Newt Gingrich and the Politics of Desalination

By January 29, 2007Energy, Global Warming

A postcript from last weekend’s National Review Institute summit, comments just so entertaining we had to pass it on. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gave the morning speech Saturday, one of his typical “big, challenging ideas” kind of addresses that most candidates avoid — not unreasonably — as too politically risky. (Video here.)

In the RLSRCMIWGLQ&A session that followed, a gentleman made a long, impassioned plea for desalination (about 45 minutes into the video). Gingrich expressed interest, noting that he is working on a book, “Contract with the Earth,” about technological, free-market solutions to environmental problems. He then cautioned the questioner.

I do want to warn you that if the Left wins, and you come up with a virtually free water desalinization, you will not be able to use it.

Because first of all, it will mean you are taking water out of the ocean.

Second, if you were to suddenly have enough water to make the entire Mojave Desert bloom, the desert tortoise would be endangered. And for you to suggest saving the Sahel so that all the people in Chad, Mauritania, Niger, could all of the sudden have a decent living at the risk of in some way affecting the Saharan Sand Flea, I don’t think you could pass the EPA regulatory requirements for what the environmental outcome will be. And so just the fact that you want to help human beings will be seen as a sign that you have an anthropomorphic view of the planet in which all you care about is people and you don’t realize that the planet likes being desert and has actually been trying to desertify for the last 50 years, and you are interfering with the natural order all of which will be exacerbated by the global warming period which will increase the amount of water in the oceans which you could use for desalinization except that it would be inappropriate because after all by then you could have a lot of water in Antarctica so if only you were being reasonable you wouldn’t come up with these new scientific breakthroughs and Al Gore’s next book will say that you personally are the greatest threat to human happiness on the planet.

Come on. Who could be opposed to providing fresh water to humans?




P.S. Thanks to the Blogger’s Apprentice for the transcript.