‘Amateur paleontologist’ Newt Gingrich says a hotter planet may be just fine

By Arturo Garcia
Monday, January 6, 2014 23:43 EDT
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Newt Gingrich 010614 [CNN]
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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) engaged in some “snow-trolling” Monday night, dismissing the idea of climate change by suggesting it would be arrogant to think the most suitable temperature for life on Earth is already known.

“I’m an amateur paleontologist,” Gingrich told Crossfire co-host Van Jones, before mentioning his own observations at exhibits in Chicago and Wisconsin and asking, “What kind of hubris does it take to say, ‘I know exactly what this planet’s temperature ought to be and I’m gonna manage it to that effect’?”

Gingrich did not mention that as recently as 2011, astronomers found that a planet considered compatible with Earth “would have a very nice temperature” around 70 degrees Farenheit.

Jones responded by arguing that humanity should explore alternatives to the use of carbon-based fuels.

“The problem is, if we put the foot on the accelerator with this experiment we’re doing — we’re the only planet that we know — and we’re wrong, and we end up cooking the planet, that’s a bad outcome you can’t recover from,” Jones said.

“The age of the dinosaurs was dramatically warmer than this is right now and it didn’t cook the planet,” Gingrich said in response. “In fact, life was fine.”

When Jones attempted to respond — perhaps by pointing out that humanity, as it is currently defined, did not exist in that era — Gingrich derailed the discussion.

“The number of people leaving Minnesota this evening to get to the Caribbean versus the number of people leaving the Caribbean to try to get to Minnesota would argue that slightly warmer wouldn’t be a crisis,” Gingrich said.

When Jones attempted to bring up global scientific consensus on the issue, Heritage Foundation Research Fellow David Kreutzer chimed in.

“This is a bait-and-switch,” Kreutzer protested. “Ninety-seven percent of some subset of scientists agree that man-made global warming is what we’ve seen over the past 50 or 100 years. That’s uncontroversial, maybe incontrovertible. The bait-and-switch is, you take that and say, ‘We’re heading to catastrophic global warming, all the major scientists say we’re gonna lose species.’ No, they don’t.”

Kreutzer did not mention that the “subset” consisted of around 29,000 scientists and nearly 12,000 academic papers, a fact that has largely gone unreported.

Watch the discussion, as aired on Monday, below.

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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