Moral Low Ground

Our Earth

‘The Moral High Ground’: N.J. Republican Governor Chris Christie Admits Man-Made Climate Change is a Real Problem Impacting his State

Chris Christie, New Jersey’s Republican governor, has come full circle in his views on climate change.

Last year he told a town hall audience in Toms River that he was skeptical about anthropogenic climate change– man-made global warming, saying it hadn’t been proven and that there was evidence to support theories for and against it.

A Republican who believes in man-made global warming is harder to find than tits on a turtle… (Photo: Bob Jagendorf)

But to his great credit, Christie actually attended a conference of environmentalists this May– which for conservatives is akin to a vampire going to a garlic festival– and met with climate scientists who schooled him on global warming and its causes.

“Climate change is real,” he refreshingly declared while, sadly, vetoing a bill that would have mandated New Jersey remain in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a 10-state program designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the main cause of climate change. “Human activity plays a role in these changes,” he said, adding that climate change is “impacting our state.”

“I can’t claim to fully understand this,” he told NJ.com. “Certainly not after just a few months of study. But when you have over 90% of the world’s scientists who have studied this stating that climate change is occurring and that humans play a contributing role, it’s time to defer to the experts.”

“We know enough to know that we are at least part of the problem,” he added.

Bravo, Mr. Christie. Many readers, especially those of you who live outside of the United States, are probably shaking your head in wonderment that anyone could be so ignorant not to believe the overwhelming majority (97%) of climate scientists who study the problem who concur that climate change is a clear and present danger caused by human activity. But in the U.S., a Republican who believes in global warming is harder to find than tits on a turtle.

GOP presidential candidate and former Utah Governor John Huntsman is an even rarer breed of Republican– he actually believes in both evolution and global warming. Huntsman said that he couldn’t recall a time when “we actually were willing to shun science and become a party that was antithetical to science. I’m not sure that’s good for our future and it’s not a winning formula.”

Actually, Huntsman may be wrong about that. Among the current GOP presidential front runners, Michele Bachmann believes that man-made climate change is “manufactured science.” A Christian fundamentalist, she believes in “intelligent design–” a not-so-fancy way of saying ‘God’ created the universe and everything in it. Texas Governor Rick Perry is also a creationist, proclaiming that “God is how we got here.”  Perry believes that global warming is based on “scientists manipulating data.” And Mitt Romney has hedged his bet, agreeing with Bachmann and Perry that “God designed the universe” but adding that “I believe evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body.” On global warming, Romney joins the minority of pro-science Republicans in affirming that it is indeed very real and man-made, adding that he thinks “it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you’re seeing.’’

Indeed, the national science institutes of the following countries (and this list is not complete) all concur that climate change is real and caused by human activity: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, France, Ghana, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe…

… as well as the following scientific organizations in the United States (and again, this list is very far from complete): American Chemical Society, American Institute of Physics, American Physical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Society for Microbiology, Society of American Foresters, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Medical Association, American Public Health Association, American Astronomical Society, American Association of State Climatologists, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, American Geological Institute, NASA.

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