John Kerry and Newt Gingrich squared off on climate change this morning. The result? Gingrich committed to the statement that something needs to be done and distanced himself from partisan brethren like Inhofe. He also dropped a line about a need for some “green conservatism.”

The transcript:

KERRY: I’m excited to hear you talk about the urgency — I really am. And given that — albeit you still sort of have a different approach — what would you say to Sen. Inhofe and to others in the Senate who are resisting even the science? What’s your message to them here today?

GINGRICH: My message I think is that the evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon-loading of the atmosphere.

KERRY: And to it urgently — and now …

GINGRICH: And do it urgently. Yes.

If I can, let me explain partly why this is a very challenging thing to do if you’re a conservative. For most of the last 30 years, the environment has been a powerful emotional tool for bigger government and higher taxes. And therefore, if you’re a conservative, the minute you start hearing these arguments, you know what’s coming next: which is bigger government and higher taxes.

So even though it may be the right thing to do, you end up fighting it because you don’t want big government and higher taxes. And so you end up in these kinds of cycles. And part of the reason I was delighted to accept this invitation and I’m delighted to be here with Sen. Kerry is I think there has to be a if you will a “green conservatism” — there has to be a willingness to stand up and say alright here’s the right way to solve these as seen by our value system.

If you feel like you’ve been hit with the whaaa? stick, rest assured, Gingrich’s greener rhetoric isn’t purely altruistic. He’s about to publish a new book, A Contract with the Earth, in which he discusses market- and technology-based environmental solutions.

Get it, like Contract with America, except this time, it’s the planet?

The book “promotes ingenuity over rhetoric” and calls for a “bipartisan environmentalism,” according to the publishers.

Whatevs. I’m not complaining. All power to you, Newt.

(h/t: TP)