“I believe in global warming, but…”


Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, has become the latest of Republicans to recognize the existence of anthropogenic global warming, but at the same time deny any effort to stop it.

In his veto of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, he wrote:

While I acknowledge that the levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere are increasing, that climate change is real, that human activity plays a role in these changes and that these changes are impacting our state, I simply disagree that RGGI is an effective mechanism for addressing global warming.

It’s not clear why he disagrees as Angela Delli Sanit and Beth DeFalco of BusinessWeek report:

Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said Thursday that the program was working as designed. He said New Jersey’s greenhouse gas emissions from electric power plants had declined 10 percent since 2009. He said the pact was responsible for creating 18,000 jobs in the region and generating $2.3 billion in economic benefits.

Not only has the initiative already reduced emissions but also created thousands of jobs. Christie is not the only Republican to agree with climate science but reject policy to counteract it. Mitt Romney dropped out of the same compact in 2006 just before he began his first bid for the presidential nomination. Habitual flip-flopper that he is, his opinions seem to have even moved further to the right. Katrino Trinko of the National Review writes:

“Do I think the world’s getting hotter? Yeah, I don’t know that, but I think that it is. I don’t know if it’s mostly caused by humans,” Romney told the audience at a town hall in Lebanon, N.H., according to Reuters.

The “I don’t know” about human causation of climate change came off as a softening of his stance. In June, talking about global warming at a town hall in Manchester, N.H., Romney said, “I believe that humans contribute to that.”

Jon Huntsman, former Ambassador to China and Governor of Utah, backtracked his stance on global warming recently too. Once an advocate for the cap-and-trade system, now his support is limited to only believing anthropogenic global warming exists.

There is a significant disconnect for these Republican politicians with reality. They want to grab moderates by appearing to not be anti-science yet they refuse to actually solve the problem. This is similar to someone recognizing the threat of global terrorism yet believing we should no nothing about it.

Neither Romney or Huntsman have released plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions which makes them no different from Republican candidates that deny the existence of global warming. It’s a shame Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann are skeptical about human-caused global warming, but functionally there is no difference between them and Romney/Huntsman if they have no proposal to stop the degradation of our environment.

The Huntsmans, Romneys, and Christies of the Republican Party have to stop playing both ways. Either they recognize global warming is a problem and offer a solution or they bury their heads in the sand and continue to deny anthropogenic global warming.