Earlier this year Gov. Christie broke ground in the politics of the environment by pulling the state out of a Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Environmentalists expressed shock and awe. No other governor in any other state had done this before. Christie said the treaty simply wasn't effective.
Last week, as expected, Christie followed up by vetoing a Democratic attempt to force Christie back into the initiative. But in his veto message, the former skeptic on global warming came out fully behind the belief that human beings have a role in warming the planet. This puts him at odds with all but one of the Republicans running for president, and pretty much the entire vocal base of the GOP.
"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 these changes are impacting our state, I simply disagree that RGGI is an effective mechanism for addressing global warming."
He says RGGI did not encourage energy producers to lower their use of carbon-based fuels. He uses a free-market, conservative argument to make his point: "Reduced emissions have occurred as a result of the increased use of natural gas, the decreased use of coal and a drop in total demand for electricity. In other words, the market -- and not RGGI -- has created incentives to reduce the use of carbon-based fuels."
Democratic Assemblyman John F. McKeon, chairman of the environment committee, will pursue an override of Christie's veto. He called the veto "a giant step backwards in our march towards a clean energy economy and the creation of thousands of clean jobs."