Newt Argues a Conservative Green Plan

He debates critics in TNR over how to spark fuel innovation
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2008 9:07 PM CST
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich delivers a keynote speech at the Nevada Policy Research Institute's 16th anniversary dinner in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2007. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Newt Gingrich has triggered a debate in the New Republic over how to inspire eco-friendly fuel innovation. He argues that tax breaks and a billion-dollar prize can spark green entrepreneurs to usurp the "oligarchies and dictatorships" that control US oil dependence. But a pair of eco-authors wants more, and argues that Washington must invest tax dollars into new technologies to reverse climate change.

Conservatives are “confusing their opposition to investments in social programs” with opposition to infrastructure, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus write; energy policy can’t afford such “knee-jerk” rejection of public support. But Newt lumps carbon taxes with “more government regulations, more control by bureaucracies, and more litigation by trial lawyers”—arguing that a “market-oriented approach” is the only way to green. (Read more Newt Gingrich stories.)