- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 2, 2011

What would Al Gore do? Could that really be New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s thought process? The GOP’s darling and “please-run-for-president-now” governor earned national attention last week for pulling New Jersey out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the cap-and-trade program set up by Northeast states.

But in doing so, Mr. Christie revealed a serious lapse in political instinct and judgment that should cause Republicans to ask whether he and others like him are ready for the White House.

In his announcement, Mr. Christie also stated, “I’m certainly not a scientist, which is the first problem. So I can’t claim to fully understand all of this, certainly not after just a few months of study. But when you have over 90 percent of the world’s scientists who have studied this stating that climate change is occurring and that humans play a contributing role, it’s time to defer to the experts.”

Here’s the problem: While it’s no unpardonable sin to be underinformed about the global warming controversy - although it does make one wonder where Mr. Christie has been all these years as even the average grade-schooler has been well-immersed in the controversy - Mr. Christie’s instinct was to buy into Mr. Gore’s bogus mantra that a consensus of scientists says humans are giving the planet a fever via carbon-dioxide emissions.

Mr. Gore’s view, of course, is also held by President Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Sen. Barbara Boxer - are you getting the idea? - every nitwit Hollywood celebrity, the Discovery Channel gunman, Charles Manson and even the now-deceased Osama bin Laden.

Not only is there no such consensus, science doesn’t work by consensus. Even if did, more than 31,000 U.S. scientists on record oppose climate alarmism (see PetitionProject.org).

Maybe it’s just me, but I do have an issue with a GOP presidential wannabe essentially embracing this calculus - “I don’t know enough about climate change, so I’ll side with the ever-forked-tongue Al Gore.”

The larger issue here is how many other GOP presidential candidates might have the same calculus. We know former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. once believed in climate alarmism. We know newfound skeptic Newt Gingrich appeared with Mrs. Pelosi in a Gore-sponsored TV ad.

Mitt Romney has expressed reservations about taking unilateral action on greenhouse gases, but his broader view on climate science is, at best, unknown. Tim Pawlenty has renounced his support for cap-and-trade. But has he embraced climate skepticism?

This is important because, if we are so lucky as to have a Republican elected president in 2012, he will need to hit the ground running in terms of getting a grip on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) scheme for regulating greenhouse-gas emissions.

It will take a great deal of intellectual and intestinal fortitude for the next president to go through the many-months-long and politically painful process of forcing the EPA to delist greenhouse gases as a threat to public welfare under the Clean Air Act.

If the next president is not onboard with the real (versus the Al Gore-type) science of climate change, then it’s not likely he will be able to force through the sorts of changes at the EPA that reality warrants and that America desperately needs.

America is blessed with abundant natural resources in terms of coal, natural gas and oil. If our economy is ever to recover and support growth, we will need to tap those resources at unprecedented levels. Domestic manufacturing will also need to be unleashed and not hindered with EPA regulations that accom- plish nothing other than the prevention of business.

All this will require overcoming an EPA bureaucracy that has deep ties and sympathies with extreme and anti-business environmental activist groups.

A president who is unsure about whether he’s doing the right thing is a president who won’t be able to provide the necessary leadership to actually do the right thing.

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