In early August, we released our grades for the 2016 presidential candidates on energy and climate issues. Since then, a lot has happened, including one candidate (former Texas Gov. Rick Perry) dropping out, two Republican debates, and a variety of comments on energy and environmental issues by the candidates. One candidate in particular, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, has made statements that are not at all in keeping with anything we'd consider to be strong, smart or forward-thinking position on clean energy and climate change. For instance:
- On September 3, Platts reported, "The State of New Jersey opposes the unprecedented regulatory overreach represented by the EPA's final rule on carbon pollution emission guidelines for existing stationary units." For his part, Gov. Christie argued, "The Clean Power Plan is yet another example of the Obama Administration inappropriately reaching far beyond its legal authority to implement more onerous and more burdensome regulations on businesses and state governments alike."
- On September 8, Christie responded to a question about the need to "keep 80% of fossil fuels in the ground," saying he did not agree. Christie also ripped the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) as a "radical environmental polic[y]" and a "farce" aimed at "charg[ing] you higher taxes on your energy bills in order to say that they're saving the environment."
- Finally, The Guardian reported that the Republican debate on September 16, "Christie, who has previously stated that he believes climate change to be real, demurred when asked if he had an answer to “sceptics” like Rubio.," adding his view that "we don’t need this massive government intervention to deal with the problem [of climate change]," and that "[w]e shouldn’t be destroying our economy in order to chase some wild leftwing idea that somehow us by ourselves is going to fix the climate."
As a result of these highly unfortunate comments, we are lowering Christie's grade from a "B" to a "D".