Why Is It So Hard For NJ Media to Call Out Gov. Christie on Climate Change?
Christie May Not Be A Total Denier, But He Is A Radical Dismantler of Climate Change Programs
Climate change is of NO CONCERN to Gov. Christie and he’s said so himself and demonstrated that by his actions multiple times for over 3 years. ~~~~ Bill Wolfe, March 15, 2013
A story in today’s Bergen Record prompts the question:
Why is it so hard for NJ Media to accurately portray the Governor’s record or call out Christie on Climate Change?
Today, very similar to what we have written (see this Jan. 11 post), the Record story compares Gov. Christie’s Sandy Recovery Plan with NY Gov. Cuomo’s plan, see: Rebuild vs. retreat: Christie and Cuomo offer contrasting plans in wake of Sandy
We won’t focus on the bias in that headline – i.e. disparaging sound, cost effective, regional land use planning recommended by the overwhelming majority of scientific experts and a diverse set of professionals as “retreat” shows absurd bias. We’ll save that debate for another day.
But, I do want to focus on how that story characterizes Governor Christie’s stance on climate change.
Here’s how the Record reporter describes that:
Christie, a Republican who said immediately after superstorm Sandy struck in October that climate change was not his “main concern,” is offering owners of flood-damaged homes $10,000 in exchange for a promise to do repairs and stay in their homes for at least two years.
Not his “main concern”? What? Are you kidding me?
Climate change is of NO CONCERN to Gov. Christie and he’s said so himself and demonstrated that by his actions multiple times for over 3 years.
Both the Gov.’s rhetoric and his policies – over a 3 year period – show that climate is of no concern, not a just a lower priority isssue, i.e. not a “main concern”.
So why is this so hard for the press to hold the Gov. accountable to that radical position?
Let me again offer a few specific examples of the Christie rhetoric and the policy:
1. In a recent February 5, 2013 Union Beach press conference, yes, technically, as the Record reported today, the Gov. did say that climate change was not his “main concern“.
But those were the Gov. words, designed to soften a rant and mask his radical policy record.
The context for the Gov.’s not my “main concern” quote was a rant in which the Gov. called climate change an “esoteric issue” that the public “did not give a damn about” and that he had not spent any time – repeat: any time at all – considering.
“I have no idea. I’m not a climatologist and in the last hundred days I have to tell you the truth, I’ve been focused on a lot of things, the cause of this is not one of them that I’ve focused on,” Christie said in response to a question about the role climate change could have played in fueling the Oct. 29, 2012 storm. “Now, maybe in the subsequent months and years, after I get done with trying to rebuild the state and put people back in their homes, I will have the opportunity to ponder theesoteric question of the cause of this storm. …If you asked of these people in Union Beach, I don’t think they give a damn.” NJ Gov. Chris Christie, Feb. 5. 2013
2. Prior to Christie’s February 5 rant, the Gov. told WNYC’s reporter Bob Hennelly – who asked him a point blank climate question – that he had not been briefed on or considered climate change in 18 months. On Dec. 7, 2012, WNYC reported:
Nancy Solomon, New Jersey Public Radio) As Sandy gathered force and then slammed into his state, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie batted off question’s about climate change.
“I know there are some folks at Rutgers who are looking at whether climate caused all this, but I certainly haven’t been briefed in the last year, year-and-a-half on this,” Christie told WNYC’s Bob Hennelly last month.
How is it possible for the Governor of a coastal state, with the nation’s most aggressive climate change law (i.e. the 2007 Global Warming Response Act) not to have been briefed for 18 months on climate change?
So again, by the Gov. own words, climate change played NO ROLE – not a subordinate role – but NO ROLE in the Governor’s decisions.
3. On the policy front, the evidence is even worse.
- The Governor has dismantled DEP Office of Climate Change created in the Commissioner’s Office to implement the 2007 Global Warming Response Act. (see CHRISTIE SHREDS NEW JERSEY CLIMATE CHANGE PROGRAMS – Kills Emission Reporting, Diverts Green Energy Fund & Defunds Climate Office
- The Governor unilaterally removed NJ from the Northeastern States’ Regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions program (RGGI), virtually the only NJ program to implement the NJ GWRA GHG emissions reduction goals. That radical move has come under political attack in the legislature and legal attack by lawsuit from environmental groups.
- The Governor has diverted over $800 million of Clean Energy Fund money designed to fund critical energy efficiency, conservation and greenhouse gas emission reduction programs.
- The Governor revised the Energy Master Plan to reduce energy conservation goals, to promote construction of new fossil power plants, to build new gas pipelines to transport fracking gas and to erect arbitrary economic “cost test” barriers to renewables.
- The Governor has done nothing but divert money from renewable energy programs, is presiding over the decline of the solar industry, and off shore wind development is dead in the water.
The Governor has engaged an across the board assault and dismantling of virtually anything related to climate change – it is a radical and ugly record.
That radical record can not be characterized by the misleading and lazy claim that climate change is not his “main concern”.
Why is this story so hard for the NJ media to write?
Why do they flinch from holding the Gov. accountable to this radical record?
In closing, this is one of the few news stories that come close to calling the Gov. out and accurately portraying his policy: Sandy recovery, not climate, on Governor Christie’s radar
Update #2 : 5/15/13 – Wa-Po Op-Ed by the Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuval Christie’s Broken Promise – conclusion sounds familiar:
He may not be engaging in climate denial talk — but he’s embracing climate denial policies.
In another erie parallel, Katrina also cites the 400 ppm CO2 threshold, a milestone I urged Dems to use as a millstone around Christie’s neck , on the same day she wrote the column, May 14! – end update]
Update #1 : 4/28/13 – HALLELUJAH!!! (listen to Leonard Cohen)
Tom Moran at the Star Ledger finally breaks the ice with this editorial: Gov. Christie’s towering hypocrisy on climate
But, I had to write my old friend a note, just to keep it real:
Tom – thanks for that, you’re the first to break this ice:
But, you obviously must know that putting Pringle in that piece was obscene – Pringle and NJEF not only endorsed Christie, but provided cover for 2 years – the key period when this policy framework was put in place with no media or legislative pushback !
Rewarding that by writing him into your editorial is an insult to the truth.
Wolfe – end updates]