Chris Christie Sides With the Koch Brothers on Climate Change

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie likes to pretend that he’s a moderate, bipartisan straight-talker, but when it comes down to it, he’s a just as beholden to the Tea Party/Koch Brother agenda as any Republican. He governs a blue state, so cannot wear his extremism on his sleeve like, say, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, but his actions make it clear where his ideological allegiance lies. He repeatedly cuts pensions for public workers to “balance the budget” while refusing to raise taxes on the 1%. He attacks unions while pledging taxpayer-funded subsidies to massive corporate projects like Revel, a casino that failed spectacularly. He abuses his powers as governor to punish Democrats (see: Christie’s Bridgegate exploits). Against this backdrop, it’s no surprise that Christie opposes efforts to combat the dire threat of climate change.

To be sure, he has maintained a thin veneer of concern about the dangers posed by a warming climate. He declared in his first term: “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.” Not coincidentally, this quote comes from 2011, with a 2012 reelection looming. Achieving a blowout in a blue state required winning over centrists and even some Democrats, which meant feigning concern about climate change.

Alas, as is usually the case for Chris Christie, his actions speak louder than his bombastic words. In 2011, the same year he advocated “deferring to the experts,” Christie pulled New Jersey out of a nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a nine-state program established to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants through cap-and-trade. In a trip to Mexico in early September, Christie called the plan “completely useless” and insisted that, despite mounting pressure, he “would not think of rejoining it.” Christie claims that New Jersey should not participate in part because Pennsylvania – presided over by pro-fracking, anti-science Republican Governor Tom Corbett – is not a member and it would put his state at a disadvantage. If Christie truly took the warnings of scientists seriously, he would not rely on a pathetic “I won’t because they don’t” excuse when the cost of inaction is catastrophic.

But wait, Christie has other arguments: regulating greenhouse gasses sharply raises energy costs. Except that it doesn’t. The Analysis Group, a Boston consulting firm, shows a negligible increase of less than 1% from 2005 – 2011, the years in which New Jersey participated in the program. Any increases in energy costs were more than offset by $18 million in fees charged to acquire energy permits (no wonder the Kochs oppose cap-and-trade), which also had the benefit of raising much-needed revenue for New Jersey. The same report shows that economies in participating states have actually improved. So much for the stock Republican talking point that cap-and-trade eliminates jobs.

Christie’s opposition to bringing New Jersey into the RGGI is not only anti-science and bad economics; it’s also fundamentally undemocratic. 80 percent of New Jersey adults support government action to fight climate change (a sentiment influenced by the devastation of hurricane Sandy). The New Jersey state legislature has voted twice in favor of rejoining the initiative; both times it was vetoed by Christie. The New Jersey Superior Court ruled that by neglecting to hold a public hearing, Christie did not follow the necessary procedure to withdraw from the initiative. Christie finally met the requirement last month, years after an election in which public knowledge of the governor’s energy policy might have informed the decisions of New Jersey voters.

Not everyone disagrees with Christie’s decision, however. Tim Phillips, President of the Koch Brothers’ Super PAC Americans for Prosperity, voiced his approval: “We were exceedingly pleased that the governor got New Jersey out of the RGGI boondoggle. It’s something that A.F.P. in New Jersey worked hard on, and the governor listened, and we applauded him pulling out and applaud him for refusing to go back in.” It is clear that the Koch Brothers’ money, not the “experts” whose opinions Governor Christie disingenuously claimed to value so highly, inform his policy.

All this is especially tragic and infuriating given the massive devastation the state of New Jersey suffered at the hands of Superstorm Sandy. Christie loves to bring up the unsubstantiated risks of lost jobs and higher prices even as studies put the lie to his claims. He loves to quibble over small fines levied on absurdly wealthy energy companies. But he passes on an opportunity to fight climate change and help reduce the risk of extreme weather events that actually wreak havoc on the economy and the lives of the people he has pledged to serve. Such is the state of “moderate Republicans” circa 2014.

22 Replies to “Chris Christie Sides With the Koch Brothers on Climate Change”

  1. Another way to ignore scientific facts, become one of the Koch brothers puppet show! All those under the thumb of the KB are only interested in self grandizement, not the public’s best interest. No Presidential votes for HIM!

  2. He never answered my e-mail. All I asked of him was to look into the camera and say ” bring me the Wookie”.

  3. That’s no surprise..all of the teathugliKKKans are koch sucking addicts serving the rich & the rich only..Vote Blue!

  4. New Jersey is a cesspool of a state, it is nothing but pollution and when the coast line disappears under the sea maybe Christie’s children will have to suffer his scientific illiteracy.

  5. Christie isn’t scientifically illiterate, and neither is another Koch mouthpiece, Bobby Jindal. What they are are bought and paid for puppets of Big Energy who will sell us and their kids out to further their political careers. All the Koch Bros. and other Big Energy players have to do is snap their fingers, and Christie, Jindal, Corbett, McConnell, and other RW politicians will go anywhere they tell them to go and do anything they tell them to do in regard to climate change.

  6. ‘Must Read’ The 1 big reason GOP will lose the presidency in 2016! Market

    “Warning to GOP: A new poll says you can kiss the presidency goodbye for 10 more long years: Why? “Voters have little tolerance for a presidential candidate in 2016 who doesn’t believe that climate change is caused by human activity.” More on that below. But that means the GOP is destined to be on the outside of the White House for 10 more years, playing by the same total-defense playbook that didn’t work the last two presidential elections”.

  7. So, Christie is another “non-thinking” greedy Koch Brothers puppet whose favorite color is green, marching under the banner of climate change “deniers” while kissing their butts. He, as the others in the camp, is insecure in his own ability to run for office. In reality, he has NO ability to win on his own “merit.”

    “…to thine own self be true…”

  8. Christie will be running in 2016.
    He’ll need Koch to finance his campaign.

    If he takes the nomination, it will take mothers and educated young adults to overwhelm young the Evangelico- NASCAR- Archie Bunker- Clyde Bundy tribe.

    Voter turnout is the poison that can kill a Christie win.

  9. My question about these republican scumbags, is those in the house that have slithered away for a couple of months, who made it clear that they would do everything to oppose the President the day he was elected, do not even care about the subject of war for the US, our president is literally fighting to save the American way of life and those that are fighting him expect to be re-elected, and due to brain dead republicans who only live to
    get money to represent corporations, they will get elected again and again.

  10. Well of course he is, because when you are a Republican, you are a puppet to the Kochfascists. ALL Republicans get elected to do their bidding, not the people who vote for them or pay their salaries. Only when the idiots that vote for these puppets realize who they are voting to be in control of this country,and stop stupidly voting for them, will anything change.

  11. Of course hes gonna ass-kiss Kochs & Adelson, this fat pig needs his meal ticket for him and his fat family. Grosses me out the thought of those fat lazy children in the white house. Christie doesnt have a chance to beat Hillary, btw, what experience does he have with foreign leaders – NONE. Christie is not qualified. Period!

  12. One of the funds leftover from John D. Rockefeller recently put out a statement that they’re divesting in all fossil fuels. The fund is $800’000’000 but oversees fifty billion dollars globally. The main focus initially the funds heirs explained will be to divest down to less then one percent in coal and all fossil fuels. University endowments all over America are divesting billions in fossil fuels. These funds will instead invest billions toward green energy sources. Sign of the times indeed.

  13. Most of the presidential wantabees on the RINO end of the Republicans are pure evil.
    Mike Huckabee’s son and a friend found a starving stray dog covered with mange. They slit its throat, threw rocks at it, and finally killed it by hanging it.
    THEN to show that the apple doesnt fall far from the tree, Mike buryed the incident and made sure his son received no punishment.
    Likewise when his son got caught by the TSA for trying to bring a gun on plane, the story was buried.
    All this would make a good subject for another article

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