Global warming was called by Secretary of State John Kerry a global problem that ranks with weapons of mass destruction (WMD), but Newt Gingrich, who tweeted he was inclined to disagree, was likely paid to do so. “Does kerrey (sic) really believe global warming,” wrote Gingrich, “than north Korean and iranian nukes?” In a later tweet, he went so far as to demand Secretary Kerry’s resignation.
In the spring of 2008, Gingrich, a former Speaker of the House, joined then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a public service announcement to encourage urgently needed political unity in the fight against global climate change. Almost immediately his position changed. A month after recording the ad with Pelosi, Gingrich joined an IRS 527 non-profit group called American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF). One of ASWF’s biggest donors was Peabody Energy of St. Louis. Peabody, known widely by the nickname “King Coal,” donated $825,000 for ASWF’s 2008 “Drill Here, Drill Now” campaign.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) has also paid donations to Gingrich’s ASWF in the past, explaining why Gingrich would disagree with Secretary Kerry’s call that global warming is a WMD. During the 2010 CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) an attorney for the American Petroleum Institute (API), acknowledged to a reporter from ThinkProgress.org that the oil and gas lobbying group had been “sharing resources” and “coordinating efforts” with ASWF. During a follow-up conversation, Gingrich himself stated API was a supporter of ASWF. API, however, denied the connection.
When Gingrich left ASWF in 2011 to run for President, the organization closed. It was reborn last year as an IRS 501(c)(4) social welfare group.
In September 2013, the World Bank issued a report which showed that five of the 10 cities in the world which were most at risk from rising sea levels due to climate change, are in the United States. The five American cities are Miami, New York, New Orleans, Tampa and Boston. The World Bank estimates that failure to adapt could end up costing $1 trillion a year in damage caused by flooding.
A group of researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California announced findings this week that Arctic sea ice has been retreating faster during summer months over the past 32 years than previously estimated. Sea ice tends to reflect heat from the sun back into space. According to researcher, Ian Eisenman, the loss of sea ice in the summer has contributed to about 25 percent of the increased warming of the planet from carbon dioxide emissions. The rate was much higher than previous studies had shown.
Increasing greenhouse-gas levels in the atmosphere, attributable to land use and the burning of carbon based fuels, caused the initial ice loss. This presents a darker ocean surface, which reflects less sunlight. The darker ocean then becomes warmer, thus amplifying the process. Since the 1970s, the Arctic Ocean has warmed by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degress Celsuis). The Scripps team used satellite measurements of sea ice between 2000 and 2011.
Some scientists have posited that cloud cover caused by the increase in available moisture in the Arctic would reduce the damage from lost sea ice. Don Perovich, of the US Army Corps of Engineers asserts the 2000-2011 satellite data puts that argument to bed. “Clouds wouldn’t save you,” says Perovich, who works with the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory based in Hanover, New Hampshire. Perovich called the loss of sea ice combined with global CO2 levels, “some serious leverage.”
“We don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-Earth society,” President Obama declared in a speech last summer on energy policy. “Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer,” he said, “but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm.” Kerry’s statement, calling global warming a WMD is consistent with the President’s policy, but Gingrich, as a paid promoter for the opposition, is inclined to disagree.
By Melissa Roddy