You do realize that we’ve lost, right? Corporatism and billionaires have hijacked our futures. Yours, mine, and our children’s. It’s just about too late. Here’s what we have to look forward to:
An America in which corporations and billionaires buy and sell elections whereby they will have control over resources, laws, and our health (see Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission).
An America where right-wing media cries “hoax” and “junk science” whenever climate change and our contribution to it is addressed to keep a large segment of the population against doing anything about it (see anyone on FOX News).
An America where the billionaires like the Koch brothers simply call our “representatives” (see Governor Christie of NJ) and our “Supreme Court Justices” (see Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia), and say, “hey, let’s chat about how we can make government more ‘business- friendly’ “…and they come a runnin’ to Palm Springs…or break bread with them at Drumthwacket.
An America where we focus on Weiners and American Idols and
insane inane politicians who think that if they label journalists as “lamestream” then they don’t ever have to ever be held accountable to us through them… (see Sarah “Word Salad” Palin).
In my state of New Jersey, we are seeing right before our very eyes the “Koch-ification” of Chris Christie. I mean, we already know the guy is a huge liar. How do we know? His lips are moving! Hey, I got a million of ’em!
Besides the fact that I think Christie has decided to Robin Hood the middle class and working poor in order to support the moneyed interests for his future presidential run, this latest flip-flop he has done on the environment and this climate change initiative is particularly galling.
Here is the transcript from a political ad run by Christie when he was running for governor in 2008:
There’s no doubt that renewable energy is the future here in New Jersey and there is really no better time than for us the begin the discussion of not only how it will lead us to energy independence, but also how it will help create more good paying, middle class jobs for New Jerseyans. It’s a change that President Obama stands firmly behind. I couldn’t agree more…
By golly, he sounds like a good little environmentalist there. He seems to continue his level-headed understanding (if not a reversal of thinking after much research he claims) of humans role in climate change just recently:
“In the past I’ve always said that climate change is real and it’s impacting our state,” Christie said at the start of a 14-minute prepared statement. “There’s undeniable data that CO2 levels and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere are increasing. This decade, average temperatures have been rising. Temperature changes are affecting weather patterns and our climate.” He goes on to say that he has a sincere wish that we pursue the “policies…that get at reducing those contributing factors.”
Wow. Don’t you just love this guy?! He’s all about deferring to 90 percent of the world’s scientists who call on us to try to reverse the effects of global warming by reducing greenhouse gases, using renewable energy, conservation, and by extension, producing green jobs in Jersey. He’s da man! Whoops, except that was CANDIDATE Christie. Here’s what GOVERNOR Christie says and does now:
“After extensive review with the [Department of Environmental Protection] and others in my administration, our analysis … reveals that this program is not effective in reducing greenhouse gases and is unlikely to be in the future,” he said in transcripts provided to SolveClimate News by the governor’s office.
“RGGI allowances were never expensive enough to change behavior as they were intended to and ultimately fuel different choices,” Christie said. “In other words, the whole system is not working as it was intended to work. It’s a failure.
“RGGI does nothing more than tax electricity, tax our citizens, tax our businesses, with no discernible or measurable impact upon our environment,” he continued.
Oh really? A failure? According to much of what I have read about this, here are some facts about this Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative program that I have learned:
- according to a February 2011 report from RGGI Inc., a nonprofit group that oversees the program, which found that climate change air pollution across the region had fallen 30 percent.
- Regional energy costs reportedly dropped between 15 and 30 percent, due partly to RGGI-funded energy efficiency programs that created a year’s worth of work for nearly 18,000 people across the 10 states.
Oh. Okay. Duh.
Interestingly, the governor evidently raided this fund of 65 million dollars to help balance the state’s budget, thereby cheating those who paid into the fund and those who were supposed to benefit by it by reducing their energy costs. There are calls for returning that money back to those who were to benefit by it under the function and auspices of RGGI, but as usual, the great and powerful Oz has decided to flip the bird to that idea. Just like the money he squandered in the race to the top fiasco, and the high-speed transit line project he demolished, Christie just takes the money and runs, or blows the money needlessly, sticks his thumbs in his ears, wiggles his fingers and sings, “nah-nah-nah-nah-poo-poo, I can do whatever I want to do!”
What caused this change of heart? Well if you are a skeptic (moi–a skeptic? Never!) you might think that the drooling over Christie by those fabulous Koch boys and the little outfit known as Americans for Prosperity (whose prosperity I wonder?), funded by the Kochs, (or as I like to call them, the two men most likely to cause the destruction of our world as we know it), are responsible. To be fair Christie has endorsed some good things which I am in favor of such as investments in some solar and wind initiatives, but they are small potatoes compared to the possibilities that the RGGI can foster.
The RGGI is a carbon market between 10 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the first mandatory emissions trading plan in the country,which requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 20 percent by the year 2020. By 2050, emissions must reach 80 percent below 2006 levels. Credits can be traded on the open market, so companies that reduce emissions can sell unused credits to less-efficient plants. It is cap and trade, the idea that is more repugnant to a Republican than a second Obama term.
By all accounts, Christie’s claims are fairly shallow about the program’s effectiveness in doing what it has set out to do. If Christie was really swayed by the cost/benefit scenario, he could have used his power as New Jersey’s leader and pushed for tweaks and improvements to the program instead of totally pulling out. If he was truly interested in making a difference. That’s a huge if. But I don’t think he is interested in doing that now that he is being chased by the righties like the last broad left standing at closing time. No, Christie has to appease his money-men at the Americans For Prosperity think-tank, and this was necessary to stay in their good graces. In order to be a good little Republican, one must claim that climate change is either a hoax or combatting it is bad for American business. Iowa ethanol entrepreneur Bruce Rastetter, a man with ties to the Koch brothers was the latest heavy-hitter of the Republican/Tea Party wing of the keep-claiming-there-is-no-climate-change-problem-caused-by-human-activity, at the New Jersey Governor’s Mansion. They want Christie baaaaaad because the rest of the republican presidential candidate field is lame. And we know that Christie needs them. If not for 2012, at least for 2016. Hence, the turn-around on RGGI. The RGGI has been a target of the Kochs, and by extension the Americans For Prosperity evil-doers. Connect the dots to Christie’s aversion to this program and subsequent pull-out.
The New York Times was incredulous as well at the decision made by Christie to pull out of the program:
The program has been remarkably successful, a model of vision and fortitude. Lacking that, Mr. Christie has given in to the corporate and Tea Party interests that revile all forms of cap and trade, letting down the other nine states trying to fight climate change. Since it began in 2008, the system has created more than $700 million for these programs; New Jersey has spent some of its share on helping cities become more energy-efficient. Greenhouse emissions from power plants in the region went down about 12 percent from 2008 to 2010 … Programs like the regional initiative are estimated to have produced more than 10 percent of that decline.
Mr. Christie … claimed this week that the program was not working, a notion that was quickly refuted by five other governors. “Governor Christie is simply wrong when he claims that these efforts are a failure,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland. He said they had an equivalent effect of taking 3,500 cars off the road in his state.
We have wasted decades in the fight against global warming because we allowed our leaders to be led around by the wallet of big business and big-oil and big lobbies. More recently, the wacko media led by the usual suspects Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Beck, Hannity and many others have made climate science denying a mantra which the average uninformed Joe bites on hook, line, and sinker. The recession has made too many people fearful of anything they perceive to be bad for “business” because they create jobs. The trouble with that thinking is that we are already seeing the devastation of that thought process on multiple levels. The natural disasters we have seen just this past year have cost us millions and millions of dollars. Predictions are for even worse weather events which will cause shortages of food and water world-wide. There will be changes to ecosystems and infrastructures due to rising sea levels. Dependence on that damn foreign oil has kept us in a choke-hold of terror, both bodily and financially. Read the Newsweek article this month on the issue, it is eye-opening.
Look at the success story of Germany. They started putting in place decades ago the infrastructure and resources to not only fight climate change, but to grow hundreds of thousands of jobs in the renewable energy field. They invested in that future, and they are now reaping huge benefits, not only financially, but in the global fight against climate change. But we have come to a point here in the United States where we bury our heads in the sand and buy the big lies because we are too lazy to do the work necessary to get educated about the issues. It’s so much easier to flip on the radio and tv and have Roger Ailes’ puppets
lie preach to us without any scrutinization of the information. That takes time, something we evidently think we have a lot of. We don’t. And I’ll be damned if Chris Christie is going to make horrendous decisions about my kid’s future based on pacifying money-men so he can sit his butt in the Oval Office someday. I believe that he is making the decision to pull New Jersey out of this important step in the fight to combat green-house gases and grow alternative energy choices because Charles and David Koch are telling him to, whether directly or indirectly. The Koch’s far-reaching tentacles have reached the Governor’s Mansion in New Jersey and said tentacles are wrapping up its occupant good and tight.
Maybe you like being hijacked. I sure as heck don’t, and I’m not going down without a fight. This program may not be perfect at this moment in time and probably does need improvement, but it is an important first step. Republicans are always crying about how states need to be the incubator of innovations. RGGI is that incubator and Christie has just pulled the plug.