Photo: Gage Skidmore

In 2007, Newt Gingrich and Terry L. Maple wrote a book called A Contract with the Earth, outlining a “green conservatism” that takes problems like climate change seriously. Gingrich and Maple have been working on a follow-up, a collection of essays called Environmental Entrepreneurs, that tells the stories of private businesses innovating solutions.

The Los Angeles Times tells the tale: Maple reached out to atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe, a Texas Tech researcher who also happens to be an evangelical Christian (and wife to an evangelical minister). In an email he told her the book …

… requires a good opening chapter that lays out the facts on global climate change, but I would like this chapter to be framed with optimism, not gloom and doom. … All that is needed from you is to provide a sense of what needs to happen. What is the window of opportunity and what does the science tell us about our chances for remediation?

Hayhoe wrote and submitted the chapter in 2009, then was told by Maple last year that it was accepted. The next she heard about it was through this video:

She tweeted:

Media Matters chronicled what happened next:

Following the December 8 L.A. Times article identifying Hayhoe as a contributor to Gingrich’s book, Marc Morano, former spokesman for Senator Inhofe, spent the past month attacking her on his blog, Climate Depot. Morano also encouraged his readers to contact Hayhoe directly by repeatedly posting her email address.

Chris Horner’s American Tradition Institute also filed a request with Hayhoe’s employer, Texas Tech University, requesting any emails she sent or received about the book. …

Morano got a boost from his former boss Rush Limbaugh on December 19, when Limbaugh told his radio audience that “Newt’s new book has a chapter written by a babe named Hayhoe,” who “believes in man-made global warming.”

Needless to say, this attention unleashed the usual torrent of bile toward Hayhoe. (Kate Sheppard has more.)

Katharine Hayhoe.

I called to talk with Hayhoe earlier this month.

Q. There’s a ton of pressure on politicians like Newt Gingrich, but Newt probably knows what’s what in terms of climate change. He wrote a book about it not long ago. He sat on that couch with Nancy Pelosi. And he’s throwing it overboard, out of what can be fairly characterized as political necessity. What do you make of that calculation? What do you expect from politicians?