Thursday, April 22, 2010

Changes in the Climate at the NJ Governor's Office

By Jon Lindenauer

For years, Climate Change – the broader, more politically correct terminology denoting “global warming” – has inspired a slew of research and studies, government and media attention, and controversy. From its origins in scientific investigation and debate the issue has spilled over into pop culture, inspiring Academy Award winning films such as An Inconvenient Truth (2006 Best Documentary Feature) and Wall-E (2008 Best Animated Feature). Today, the discussion has shifted toward what can be done to curb the damaging effects climate change is already beginning to have on the planet. Yet, even beyond the stage of recognizing that there is a problem, giving it adequate focus and resources is still proving to be a challenge.

A recent article in the New York Times titled “Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targets” noted that the scientific education community is divided over the issue of global warming / climate change, pushing to have both sides of the debate given even consideration. In the article, Lawrence Krauss, a physicist heading a program at Arizona State University called the Origins Initiative – a scientific, existential project aimed at exploring the various facets of physical and psychological creation, as well as the future of humanity – commented on the educational opposition of climate change, stating “It is all about casting doubt on the veracity of science — to say it is just one view of the world, just another story, no better or more valid than fundamentalism.” Krauss’s comments convey animosity for the resistance of many to accept climate change as a reality. However, later in the story a statistic appears noting that only 36% of the American population accepts the notion of climate change, placing detractors firmly in the majority. But due to recent economic changes as the top of New Jersey’s political structure, the disbelief has now fallen on supporters of the global warming theory.

A progressive website called recently voiced their dismay, in an article entitled “Christie Shreds New Jersey Climate Change Programs” regarding Governor Christie’s decision to axe a proposal established during the Corzine era to monitor and report greenhouse gas emissions. The story also asserted that Christie would divert $300 million worth of Clean Energy Funds from its intended use toward sustainable and renewable energy to other unrelated interests. Additionally, the NJ Office of Climate Change and Energy is being dismantled, with Christie arranging for the office to be phased out as part of an apparent multi-tiered assault on the progressive environmental sectors of the state government. Bill Wolfe, director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), was quoted in the story as saying "In terms of public health and welfare, New Jersey will soon start to resemble states like Mississippi that can only provide minimal state services." At the current rate of budgetary deconstruction for key New Jersey environmental offices, programs and projects, this assessment may become increasingly valid as times goes on.

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