National Review / Digital
Some Shade of Green
The former Speaker has a longstanding love-hate relationship with environmental reform


Though he has often reached out to environmentalists, there’s nothing conciliatory in Gingrich’s energy platform, which is pithily summed up in the slogan “Drill here, drill now, pay less” (which is also the title of one of his books). This agenda may lack nuance, but it’s perfectly clear: Lift restrictions on domestic energy production and incentivize the development of new energy sources across the board. “All of the above” is his energy choice, so he wants to deregulate oil and gas development but also maintain (if not expand) subsidies for alternative energy sources, including ethanol. The latter position is particularly controversial with taxpayer groups and has earned him the sobriquet “Professor Cornpone” from the Wall Street Journal. Time will tell whether it will produce the desired response in Iowa.

Energy-policy discussions almost inevitably turn to the question of global warming. Like all the Republican candidates, Gingrich adamantly opposes any effort to limit U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions through imposition of a cap-and-trade system, under which aggregate emissions would be capped and industries would be allocated emission allowances that could be bought and sold. As Gingrich has explained, such a policy would, in effect, impose “an across-the-board energy tax on every American” and “accelerate American job losses.” Yet Gingrich’s opposition to federal climate controls has not always been so resolute.

December 31, 2011    |     Volume LXIII, No. 24

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  • The former Speaker has a longstanding love-hate relationship with environmental reform.
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