the Carsey Institutes writes that Granite Staters' widely held belief (90%) that climate change is happening now “might reflect awareness of the tangible evidence for climate change in that state. This evidence includes such things as increasingly frequent mild winters, earlier ice-out dates on the big lakes, and seasonal shifts causing trouble for maple syrup production.”

While a number of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates dispute the idea that climate change is caused by human activity, at least one of those skeptics may be open to  climate preparedness or adaptation strategies.

"It may be that it is dramatically less expensive to adjust to a change in climate than it is to stop the entire planet from changing," Newt Gingrich told voters gathered at a Granite State PAC house party in Manchester, NH back in May.

Read the full study: 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mitt Romney: Newt Gingrich “zany” on climate change, cap and trade

Mitt Romney again criticized Newt Gingrich’s record on climate change and cap and trade during a December 18, 2011 interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace:
The same was true with regards to cap and trade. This was being battled on Capitol Hill and the speaker sat down with Nancy Pelosi and spoke in favor of legislation dealing with climate change. He has been unreliable in those settings and zany, I wouldn't think you'd call mirrors in space to light highways at night particularly practical or a lunar colony a practical idea. Not at a stage like this. 

Romney made similar comments at a December 17, 2011 town hall meeting with voters in Myrtle Beach, SC. The former Massachusetts Governor also described his own lukewarm belief in anthropogenic global warming at the event.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mitt Romney talks global warming in Myrtle Beach, SC

Mitt Romney reiterated his lukewarm belief in anthropogenic global warming at a December 17, 2011 town hall meeting at the Horry-Georgetown Technical College Grand Stand Campus in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

“I am not a scientist. I have not built a model of how the environment, the earth works,” Romney said, according to ABC News. “I think the Earth is getting warmer. I may be wrong. Number two, I think we contribute to that. Number three, I don’t know how much we contribute to that.”

The former Massachusetts Governor also chided fellow 2012 Republican presidential candidate and one time House Speaker Newt Gingrich for appearing alongside Nancy Pelosi in a 2008 television ad sponsored by Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection. 

Photo by Gage Skidmore [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (],
via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Iowa City: Newt Gingrich Mic Checked for Climate Change Denial - Video

Newt Gingrich got a minutes long mic check from Occupy Wall Street protestors shortly after taking the podium to deliver a speech at the University of Iowa on December 14, 2011.

Among the long list of grievances Occupiers read aloud to the former House Speaker and Republican presidential candidate: 

"For your denial of climate change."

Video: Mic check segment begins at 2:00

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rick Perry on green energy subsidies

Rick Perry fielded a question about energy subsidies during the December 15, 2011 Fox News Republican presidential debate in Souix City, Iowa. 
Neil Cavuto, Fox News: Governor Perry, you have railed against the special treatment afforded Solyndra, as have the other candidates here tonight, and particularly the tax code incentives for green technology and allowances that have been made for this industry.
But as Texas Governor, you have afforded the same attention to the oil industry. Back in 2003, you signed a bill that reduced the tax payed by some natural gas companies that had helped them reap since better than $7 billion in tax savings.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is, “Are you guilty of the same behavior as Governor favoring an industry that you claim this President has favoring the green industry?”
Rick Perry: Today’s the 220th anniversary of the signing of the Bill of Rights and one of those, the 10th Amendment, I like a lot.
And the reason is because that’s how our founding fathers saw this country set up, where we had these laboratories of innovation.
It should be in the purview and the decision making process of a state. If they want to put tax policies in place that helps make them be more competitive.
We did it not only for the oil and gas industry, but we also did it for the alternative energy industry and the wind industry.
They came in droves, made Texas the #1 wind energy producing state in the nation.
But government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers from Washington, D.C.
That’s the difference.
If in the states, I’ll promise you Terry Brandstead in this state he knows how to put tax policy, regulatory policy in place to make his state more competitive. 
And you need 50 states out there competing with each other and Washington out of their hair. 

2011 Fox News Iowa Republican Presidential Debate: Keystone XL

The Keystone XL pipeline was a topic of the December 15, 2011 Fox News Republican presidential debate in Souix City, Iowa. Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann all weighed in on the issue, which has become a symbol for both sides in the ongoing debate over the future of the nation's policies on energy, the environment, and climate change.

Video and transcript of Newt Gingrich's remarks on Keystone XL:

Neil Cavuto, Fox News: Candidates, I want move on if we can to energy issues. And Speaker Gingrich, I’d like to begin with you. As you know, the President has rejected any efforts to tie a payroll tax cut extension with the Keystone pipeline and to reopen it, and to explore reopening it as well. He says any other way to connect it to would be akin to adding an extraneous issue. Given his opposition, and the likelihood that the Keystone issue could be up in the air for a year or more, how do you recommend Republicans deal with this to force the issue?

Newt Gingrich: You know Neil, I sometimes get accused of using language that’s too strong, so I’ve been standing here editing.
I’m very concerned about not appearing to be zany.
But I want to paint a picture for all of us.
The Iranians are practicing closing the Straits of Hormuz.
The Canadian Prime Minister has already said to the American president, “If you don’t want to create this pipeline to create 20,000 American jobs and bring oil through the United States to the largest refinery complex in the world, Houston, I’m going to put it straight west in Canada to Vancouver and ship the oil direct to China, so you’ll lose the jobs. You’ll lose the throughput. You’ll lose 30 or 40 years of work in Houston.”
And the President of the United States cannot figure out that it is – I’m using mild words hear – utterly irrational to say, “I’m now going to veto a middle class tax cut to protect left wing environmental extremists in San Francisco, so that we’re going to kill American jobs, weaken American energy, make us more vulnerable to the Iranians, and do so in a way that makes no sense to any normal, rational American.”
Neil Cavuto, Fox News: No offense sir, but you didn’t answer my question. What would you do to try to move on this within a year.
Newt Gingrich: What should the Congressional Republicans do?
They should attach it to the middle class tax cut and send it to the President.
Force him to veto it.
Send it to him a second time.
We had to send welfare reform to Bill Clinton three times.
He vetoed it twice.
By the third time, the popular outrage was so angry - 92 percent of the country wanted to have welfare reform - he decided to sign it.
It happened to be an election year.
I said to the President, you want to be totally out of touch with the American people, be my guest, but I’m not backing down when we’re right and you are totally wrong.

Transcript of Jon Huntsman's comments on the Keystone XL oil pipeline:
Neil Cavuto: Governor, on this same issue, if you don’t mind, the delay as you’ve pointed out stands to threaten thousands of jobs. In a recent speech, you said up to 100,000 jobs.

But the President’s supporters say a rush decision could cost the environment a great deal more.

What I’d like to ask you Governor, is there any condition under which a President Huntsman would say the need to protect our land trumps the need to provide more jobs.

Jon Huntsman: It’s always going to be a balancing act.

We’ve got land that everybody respects and appreciates, but the job we’ve got to undertake as American people is to fuel our future.

We have no choice. I mean, our economy has hit the wall.

I want to get rid of that heroin like addiction we have based on imported oil.

$300 billion transfers every year from this country to a lot of unpredictable relationships that are no more than transactional.

In order to get where this country needs to be, we need a relationship with Canada, from which we can draw materials, but I also want to make sure that I’m able as President to disrupt the oil monopoly.

There’s a one product monopoly in terms of product distribution in this country.

If we’re going to achieve real energy independence, we’re going to have to be able to draw from a multiplicity of products like natural gas.

We wake up to the reality, Neil, in this country that we have more natural gas than Saudi Arabia has oil.

I say, “How stupid are we?”

 When are we going to get with the picture and start converting to transportation, converting to manufacturing, converting to electricity and power generation?

It is completely within our grasp. It’s going to require a President who understands that delicate balance and who is going to be able to go out with an aggressive plan towards energy independence that gets it done for this country.

Transcript of Michele Bachmann discussing Keystone XL: 
Neil Cavuto: Congresswoman Bachmann, you were very critical of the extended shutdown after the BP oil spill that I believe last upwards of five, six months in terms of a moratorium.

I was wondering though, Congresswoman, if you were President, and there were such a disaster again, what would be an acceptable period for oil drilling to cease for you to get to the bottom of a problem?

Michele Bachmann: Well, what we needed to do was find out what the true cause of the problem was, and the Obama administration wasn’t willing to have a true and thoughtful investigation to get to the bottom of it.

President Obama jumped to conclusions and he put a moratorium on accessing American oil in the Gulf region that actually hurt the economy more than the original disaster.

But I wanted to add something on Keystone.

Keystone is extremely important, the pipeline.

This pipeline is one that would have brought at least 20,000 jobs, at least $6.5 billion worth of economic activity.

And if I was President of the United States, I wouldn’t have taken the decision that President Obama did. His entire calculus was based on his reelection effort, because quite frankly the radical environmentalists said to President Obama, “You pass Keystone, we’re not going to do your volunteer door to door work.

That’s what Barack Obama has done to this country. He’s put his reelection over adding jobs and making the United States energy independent.

I would have made the decision as President of the United States, we would’ve put Keystone online immediately. has scrutinized the oft repeated claim that Keystone XL could create as many as 20,000 jobs and dubbed that jobs figure "inflated", making the claim the proposed oil pipeline might create up to 100,000 jobs grossly inflated.  They also found Jon Huntsman's claim that the United States had more natural gas than Saudi Arabia has oil to be inaccurate.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mitt Romney's "Newt and Nancy" ad

Mitt Romney's presidential campaign released a new YouTube video attacking Newt Gingrich today dubbed "Newt and Nancy" along with an accompanying website - - stating:

When Al Gore needed support for his liberal global warming agenda, he turned to Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich to film an advertisement together. Filming an ad with Nancy Pelosi is another example of Newt Gingrich being an unreliable conservative and an unreliable leader.

Ron Paul: Global warming flip-flop

Ron Paul remained silent on the issue of climate science throughout the early stages of the 2012 election, but on November 30, 2011 his presidential campaign denied the scientific consensus on man-made global warming in a statement announcing the release of a new online ad targeting Newt Gingrich:
Much of the ad is in the former Speaker’s own voice, and after a few statements by Newt it follows with an image of him sitting on a loveseat beside former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the two chuckling over their agreement concerning as-yet scientifically proven anthropogenic global warming. 

Gingrich has come under frequent fire from climate change deniers for his obvious flip-flop on global warming. Now it appears as though Ron Paul himself flip-flopped on the issue. The Texas Congressman’s own fan site provides his quotes on the subject from three separate interviews, one from 2008 and two from 2009.

In 2008, Ron Paul had this to say about global warming:
It is clear that the earth experiences natural cycles in temperature. However, science shows that human activity probably does play a role in stimulating the current fluctuations.
By 2009, Paul was singing a different tune:
The greatest hoax I think that has been around for many, many years if not hundreds of years has been this hoax on [...] global warming.”
It might turn out to be one of the biggest hoaxes of all history, this whole global warming terrorism that they’ve been using, but we’ll have to just wait and see, but it cannot be helpful.
Naturally, chalks this radical change in position up to "additional consideration and analysis" on the part of their candidate.

Still, the language employed by his campaign in November suggests that Paul is at least open to the idea that anthropogenic global warming can be proven.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Michele Bachmann: Global warming “unproven theory”

Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign has issued a statement describing man-made global warming as an “unproven theory”:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney have both endorsed the unproven theory of man-made global warming and supported big government policies like cap-and-trade as a result.
The Minnesota Congresswoman raised the issue during last night’s ABC News Yahoo Iowa Republican Debate.

“If you look at Newt/Romney, they were for cap and trade,” Bachmann claimed, according to a transcript posted by the Chicago Sun-Times

Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker, responded with his usual retort. 

“I have never-- I have-- I oppose cap and trade, I testified against it, the same day that Al Gore testified for it. I helped defeat it in the Senate through American solutions. It is simply untrue,” he said. disagrees. They found:
It’s true that Gingrich has never favored the approach taken by Democrats, but he said in 2007 that he would “strongly support” cap-and-trade if combined with “a tax-incentive program for investing in the solutions.”
Furthermore, Gingrich said in House testimony in 2009 that he still might support a cap-and-trade system covering “the 2,000 most polluting places,” if packaged with incentives for nuclear power and “green coal,” among other things.
Judging by the latest poll numbers, GOP primary voters are not all that concerned about Gingrich’s past support for bipartisan solutions to global warming. The latest nationwide Gallup poll shows him in first place with 35 percent. Consistent climate change deniers Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann trail far behind, tied at 6 percent.

Video of Bachmann's "Newt/Romney rant" courtesy of ABC News:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Barack Obama and Bill Clinton talk energy efficiency, green jobs

President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton got together to talk about energy efficiency and the Better Buildings Initiative on December 2, 2011:
Bill Clinton:  Well, I never got to open for The Rolling Stones, so I’ll try to do my best for the President.
Thank you all for being here, and I want to thank all the people involved in the tour that we just received for their commitment to energy efficiency and all the people they put to work.
Mr. President, I want to thank you and Secretary Chu and Gene Sperling and your whole team.  Tom Donohue and Randi Weingarten, thank you for joining together today for what you are doing.  
When the President asked me to work with his Jobs Council on improving energy efficiency in buildings, I think he did it because the Clinton Global Initiative and my own climate change project have been working on these kinds of things for several years now, and I believe as strongly as I can say that this is good business, creates jobs, makes us more energy independent and helps to fight climate change.  It’s the nearest thing we’ve got to a free lunch in a tough economy, because all of the savings can be paid back within a reasonable amount of time -- I mean, all the costs of the construction -- through lower utility bills.
So we’ve been working on that.  And the President has an announcement to make about that today.
I just want to say how grateful I am to Rich Trumka and the AFL-CIO and to Randi Weingarten for the work that labor has done in putting up some of the pension funds from California and some other funds they have to actually invest their own money gambling that they can get a reasonable return and putting people to work.  And I appreciate the support that Tom has given to this, because there are a lot of construction firms that are going to lose really skilled, gifted workers if they can’t find something to do, because there’s not a big demand for new buildings today and therefore the best opportunity to preserve and rebuild this sector is through greater energy efficiency.
I want to thank all the people who have been involved in this.  And Mr. President, I just want to say how grateful I am for the meeting we just attended.  The President’s Jobs Council and economic team put together a meeting that we were just present at -- there were nearly 50 people there.  And he’ll tell you what they said they would do.  But -- I hate to sound like a broken record -- we could create an almost unlimited number of jobs out of this, even in this lousy economy, even with all this embedded mortgage crisis, if we can work out the financing.
And I am grateful to be able to support this, to offer the continued effort of our climate change project and the Clinton Global Initiative to help the partners we have that are involved in this and anybody else that wants it.  But I’m especially grateful that the President didn’t let this fall through the cracks. 
You know that I haven’t been in that job for a long time, and I’m getting older, but I have some memory left.  And a thousand people ask you to do a thousand things.  And one of the tests of whether things work out or not, since you can’t do all thousand, is whether you can actually set up a process to do things and follow up.  And I am full of gratitude and praise, Mr. President, for you and your whole team, not just for your commitment to green energy, but for your commitment to energy efficiency, which gives you -- on buildings like this, averages 7,000 jobs for every billion dollars invested -- by far the greatest bang for the buck of any available investment I know…
Barack Obama: Now, our longer-term challenge is rebuilding an economy where hard work is valued and responsibility is rewarded, and the middle class and folks who are trying to get into the middle class regain some security -- an economy that’s built to compete with the rest of the world, and an economy that’s built to last.
And that’s why we are here today, in a place where, clearly, there is some building going on.  President Clinton, leaders of business, leaders of labor, we’re all here to announce some new steps that are going to create good jobs rebuilding America.
This building is in the middle of a retrofitting project to make it more energy efficient.  Already, this retrofit is saving this building $200,000 a year on its energy bills.  And as I mentioned earlier, by the time it’s finished, it will have created more than 250 full-time jobs in construction here in this building.  Consider President Clinton is coming down from the New York, the fact that the owners of the Empire State Building did the same thing; they are retrofitting that iconic landmark from top to bottom.  It’s a big investment, but it will pay for itself by saving them $4.4 million a year in energy costs.  And it’s estimated that all the retrofitting that they’re doing will pay for itself in about four and a half years.
Making our buildings more energy efficient is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways for us to create jobs, save money, and cut down on harmful pollution.  It is a trifecta, which is why you’ve got labor and business behind it.  It could save our businesses up to $40 billion a year on their energy bills -– money better spent growing and hiring new workers.  It would boost manufacturing of energy-efficient materials.  And when millions of construction workers have found themselves out of work since the housing bubble burst, it will put them back to work doing the work that America needs done.  So this is an idea whose time has come.
And that’s why, in February, I announced the Better Buildings Initiative.  It’s an ambitious plan to improve the energy efficiency of America’s commercial buildings 20 percent by the year 2020.  And I asked President Clinton and my Jobs Council to challenge the private sector, as part of the initiative, to step up, make these cost-saving investments, and prove that it works, so that other companies follow their lead.
Now, I believe that if you’re willing to put people to work making your buildings more efficient, America should provide you some incentives to do so.  That’s something that would require congressional action.  And we have asked Congress to work with us to move on providing more effective incentives for commercial building owners all across the country to move forward on these energy-efficient steps.  But we can’t wait for Congress to act.  And if they won’t act, I will.
Which is why, today, I’m directing all federal agencies -- all federal agencies -- to make at least $2 billion worth of energy-efficiency upgrades over the next two years.  None of these upgrades will require taxpayer money to get them going.  We’re going to use performance-based contracts that use savings on energy and utility bills to pay the contractors that do the work.  And it should keep construction workers pretty busy.  In fact, this is something that the Chamber of Commerce has said is critical to private sector job creation.
The private sector and community leaders are also stepping up to the plate alongside the federal government.  President Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative have been tremendous partners in rallying them to join this effort.  So in June, at CGI America, we announced initial commitments of $500 million to upgrade 300 million square feet of building space; some of these projects are already underway.
The good news is, today, we can announce that we’re going even bigger.  We’ve received larger commitments.  We now have 60 major companies, universities, labor unions, hospitals, cities and states, and they are stepping up with nearly $2 billion in financing to upgrade an additional 1.6 billion square feet of commercial industrial space by our target year of 2020.  That’s more than 500 Empire State Buildings.
I just had the chance, along with President Clinton, to meet with representatives of these 60 institutions that are involved and hear firsthand how they can put Americans back to work but also improve their bottom lines. 
So you’ve got companies like Best Buy and Walgreens that are going to upgrade store lighting, which is going to save them money.  You’ve got manufacturers like Alcoa that are going to make their manufacturing plants more efficient, dramatically reducing their operating costs which means they can compete more effectively all around the world. 
You’ve got property management companies that are upgrading their buildings to make their real estate portfolios more attractive to businesses, and one is already upgrading 40,000 units of military housing all across the country, which will give our military families lower utility bills and a higher quality of life.  And all of this will create jobs.

Barack Obama on Keystone XL, Payroll Tax Cut

President Barack Obama discussed the Keystone XL pipeline with reporters after a December 7, 2011 meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
Barack Obama: We did discuss the proposed Keystone Xl pipeline, which is very important to Canada.  And I think the Prime Minister and our Canadian friends understand that it's important for us to make sure that all the questions regarding the project are properly understood, especially its impact on our environment and the health and safety of the American people.  And I assured him that we will have a very rigorous process to work through that issue… 
David Jackson, USA Today: I have Keystone questions for both of you.  Mr. President, we’ve got some House Republicans who are saying they won’t approve any extension of the payroll tax cut unless you move up this oil pipeline project.  Is that a deal you would consider?  And also, how do you respond to their criticism that you punted this issue past the election for political reasons?
And, Prime Minister Harper, you seemed to suggest the other day that politics is behind the way the Keystone issue has been handled.  Do you really feel that way?
Barack Obama: First of all, any effort to try to tie Keystone to the payroll tax cut I will reject.  So everybody should be on notice.  And the reason is because the payroll tax cut is something that House Republicans, as well as Senate Republicans, should want to do regardless of any other issues.  The question is going to be, are they willing to vote against a proposal that ensures that Americans, at a time when the recovery is still fragile, don’t see their taxes go up by $1,000.  So it shouldn’t be held hostage for any other issues that they may be concerned about.
And so my warning is not just specific to Keystone.  Efforts to tie a whole bunch of other issues to something that they should be doing anyway will be rejected by me.
With respect to the politics, look, this is a big project with big consequences.  We’ve seen Democrats and Republicans express concerns about it.  And it is my job as President of the United States to make sure that a process is followed that examines all the options, looks at all the consequences before a decision is made. 
Now, that process is moving forward.  The State Department is making sure that it crosses all its t’s and dots all its i’s before making a final determination.  And I think it’s worth noting, for those who want to try to politicize this issue, that when it comes to domestic energy production, we have gone all in, because our belief is, is that we’re going to have to do a whole range of things to make sure that U.S. energy independence exists for a long time to come -- U.S. energy security exists for a long time to come. 
So we have boosted oil production.  We are boosting natural gas production.  We’re looking at a lot of traditional energy sources, even as we insist on transitioning to clean energy.  And I think this shouldn't be a Democratic or a Republican issue; this should be an American issue -- how do we make sure that we’ve got the best possible energy mix to benefit our businesses, benefit our workers, but also benefit our families to make sure that the public health and safety of the American people are looked after.  And that’s what this process is designed to do...
Reporter: Excuse me, Mr. President.  By rejecting a veto, would you veto any payroll tax cuts if it had something else on it?
Barack Obama:  I think it’s fair to say that if the payroll tax cut is attached to a whole bunch of extraneous issues not related to making sure that the American people’s taxes don't go up on January 1st, then it’s not something that I’m going to accept.  And I don't expect to have to veto it because I expect they’re going to have enough sense over on Capitol Hill to do the people’s business, and not try to load it up with a bunch of politics.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Newt Gingrich’s green conservatism

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich used the term “green conservatism” to describe his 2007 book A Contract With the Earth at a May 27, 2011 house party in Manchester, NH. On Tuesday, the term popped up again during Gingrich's interview with conservative talk show host Glenn Beck.
Beck played an audio clip from the 2007 debate on climate change that pitted the former House Speaker against John Kerry, the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts.

“I think there has to be a, if you will, a green conservatism,” Gingrich said at the time.

This gem of a quote was dug up a few days before by, which recently ran an excellent piece examining Newt’s rather complicated record on climate change.
What followed was an exchange that revealed what types of policies President Gingrich might be willing to embrace to address climate change:

Glenn Beck: Help me out. This is a multiyear stance. It’s not a moment in your life.
Newt Gingrich: Well, first of all, I fought in those (inaudible) and I believe in the environment in general and I think ‑‑
Glenn Beck: So do I.
Newt Gingrich: Okay. Second, I think that there is evidence on both sides of the climate change argument, and the point I was making was in a situation where, for example, having a larger nuclear program reduces carbon in the atmosphere, it’s a prudent thing to look at nuclear as one of the actions.
Glenn Beck: But you ‑‑
Newt Gingrich: It’s a prudent thing to develop a green coal plant that takes the carbon and puts it into carbon sequestration to use it to develop oil fields more deeply and can be actually economically done. We do it right now in West Texas…
Glenn Beck: Do you ‑‑ do you still believe in the, you know, the Inconvenient Truth as outlined by global climate change advocates?
Newt Gingrich: Well, I never believed in Al Gore’s fantasies and, in fact, if you look at the record, the day that Al Gore testified at the Energy and Commerce Committee in favor of cap and trade, I was the next witness and I testified against cap and trade. And in the Senate, I worked through American solutions to help beat the cap and trade bill. Cap and trade was an effort by the left to use the environment as an excuse to get total control over the American economy, centralizing a Washington bureaucracy. In the end it had nothing to do with the environment. It had everything to do with their desire to control our lives.

As a presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich has generally shied away from using terms like “green coal”. His 21st Century Contract with America calls for expanded development of coal, but says nothing about it being clean.

Photo by Gage Skidmore