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Climate Cowardice On Earth Day

NJ Senate Environment Committee Chairman Runs Away From His Own Climate Bill

Fossil Corporate CEO’s Given A Propaganda Platform And Praised

Climate Activists Are Passive, Clueless, And Evasive

Yesterday the Senate Environment Committee met to hear testimony from “invited guests” on climate adaptation (see my set up story where I outlined the key issues).

I have been unable to access the hearing audio tape on the NJ Legislature’s website – I either lack the software or a fast enough internet connection to listen, so, I don’t know what went down.

But Tom Johnson of NJ Spotlight covered the hearing, and his story today is really a perfect example of how and why the climate emergency is not being taken seriously in Trenton and many other places. Unfortunately, I have to rely on that coverage.

So, let’s take a look and highlight the most egregious abuses and name names.

1. Corporate Fossil CEO’s Are “Invited Guests”, Given a Propaganda Platform, and Praised

What NJ Spotlight called “a trio of energy executives” were “invited guests”: Ralph Izzo, chairman, CEO and president of the Public Service Enterprise Group and Robert Pohlman, a vice president of corporate strategies for New Jersey Resources, the owner of New Jersey Natural Gas (it was not reported who was the third of this “trio”).

They are given a platform and uncritical coverage by Spotlight to spout their misleading and self serving corporate propaganda. Izzo even got a paragraph subheadline: “Izzo’s five steps for NJ”

(none of which “steps” included stricter regulation or mandates to replace or supplement the current policy, which is limited to corporate subsidies and incentives. And the cynical support for a price on carbon was truly disgusting).

“Coincidentally”, just 2 days prior, Tom Johnson wrote a gag inducing fawning piece on Mr. Izzo’s career and retirement.

Just coincidentally, of course, just like this was a “coincidence”:

Coincidentally, the state Department of Environmental Protection announced Thursday the allocation of an additional $6 million to offset the purchase of electric trucks in vulnerable communities.

If you think either of those events was a “coincidence”, you need help (just like it is a “coincidence” that PSE&G funds NJ Spotlight and several lame environmental groups).

In contrast to this disgusting Trenton corporate lovefest, when even the moderate corporate Democrats in Congress seek testimony from fossil industry executives on climate issues, it’s not to provide them a propaganda platform and to praise them.

And even the lame corporate media tries to hold them accountable.  Examples of the typical recent storyline, which have only gotten worse with skyrocketing gas prices – and corporate profits:

And many people view NJ Spotlight as a “progressive” news source. Tom Johnson is cynical and should have retired a decade ago.

2. Chairman Smith Ran Away From His Own Climate Bill

If you read the NJ Spotlight headline (“policy change in the works” – “previews bill”) and the Spotlight story, you could only think that new climate legislation is pending –  as in the future:

By the end of the year, the chairman of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee hopes to have a bill ready that will outline new policy directions to fight climate change in New Jersey.

But the fact is that Senator Smith already introduced major new climate legislation, S1602.

That bill would put teeth in NJ’s Global Warming Response Act and make the emission reduction goals enforceable in DEP air permits.

As I wrote in my set up story:

Curiously, Chairman Smith has yet to post his own GHG emissions reduction bill, co-sponsored by Senator Greenstein, S1602, which Authorizes regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under “Air Pollution Control Act (1954)” and “Global Warming Response Act. (for analysis of that bill, see:

Senator Smith apparently refused to even mention that important bill. He ran away from his own bill!

NJ Spotlight failed to report on that important bill.

We have a longstanding pattern of failure that can not possibly be an oversight: they never reported – for 15 years – the legal fact that the Global Warming Response Act goals are aspirational and not enforceable. They never reported on my repeated calls on Smith to put teeth in the law. And they never reported when the bill was introduced in February.

Climate activists apparently failed to even mention, never mind support, that important bill. Instead, they repeated their campaign talking points calling for a moratorium on new fossil infrastructure and for DEP to deny permits on pending new fossil projects.

Of course, the corporate executives didn’t mention that bill in their corporate spin.

Yet, without the legislative authority in that bill, the emission reduction goals of NJ’s Global Warming Response Act will remain aspirational and not enforceable.

DEP will be unable to deny permits for the major new fossil infrastructure and enforce a moratorium on major new GHG emissions sources that the climate activists targeted.

NJ needs a real climate law, like New York State, see:

3. NJ Spotlight is Misleading Readers About Growth In Greenhouse Gas Emissions

According to a recent Empower NJ Report, the Murphy DEP has approved permits for major new GHG emissions sources that have increased GHG emissions by 19.3 million tons, or about a 20% increase in total Statewide emissions.

But NJ Spotlight ignored that.

NJ Spotlight not only ignored that, they reported exactly the opposite: that emissions have declined:

New Jersey has reduced greenhouse-gas emissions by 20% below 2006 levels since it adopted the Global Warming Response Act in 2007, but it is far short of the 80% drop in carbon emissions the law targeted by 2050.

After giving corporate fossil CEO’s a platform to spew their propaganda, and failing to accurately report critical facts, NJ Spotlight closed the story with this “balance”:

But Ken Polsky (SIC) and Anjuli Ramos-Busot, both representing Empower NJ, urged the committee to refrain from promoting those fuels as a waste of resources, saying they would continue to exacerbate the impacts of climate change.

As it has lobbied for the last couple of years, Empower NJ wants the state to ban new construction of fossil fuel projects. Polsky and Ramos-Busot urged the Murphy administration to prevent seven current seven fossil fuel projects from being approved and built.

In a scathing recent press release, Empower NJ blasted the Gov., see:

NJ Spotlight whitewashes that criticism.

And no one is even talking about the facts that NJ laws to promote and require renewable energy are not linked to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Gov. Murphy’s Energy Master Plan’s renewable energy goals are in no way linked to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The Gov.’s off shore wind renewable energy has not and will not displace fossil fuels.

As currently designed and under current laws, renewable energy will primarily if not exclusively serve growth in electricity demand and not displace fossil power (mainly gas fired power).

For a solid analysis of how renewables serve new demand growth, see:

Since all this is well known, the failure to mention any of it amounts to cowardice – and that is astonishing in the face of the accelerating climate emergency and obvious failure by State leaders.

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