DES MOINES, Iowa -- Newt Gingrich says he has killed a chapter on climate change in a post-election book of essays about the environment. But the intended author of the chapter, who supports the scientific consensus that humans contribute to climate change, says that’s news to her.
Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech, confirmed in an e-mail interview that she had been asked to write a chapter on climate change for the former House speaker’s book. She said she was approached by former Palm Beach Zoo CEO Terry Maple, Gingrich’s coeditor, at an annual meeting of Republicans for Environmental Protection. Asked to confirm her chapter was dropped, she replied, “I had not heard that.”
Hayhoe was less restrained in a couple of tweets she posted Friday night. “so much 'spare' time wasted I cd've spent w family, & 2. what an ungracious way to find out, eh?” she asked. She followed that with “Nice to hear that Gingrich is tossing my #climate chapter in the trash. 100+ unpaid hrs I cd've spent playing w my baby”
The climate-change issue arose on Thursday night at a Gingrich campaign stop in Carroll, when a woman expressed concern about the chapter. She said she had heard about it on Rush Limbaugh’s radio program. As she began to tell Gingrich who the author of the piece would be, Gingrich interrupted. “That’s not going to be in the book,” he told her. “We didn’t know that they were doing that, and we told them to kill it.”
Hayhoe, whose husband is an evangelical pastor, recently wrote a book about climate change from an evangelical perspective. In an interview with Christian writer Jonathan Merritt, she left no doubt as to where she stands on the existence or the cause of the phenomenon.
“Among climate scientists—people who spend their lives researching our world—there is no debate regarding the reality of climate change and the fact that humans are the primary cause,” Hayhoe said in the interview. “It is primarily laypeople, such as talk-show hosts, or those with vested interests in maintaining the status quo, who are perpetuating the idea that there is no scientific consensus.”
Limbaugh picked up on those quotes on Dec. 19, including Hayhoe’s poke at talk-show hosts. He called her “one of Newt’s experts” and said she believes in man-made global warming. That no doubt created heartburn for Team Newt.
In a recent Pew Research Center poll, only 43 percent of Republicans – and only 31 percent of conservatives – said they believe there is solid evidence of global warming. That compares to 77 percent of Democrats. So the topic is tricky for GOP presidential candidates.
That’s particularly true for Gingrich, who infamously sat down with Nancy Pelosi to film an ad calling for action on global warming (which he has since called “the dumbest single thing I’ve done in the last few years”). The former speaker has also shifted his position on cap-and-trade and has walked back previous comments that there is a “wealth of scientific data” that warming is taking place.
The Gingrich campaign did not respond to a request for comment on this article.
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