(CNSNews.com) – Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich, as a U.S. House representative from Georgia in 1989, was among the co-sponsors of a sweeping global warming bill that, among other things, called for an international agreement on population growth. Gingrich today, however, says he opposes such a policy and that he supported only a small part of the legislation that promoted hydrogen energy research.
In an e-mail statement to CNSNews.com, Gingrich’s deputy press secretary, Michelle Selesky, said the former Speaker opposes an international agreement on population growth because “this would be a dangerous violation of sovereignty, and Speaker Gingrich would steadfastly oppose any international efforts to dictate or control population growth in sovereign states.”
Furthermore, “Newt supported a very limited aspect of the 1989 bill that promoted hydrogen energy research,” said Selesky. “This is consistent with his long support of aggressively developing American sources of energy, including American oil, natural gas, coal, and alternatives.”
The legislation, the Global Warming Prevention Act of 1989 (H.R. 1078) had 144 co-sponsors, the majority of which were liberal Democrats such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), then-Rep. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). There were only 25 Republican co-sponsors, which included Rep. Gingrich.
The legislation, which never made it out of committee and was never voted on by House members, set a national goal of reducing carbon dioxide levels by at least 20 percent by the year 2000 “through a mix of federal and state energy policies,” as well as “the establishment of an International Global Agreement on the Atmosphere by 1992.”
In addition, the legislation’s summary includes the section “Title XI: World Population Growth.” That section states: “World Population Growth -- Declares it is the policy of the United States that family planning services should be made available to all persons requesting them. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1991 through 1995 for international population and family planning assistance. Prohibits the use of such funds for: (1) involuntary sterilization or abortion; or (2) the coercion of any person to accept family planning services.
“Requests the President to initiate an international conference on population, and to seek an international agreement on population growth. Establishes a National Commission on Population, Environment, and Natural Resources to prepare reports and convene conferences. Terminates such Commission three years after the enactment of this Act.
“Mandates that multilateral development banks adopt guidelines promoting lending strategies which emphasize the maintenance of sustainable world population levels. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1991 through 1993.”
The bill was introduced in February 1989. Gingrich signed-on as a co-sponsor on June 15, 1989. Between 1989 and 1990, the legislation was referred to several House committees and House subcommittees but it never advanced beyond that point. The last major action for the bill was on Aug. 3, 1990, and it states there was an “unfavorable Executive comment received from Justice.”
At that time, the attorney general of the United States was Republican Richard Thornburgh, under President George H.W. Bush.
When asked by CNSNews.com why Gingrich supported the 1989 legislation and whether he still supports the bill’s initiatives on population growth today, Deputy Press Secretary Selesky said in the e-mail: “Speaker Gingrich was one of nearly 150 co-sponsors of this bill in 1989. He never voted for this legislation and this never became law. Gingrich was assured that Ronald Reagan’s ‘Mexico City Policy,’ which prohibits any American tax dollars from funding or promoting abortions overseas, was in effect, so no funds from this bill would go toward supporting China’s barbaric ‘One Child’ policy or any other programs that used abortion as means for ‘population control.’
“Gingrich has always supported the Mexico City policy, and on day one of his presidency, he will reinstate Ronald Reagan’s policy to assure that no tax dollars fund non-governmental agencies or charities that perform or promote abortions in foreign countries. ...
“The world’s population recently passed 7 billion, and Gingrich continues to believe that robust economic growth, free markets and trade, and vastly expanded development of energy resources are the key to ensuring safety, health and prosperity at home and around the world.”
In 2008, Gingrich appeared alongside Rep. Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a television ad calling for action to address the apparent global warming problem. Gingrich has since denounced that ad appearance as “probably the dumbest single thing I've ever done.”
On his campaign Web site, it states, “Newt does not believe there is a settled scientific conclusion about whether industrial development has dramatically contributed to a warming of the atmosphere,” and that the former Speaker of the House “absolutely opposes ‘cap and trade.’”
Michael W. Chapman contributed to this report.