I’m not quite sure what to make of the rumors that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will pull the plug on his star-crossed presidential campaign by the end of the month. Heck, I almost feel bad for the guy…almost.
You may recall that four years ago, Christie gave a bizarre fourteen-minute speech in which he acknowledged that human-caused climate change was real before announcing that he would pull his state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a Northeastern-based cap-and-trade program, on the specious grounds that the program was ineffective. Several months later, investigative journalist Brad Friedman revealed that Christie made this decision shortly after meeting privately with Charles and David Koch. (Just a coincidence, I’m sure.)
It appears that Christie now knows what it’s like to go out with a wealthy man who says he loves you, only to leave you a few years later for a younger, slimmer model (in this case, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker). Now that Christie has apparently been dumped, what should he do next?
If and when he drops out of the race, Christie might be able to redeem himself by going back to New Jersey and moving to put his state back into RGGI. After all, if he no longer has to genuflect to the greenhouse-gas gentry, why not rejoin a program that has undisputed economic and environmental benefits?
As the New Jersey Star-Ledger noted last year, Christie’s withdraw from RGGI wreaked economic havoc on the Garden State:
It’s official: The governor is so averse to a green economy, he burns money.
Someone has finally slapped a price tag on Gov. Christie’s environmental indifference. According to an analysis from Environment Northeast, his decision to pull out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in 2011 has already cost New Jersey $114 million in revenue from cap-and-trade auctions, and staying out of the carbon reduction venture will cost the state another $387 million over the next six years.
It was providence that created a lowering of emissions – the economy tanked, and many power plants switched from coal to cheaper natural gas, which releases half as much carbon as coal – but this is another inexcusable waste of funds that could be used toward green investments.
And it still does not compute.
This was the governor who once acknowledged that climate change is probably a scientific fact and is probably man-made, but his national ambition drives him to pray at the altar of the Koch Brothers.
He accepts the science, but not the ramifications of the science – at least not when it is politically inconvenient.
Christie made a major mistake when he walked away from RGGI in the name of political convenience. He can undo that mistake before he leaves office. Does he have the guts to do so?
UPDATE: More from Politico.