I guess it’s true; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie really isn’t running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012:
“In the past I’ve always said that climate change is real and it’s impacting our state,” he said in a press conference yesterday (video below). “There’s undeniable data that CO2 levels and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere are increasing. Decade average temperatures have been rising and temperature changes are affecting weather patterns and our climate.”
OK, so climate change is occurring. But is mankind to blame? To get an answer to that crucial question, Christie says, he has been meeting with experts and scientists for the last few months to discuss the issue in depth, and has also done considerable reading and study on his own.
“When you have over 90 percent of the world’s scientists who have studied this stating that climate change is occurring and humans play a contributing role, it’s time to defer to the experts…. we know enough to know that we are at least a part of the problem.”
In his statement Thursday, Christie also announced that New Jersey would not participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a joint effort by 10 Northeastern states to address the issue of greenhouse gases at the regional level through a cap-and-trade program. His decision to withdraw from RGGI makes a lot of sense for purely practical reasons, and was clearly reached through the same analytical process that brought him to the conclusion that climate change is real and mankind is contributing.
As Christie notes, the rights to emit a ton of greenhouse gases through RGGI were projected to cost as much as $20 to $30 a ton, a level that would create a significant economic incentive to reduce those emissions. Under RGGI, however, those rights are selling at less than $2 a ton.
“RGGI has not changed behavior and it does not reduce emissions,” Christie said. “We’re looking for broader results that benefit all ratepayers and all citizens.”
Christie went on to pledge that in light of the seriousness of the problem, “there will no new coal permitted in New Jersey. From this day forward, any plans that anyone has regarding any type of coal-based generation of energy is over…. We need to commit in New Jersey to making coal a part of our past.”
Instead, the state will begin to shutdown older coal plants and move toward offshore wind generation, using old landfill sites as solar energy fields and concentrating on conservation and efficiency because “the cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use.”
As promised, here’s Christie’s statement in full (and I do confess to thinking while watching it that no major political figure in Georgia would be capable of such a performance.):
– Jay Bookman