GLOBAL WARMING, CLIMATE CHANGE & CARBON POLLUTION
Attitudes on carbon pollution may be changing: During Sen. Barbara Buono’s campaign for the governorship, the NJ chapter of Americans for Prosperity (whose director for many years was the ill-fated Steve Lonegan) said, “Cap and Trade is dead. Yet this is the very kind of scheme that Senator Buono supports.” Well, good for her! Governor Christie had followed the Republican orthodoxy when he ended NJ’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The NY Times now points out that “More than two dozen of the nation’s biggest corporations, including Walmart, G. E., Microsoft and the five major oil companies, are planning their future growth on the expectation that the government will force them to pay a price for carbon pollution as a way to control global warming.” AFT is funded by Koch Industries, a major player in oil refineries, which has spent a lot of money over the years campaigning against those who accept the science of climate change or advocate carbon pricing. If Walmart and Exxon accept cap and trade as inevitable and Christie acknowledges “climate change is real and human activity plays a role,” we might yet succeed in putting a price on carbon pollution and reversing the disastrous path we are are currently following.
Off-shore wind turbine energy projects are one approach: Yesterday Environment New Jersey, Sen. President Steve Sweeney and Sen. Jim Whelan joined to urge Governor Christie and the Board of Public Utilities to get off their rear ends and implement the 2010 law which calls for the establishment of off-shore projects. Environment New Jersey estimates that carbon pollution could be reduced by 825,000 metric tons in 2018 – equivalent to carbon pollution produced by 171,000 cars. In spite of the fact that our southern NJ coast has the high winds needed, other states may well leap ahead us if we do not seize the moment. Yes the investment is not inexpensive, but it could be far more beneficial in the long run that many other State commitments, including those to Revel Casino.
Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)
I had an opportunity to talk with him in 1996 at the XI International AIDS Conference in Vancouver, Canada where the meeting theme was “One World One Hope” – appropriate for people working together in the AIDS epidemic, and not inappropriate for a man who united individuals throughout the world. Already in somewhat fragile health, he displayed dignity, conviction, and concern. With his own nation wracked by the AIDS epidemic he took time to ask about HIV in NJ and what we were doing. I remember to this day the African garb he was wearing, his gentleness, the twinkle in his eyes, and his warmth.
Governor Christie: goes to Northern Idaho for a fund-raising, VIP reception for Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter this evening.
Enroll America: brings its ACA “Get Covered America” campaign to Elizabeth for a health panel hosted by the National Council of Negro Women, Grassman Hall, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, 655 E. Jersey St, 9:00am – 1:00pm.