Environment

The Morano Gauntlet

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJun 2, 2011 11:02 AM

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Michael Levi at his Council on Foreign Relations blog has an interesting take on a recent decision by New Jersey's Governor:

People who care about climate change are understandably upset with Chris Christie's announcement that he's pulling New Jersey out of the Regional Greeenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the first-of-a-kind cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide emissions in the northeast. Indeed Governor Christie's justification for withdrawing is pretty much nonsense: he claims that RGGI was an unacceptable tax on electricity "“ yet the cost of RGGI permits was far too low to have any meaningful impact on ratepayers. So why one cheer? Because in the course of rejecting RGGI, Christie embraced the reality of the climate problem. Last fall, he said he was skeptical that human-caused climate change was a real problem. In his withdrawal announcement, though, he made it pretty clear that he thought climate change was a serious matter. This is no small thing for a rising star in a party that has increasingly made climate denial a litmus test for its leadership.

Levi's point in that last sentence is reinforced by Marc Morano's reaction, who is now trying to dim that star or force it closer to the Inhofe/Morano orbit. What's interesting is Levi's glass half full perspective on Christie's announcement (my emphasis):

Indeed I'd argue that given a choice between having Christie participate in RGGI but deny climate change, or reject RGGI but accept climate change, people who care about climate change should prefer the latter. RGGI is a weak cap-and-trade program that currently has minimal direct impact on emissions. Someone who denies climate change is not going to strengthen the program, or support stronger alternatives at the federal level. In contrast, someone who accepts that climate change is real has at least left the door open to supporting serious policies that might combat it down the road.

And that is why Morano will be giving Christie the Gingrich treatment for the foreseeable future. The message should be clear by now: any Republican contenders for President will be forced to run the Morano gauntlet if they don't march in lockstep with the newly hardened GOP orthodoxy on global warming. Or they could take Morano's advice, which he delivered in this recent AP article:

Republican presidential hopefuls can believe in man-made global warming as long as they never talk about it, and oppose all the so-called solutions.

Spoken like a true climate capo. UPDATE:Morano takes offense. Readers coming here from Climate Depot should check out my response.

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