I’ve noted before that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie won’t do anything before Charles and David Koch tell him it’s OK, so I can’t help wondering if Christie’s recent remarks on climate change represent a strategic shift by his patrons.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie admitted that he thinks climate change is real and that humans contribute to it at an event in New Hampshire last week.

But Christie, a likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate, also added that he thinks the degree to which humans contribute is questionable, according to MSNBC.

“I think global warming is real. I don’t think that’s deniable,” he said. “And I do think human activity contributes to it.”

Christie also said that the U.S. or a single group of states “can’t be acting unilaterally…when folks in China are doing things to the environment that we would never be done in our country.”

“There’s no use in denying global warming exists. The question is what we do to deal with it,” Christie said.

Four years ago, Christie spoke at length about the reality of human-caused climate change while simultaneously bashing the multi-state carbon-reduction initiative known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, falsely claiming that it was an ineffective boondoggle. Several months later, investigative journalist Brad Friedman exposed Christie’s ties to the Kochs; Friedman’s report was cited in a segment originally filmed for the 2014 Showtime documentary Years of Living Dangerously.

After diving into denial in 2013, Christie has now reverted to his 2011 position; acknowledging that human-caused climate change is real, while simultaneously expressing a profound unwillingness to do anything to curb carbon pollution. You have to think that as the evidence of the risk posed by climate change continues to mount, the Kochs have now decided to start moving away from all-out denial towards acknowledging that climate change is a fact, while asserting that any proposed solution is worse than the problem.

The partisan divide on climate won’t end until Republicans find the courage to stand up to the Kochs and other opponents of action on climate change, and propose solutions such as a federal revenue-neutral carbon tax. Is that day coming sooner, later, or never?

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.