Yesterday Gov. Chris Christie announced that New Jersey would exit the 10-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap and trade program. NorthJersey.com quotes him as saying that “RGGI has not changed behavior and it does not reduce emissions,” and that “RGGI does nothing more than tax electricity, tax our citizens, tax our businesses, with no discernible or measurable impact upon our environment.”
Christie prefaced his remarks, however, by establishing that he has no doubts about global warming:
“In the past I’ve always said that climate change is real and it’s impacting our state…. There’s undeniable data that CO2 levels and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere are increasing. This decade, average temperatures have been rising. Temperature changes are affecting weather patterns and our climate.”
“I’m certainly not a scientist, which is the first problem,” he said. “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.”
By withdrawing from the cap and trade agreement, Christie bolsters his conservative credentials, and will likely earn even greater popularity among Republicans nationally. Although he has stated repeatedly that he won’t run for president in this upcoming election, his record on cap and trade is now similar to those of Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman, and Mitt Romney. All three, as governors, expressed concern about carbon emissions and proposed or implemented cap and trade programs before ultimately backing off such measures on the basis that they were not economical.
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