Gingrich to Nix Chapter on Climate Change in Book

Dec. 31, 2011: Newt Gingrich campaigns at Tish's Restaurant in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Dec. 31, 2011: Newt Gingrich campaigns at Tish's Restaurant in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  (AP)

Newt Gingrich says he's going to nix a chapter on climate change in a forthcoming book after the Republican presidential candidate took some heat from conservatives. 

The former House speaker reportedly is planning to help edit and compile a collection of environmental essays for a book that may not be out until after the 2012 election. One of those chapters was going to be written by atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe, who supports the concept of man-made climate change -- a concept that is far more controversial among Republicans than Democrats. 

Gingrich was confronted about the book this week in Iowa, but he told the woman who questioned him that the climate change chapter is "not going to be in the book." 

"We didn't know that they were doing that, and we told them to kill it," Gingrich said. 

"That's all I needed to know," the unidentified woman said, before walking away. The brief conversation was captured on video by CBS News and the National Journal. 

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The questioner initially said she was concerned after hearing conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh discussing the book. 

Conservative blogger Marc Morano also had accused Gingrich earlier this month of selecting a "committed believer in man-made climate fears" for the book. 

Gingrich has tried to clarify his beliefs about climate change since entering the race. Though he once cut a TV ad on the topic with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, he has since called it "probably the dumbest single thing I've done in recent years." 

A campaign website dedicated to explaining Gingrich's positions says the candidate believes conservatives should not be "absent" from the debate on the environment, but that he opposes the so-called cap-and-trade proposal and wants to replace the EPA. 

"Newt does not believe there is a settled scientific conclusion about whether industrial development has dramatically contributed to a warming of the atmosphere," the site says. 

The scientist and professor tapped to write the book chapter, meanwhile, seemed blindsided by Gingrich's comments this week. 

On her Twitter page, Hayhoe wrote: "Nice to hear that Gingrich is tossing my #climate chapter in the trash. 100+ unpaid hrs I cd've spent playing w my baby." 

Hayhoe has said the science behind climate change is well-established, and that humans are the primary cause. In a 2009 interview with a blogger, she said: "It is primarily laypeople, such as talk show hosts, or those with vested interests in maintaining the status quo, who are perpetuating the idea that there is no scientific consensus." 

The Gingrich campaign has not returned a request for comment.