GOP Gov. Chris Christie: “We have an obligation to reduce our Greenhouse Gas emissions.” Translation: I am running for President in 2016.

May 27, 2011

If you had any question whether GOP darling Chris Christie was going to enter the 2012 race, those are now answered.

Surveying the reality-free Tea Party freak show that is the current republican presidential field, Christie has opted out. And he has fired the first shot of his 2016 campaign by committing himself to a program of free-market incentives for combatting climate change, reducing greenhouse emissions, and accelerating New Jersey’s development of renewable energy and conservation.

The video above is a shortened version of  the 14 minute statement released on May 26, titled “The Future is Green”. Click here to see the long version.
Christie starts out with some red meat for his right flank, by withdrawing from RGGI, the 10 state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which conservatives hate due to the price on carbon that is the heart of that program. That much is standard GOP politics in the age of Sara Palin science.

From there, however, he quickly veers into frontiers of rational thought unknown to GOP candidates for some years –

• “..Our commitment continues to combatting climate change, and looking for new, clean, and cleaner energy sources..”

• ” ..we’re committed to putting in place policies that actively work to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and achieve the 22.5 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard target by 2021..”

• “The future for New Jersey is in Green  energy..”

• “No New Coal permitted in New Jersey. From this day forward, any plans that anyone has regarding any type of coal based generation in New Jersey is over…we know that coal is a major source of CO2 emissions, we will no longer accept coal as a new source of power in the state.…we need to commit in New Jersey to making coal a part of our past.”

“We’re going to work to make New Jersey number one in offshore wind production…We will be receiving applications for more than 3000 MW of offshore wind in the next 2 weeks..”

• “We’re going to go further in solar energy..”

• Encourage the construction of natural gas plants

• “will look at” additional nuclear units

• “The cleanest energy is the energy that you don’t use… the state has to lead in terms of conservation, and so we’re going to lead by example on energy efficiency.”

• “we remain completely committed to the idea that we have a responsibility as a state to make the environment of our state, and the world, better..

• “…we have an obligation to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”

By accepting the science of global climate change, Christie joins John Huntsman as a small but significant minority calling for the return of reason and science to the Grand Old Party.  Huntsman’s position has made him an extreme outlier among those considered potential candidates for 2012, and he’s quickly backtracking to “now is not the time to act” apologies. The remaining candidates are furiously distancing themselves from any hint of ever accepting overwhelming scientific consensus.

Christie is obviously writing off 2012 as the political catastrophe that it might take to wake Republicans to the climatic catastrophe, preparing for the future, and betting that a few more years of pounding floods, heat waves, tornadoes, and droughts in Iowa should prepare the ground for some much needed rational thought in the GOP.

Extra: See here for a 2010 Town Hall meeting for Christie’s evolving thought on RGGI and the climate issue.

It’s instructive that you can see in this edit of Christie’s remarks  some editorial comment from whatever right wing group posted it.
Up till now, believing in science was enough to make one a turncoat in “conservative” circles. Let’s see if that begins to change.

5 Responses to “GOP Gov. Chris Christie: “We have an obligation to reduce our Greenhouse Gas emissions.” Translation: I am running for President in 2016.”

  1. witsendnj Says:

    I am shocked! shocked!!!

    Bravo for conservation. Bravo that he recognizes AGW as a threat that must be addressed.

    Now if only we could have decent public transportation!

    By the 2016 election campaign, however, this program as announced will be revealed by events (like extreme, unprecedented weather such as the spring tornados, and the imminent food crisis from world-wide flooding and drought) to be nothing but a sham. Since when is natural gas cleaner than coal?? This plus nuclear (hasn’t he heard of Fukushima?) is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    How are we going to protect the nuclear plants that already exist from the sea level rise already inevitable from prior emissions?

    • greenman3610 Says:

      there are a number of blind spots in his prescriptions, but I’ll take acknowledgement of the science of AGW as a major step forward. His nod to nuclear is pro forma – there will be no new nuclear plants in the US, and he probably knows that.

  2. […] Peter Sinclair, a writer of a glorious Climate Denial Crock of a Week series: If we had any doubt either GOP […]

  3. […] Cristie, “everyone” says, is a smart politician.  When I read that he claimed to be staking out a peculiarly “republican’ approach to climate change, I was optimistic, since he at least had enough courage to state the obvious, that it’s a […]

  4. Jan Freed Says:

    So far, so good…Christie has finally smelled the coffee (BTW: Starbucks is officially “all in” with a serious concern for AGW).

    Next step: Talk to your friends in red states. Tell them that “GOP” hasn’t always stood for “Koch Roach”. Nixon and TR were far more helpful to the nation.

    We need to get our “House” in order.

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