Eco-Gingrich and "Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less."

Now it is quite clear why the We campaign so enthusiastically embraced Newt Gingrich for an advertisement sitting next to Nancy Pelosi. Yes, Newt Gingrich is working for "American Solutions for Winning the Future." We would think that might actually include thinking seriously about moving forward on Global Warming legislation. Yet, Newt's deceptive calls on people to support efforts to "Drill Here" and "Drill Now" also include a broadside against the Lieberman-Warner Climate (in)Security Act that could have come straight out of the mouth of a polluting industry spokesman. (On reflection, perhaps it did). Gingrich's truthfulness about solutions to gas prices is potentially enticing but (at best) misleading.

Advertised as "tri-partisan," Gingrich is seeking to wrap himself in some form of post-partisan sainthood, a repackaging enabled by the We Campaign's embrace.

Gingrich's DRILL! DRILL! DRILL! mantra argues that by blocking action on Global Warming and opening up all of America for drilling, gasoline prices would be magically reduced. Hmmm ... let's consider some facts, Newt:

  • It would take roughly 10 years for any opened areas to contribute to US production in a serious way.. Gasoline prices in the United States have quadrupled in the past decade. How much might they increase in the intervening time period between decisions to open up reserves and pumped oil? DRILL! DRILL! DRILL! has nothing to do with today's gasoline prices.
  • Newt is asserting false information about the state of international oil supplies. Ignore Peak Oil, according to Newt, supply is where we should focus. If we believe George W Bush's statement that the United States is addicted to oil, Newt's approach to dealing with addiction is to feed that addiction, not solve it.
  • In this discussion, of course, is nothing about real solutions, about things that might actually have an impact in the near terms. These include efficiency measures (properly inflated tires, more efficient driving style, to buying more efficient tires to a more efficient car) to changed behavior (such as riding public transport, driving less aggressively) to policy programs (such as supporting plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, increased/improved rail, electrification of rail). These forms of measures would have a far greater impact on the suppply of liquid fuel over the coming decade than Gringrich's siren's call of DRILL! DRILL! DRILL!

    Joe Romm has a few choice points about eco-Gingrich's new energy strategy for America:

    The administration's own Energy Information Administration explained in 2004 how ineffectual this strategy is. In a 2004 Congressional-requested "Analysis of Oil and Gas Production in ANWR":

    It is expected that the price impact of ANWR coastal plain production might reduce world oilprices by as much as 30 to 50 cents per barrel [in 2025].

    As Joe reminded Gingrich: "There are 42 gallons in a barrel." Yup. Newt's strategy might (MIGHT) lead to up to a 1.2 cent per gallon reduction in the price of gasoline. McSUV drivers: don't spend your savings all at once.

    Of course, Newt doesn't get into a discussion of the catastrophic climate change implications of a path that focuses on feeding the addication rather than curing it.

    the We campaign people and all the other earnest politicians and enviros out there trying to convince us that climate and energy are bipartisan issues should wait until they are actually bipartisan before celebrating. Gingrich is using a green fig leaf to push the same corporate-friendly policies the GOP has been pushing for decades, and rather than getting smacked down, he's being helped by greens. It's stupid.

    It is not enough for someone to mouth words admitting to reality. Wow, Newt Gingrich acknowledges that there is such a thing as Global Warming and human action is contributing to it. Time for a standing ovation? Absolutely not. Unless he is willing to come to the table with serious paths for solving the problem, Gingrich remains part of the problem.