THE BLOG
05/06/2008 06:14 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Francophile Newt wants to build a few hundred nukes too -- and shut down every coal plant!

First John McCain and now Newt Gingrich turn out to love the cheese-eating surrender monkeys. Better start checking them both for U.S. flag lapel pins!

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On the Hugh Hewitt show (see here), Gingrich dissed the new ad he made with Speaker Pelosi on climate and offered "real solutions:"

HH: Now can I ping you a little bit, Mr. Speaker? You made the ad with Nancy Pelosi, and I think that campaign is asking Americans to suspend critical thinking, not that I'm on one side or the other.

NG: Well...

HH: I just think thirty second ads on something that complicated asks...it's not the way to debate this, because it almost makes it impregnable to debate. Did you consider the downside of doing the ad with her?

NG: Yeah, we spent six weeks thinking about that decision, and I do a newsletter every week. You can go to xxx.xxxx.xxx [sorry, for some reason, my PC just refused to copy that link], my first name, and sign up for it. It comes out for free. Over 700,000 people get it. And next week will be on energy policy and environmental policy. And I'm going to outline a stunningly different view than Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi. But my message to conservatives is you've got to get on the stage and debate. You can't stand off-stage and scream no. And I'm perfectly happy, if you'll look at the ad carefully, we said this was a topic we disagree on a lot of issue. But we agree we should try to solve this. And I'm perfectly happy to offer real solutions, and I'll give you one example.

HH: Go ahead.

NG: If the United States produced the same percent of electricity from nuclear power as France, we would take two billion, two hundred million tons of carbon a year out of the atmosphere. And by that one step, we would be 15% better than the Kyoto goals.

Now, we've already seen that if we did what France does -- and yes, it boggles the mind that two leading Freedom-fry eating conservatives are publicly advocating doing just that -- we'd need, say 600 to 700 nukes by 2050, depending on whether we embrace electricity as a transportation fuel [See "McCain calls for 700+ new nuclear plants (and seven Yucca mountains) costing $4 trillion"].

But Gingrich's final statement suggests

  1. He wants to build 1400 nukes and shut down every last coal plant, every gas plant, and every refinery or (more likely)
  2. He wants 400 nukes, he wants to shut down every coal plant, and he made a classic climate error and a classic energy mistake.

1. Gingrich said if everyone in this country drank the French Kool-aid [Aide de Kool?] then we'd "take two billion, two hundred million tons of carbon a year out of the atmosphere." Small problem -- the United States doesn't actually emit 2.2 billion tons of carbon, though we are getting close, thanks in part to Gingrich's long-standing efforts to block action on climate and defund the clean technologies he now claims to embrace (see here and here). To save that much carbon, you'd have to build 1400 one-gigaWatt nuclear power plants (i.e. 2 wedges) and shut down 1400 GW of coal, which, of course, we don't have. But I suppose we could shut down every natural gas plant and convert every vehicle in the country to electricity, including the airplanes, though that would be a bit tricky.

2. Okay, okay, so Gingrich made a classic climate error -- so classic I've blogged on it before ("The biggest source of mistakes: C vs. CO2") and even done it myself. He means we'd "take two billion, two hundred million tons of carbon DIOXIDE a year out of the atmosphere." Fair enough. But that would still require building 400 nukes -- which means he is making the classic energy mistake of ignoring electricity demand (or assuming we are going to magically build all of those power plants so fast that demand doesn't have a chance to go up its projected 1.1% per year).

Plus, we would only save that much carbon dioxide if we used those nuclear plants to shut down every last coal plant. If we merely built the nukes without shutting down the coal plants, we obviously wouldn't reduce emissions at all, and then, in fact, nuclear power would be under half of total U.S. electricity. Of course, we'd probably never build that many nuclear plants so quickly unless the government mandated it and heavily subsidized it. And, we'd certainly never shut down every last coal plant unless the government passed a regulation mandating that.

I'll bet you never knew Newt was so radical, so anti-coal, so French-loving, so Kyoto-loving, so radioactivity-loving, so ... regulation-loving. I'm not certain exactly what political philosophy embraces all of those ideas -- other than the philosophy of "I'll say any damn thing I want to so I can pretend to care about the environment while ensuring we do nothing whatsoever on global warming -- and the media sure as hell will never ask me a tough question because it involves a substantive issue and not my pastor."

One thing I'll give to Newt -- his is, as promised, "a stunningly different view than Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi" -- or pretty much anybody else who either cares about the climate or knows anything about energy.

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