Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) has always been a global warming alarmist. He still is, despite pulling out of RGGI recently.
A conservative sounds the alarm on Chris Christie
This morning, the site Net Right Daily said that Chris Christie “shifted” into the global warming alarmist camp. They also said that Christie had been skeptical of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) last year. His remarks last month, when he pulled New Jersey out of RGGI, show that he believes that the earth is getting warmer and that man is making it warmer.
The RGGI NJ pullout
Last month, Governor Christie withdrew unilaterally from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI has a set-up to let States pull out at any time. (RGGI is also unconstitutional, though few people talk about that.) But Chris Christie did not say that global warming was bunk. Far from it. He said that RGGI would not solve the problem, while also saying that there is a problem.
The real reasons that Chris Christie did not like RGGI
RGGI did not raise prices enough! Chris Christie wanted the carbon emission allowances to fetch $20 or $30 per ton, not the $2 per ton that they fetched at last auction. He also lamented that no “secondary market” for allowances would develop. In other words, he wanted speculators to scalp the permits and create a black market. What kind of free-market principle does that serve?
New Jersey is already emitting less than it wanted to emit, and no thanks to RGGI. Instead, the power companies switched from coal to natural gas. Gas is more efficient and doesn’t dump acids and soot into the air. This is the one good thing that Chris Christie observed: that RGGI did not nudge those power companies to make that switch.
New Jersey already has 14 more “market incentive” laws, so RGGI won’t do anything. That’s nice. But by what authority does any government buy, or help buy, a product or service for any citizen or lawful resident? Your editor found no hint of that authority in either the US Constitution or the New Jersey Constitution.
RGGI puts lead boots on the State as it runs a race with Pennsylvania, or any other non-RGGI State. But so do all those other laws that Chris Christie mentioned.
What else did Chris Christie say that day?
Chris Christie put forward his own environmentalist program:
To forbid any power company to build a powerhouse that burns coal.
To make direct government grants, and give tax credits, to companies that build wind turbines off the Jersey shore.
To grant subsidies, tax credits, and special privileges to anyone who installs solar batteries on his house or other property. (He would do better to lift some of the land-use restrictions. That way, anyone building a solar battery wouldn’t need any special privileges.)
To encourage power companies to build more powerhouses in the State.
To encourage conservation—using less. (To use less energy in government facilities is not wrong. To tell a private homeowner or business owner how much energy he uses, would be wrong.)
Why did Chris Christie say those things?
Well, according to The Star-Ledger (Newark), Chris Christie’s various officers aren’t on the same page. The environment commissioner says yes, AGW is real. The public utilities commissioner says no, there’s nothing to it.
Former New Jersey State Senator Richard J. LaRossa told your editor once that:
Where you stand, depends on where you sit.
Nothing shows that better than the split between those two commissioners. If you’re an environmental bureaucrat, all the world is one big source of pollution. If you’re a utility commissioner, you want the lights to stay on. No wonder they’re split.
Chris Christie could settle this by supporting human liberty and limited government. Clearly he doesn’t believe in that, or he wouldn’t have made that kind of speech.
Featured image: Chris Christie as United States Attorney for New Jersey. Photo: US Department of Justice