Thanks to Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, the Regional Green Gas Initiative (RGGI), which includes the Northeastern states, could be entering the early stages of collapse.
While "cap and trade" schemes modeled after the Kyoto Protocol have been held at bay on the federal level, environmental pressure groups have successfully arranged for state level regulatory agreements in cooperation with compliant government officials. At a press conference in Trenton last month, Gov. Christie announced that he would withdraw N.J. from the RGGI, which requires participating states to cut their emissions by 10 percent come 2018. The program did not have any appreciable impact on the environment and only serves to burden N.J. residents with higher costs, Christie pointed out in his public comments.
But opposition to "cap and trade" on the basis of economics alone is not enough, Marc Morano, the editor of Climate Depot has long argued. Anti-free market schemes will not be uprooted, Morano says, until after the "junk science" underpinning alarmist claims has been exposed and discredited. That is why Gov. Christie's mixed messages on the subject of global warming have been point of consternation to many on the right.
During a town hall meeting in Toms River, N.J. last November, Gov. Christie told listeners he was skeptical that humans were the primary driving force behind climate change. This remarks fueled speculation that he was considering a presidential bid.
"The only science he's looking at is political science," Jeff Tittel, the executive director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, was quoted as saying in The Daily Record. "He's making a political calculation that to be a darling of the conservative movement, he has to move to the right on climate change to appease the tea party and others."
This process began with the Global Warming Solutions Act Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) signed into law almost four years ago on Sept. 26, 2006. A state ballot proposition that would have block implementation of the law failed last year. However, Susana Martinez, the new Republican governor of New Mexico, has made it clear that she will resist anti-energy measures like "cap and trade." The actions of Martinez in combination with that of Gov. Christie strongly suggest that anti-regulatory efforts are gaining momentum.
However, Marc Morano, who runs the Climate Depot site, has argued that opposition to "cap and trade" on the basis of economics alone is insufficient. Anti-free market schemes will not be uprooted, Morano has observed, until after the "junk science" underpinning alarmist claims has been exposed and discredited, he has said. That is why Gov. Christie's mixed messages have been a point of consternation to many on the right.
During a town hall meeting in Toms River, N.J. last November, Gov. Christie told listeners he was skeptical that humans were the primary driving force behind climate change. These remarks, which appealed to the Republican right, added to speculation that Christie was considering a presidential run.
"The only science he's looking at is political science," Jeff Tittel, the executive director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, was quoted as saying in The Daily Record at the time. "He's making a political calculation that to be a darling of the conservative movement, he has to move to the right on climate change to appease the tea party and others."
But in his May press conference, Christie backpedaled away from the skeptical view.
"The last few months I've sat down with experts both inside the government and outside the administration in academia and other places, to discuss the issue in depth," Christie said. "I've also done some reading on my own on the topic as well. I'm certainly not a scientist which is the first problem. So, I can't claim to fully understand all of this. Certainly not after just a few months of study. But when you have over 90 percent of the world's scientists who have studied this stating that climate change is occurring and that humans play a contributing role it's time to defer to the experts."
So this raises a question; Has Gov. Christie not heard of the "climategate" scandal? Email messages leaked to the Internet from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain demonstrate that researchers were willing to fudge and manipulate scientific data in an effort to bolster man-made global warming theories. Moreover, as Morano has reported, there are over 1,000 scientists world-wide who dissent from the idea that human activity induces warming and cooling trends.
"Gov. Christie has proven clueless when it comes to man-made global warming," Morano said. "His straight-shooting image has been shattered by his recent calculated and really bad climate claims. He did not respond to multiple meeting offerings from top scientists in New Jersey, but meets with a collection of alarmists scientists. He is following in the misguided footsteps of George W. Bush on climate. Christie is attempting to pursue the discredited strategy of accepting the alleged science of anthropogenic AGW while rejecting so called solutions."
Morano continued, "Christie's absurd claim that more than 90% of scientists agree is the verbal equivalent of sitting on a love seat with Nancy Pelosi. The image of Christie as a potential GOP Savior has officially gone up in smoke with his revelations that he and Al Gore share the same level of scientific comprehension."
That's pretty unforgiving.
It is difficult to overstate how politically potent the green movement is in New Jersey. Several Republican congressional representatives voted in favor the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill, and Christie himself was endorsed by the N.J. Environmental Federation during his 2009 campaign. So there's some history here.
Even so, criticis on the right must acknowledge that Christie has been a forceful advocate for state taxpayers. He has stood up to the power and influence of New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) like no other governor. He is also working to remake one of the most activist, left-leaning Supreme Courts in the country. Overall, the Republican governor has compiled an impressive record of reform in politically tough terrain. On the subject of global warming, he remains a work in progress. Those of us who are climate skeptics should not write him off just yet as he has delivered on the right mix of policies.
Moreover, there appears to be a real division within the governor's office on the science.
Department of Environmental Commissioner Robert Martin favors the idea that human activity drives climate change while Lee Solomon, the president of the Board of Public Utilities has expressed skepticism, according to other media reports.
Chritie may yet be a candidate for the future (I think he needs to finish what he started in N.J. and look possibly to 2016). But he will need to revisit the science.