In a debate framed by economic issues and hosted by a business network, only one of the leading GOP candidates took up perhaps the single biggest economic issue of the day: climate change.
CNBC moderator John Harwood asked the right questions, pressing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for details on how he would address the problem of dangerous, man-made global warming. Experts say that greenhouse gas emissions are heating the planet, roiling the atmosphere and setting up the world economy for a $44 trillion loss unless governments act.
But Christie declined to discuss climate change as an economic issue, opting instead to jab at Democrats, and – when pressed – the media, too.
“Well first off, what we don’t do is do what Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and Barack Obama want us to do,” the governor said, inaccurately citing “taxes” as their sole solution to escalating temperatures. “There’s no evidence that they can fix anything in Washington, D.C.”
Hardwood jumped in again, asking Christie how he’ll fix the problem. Unlike most of the Republican field, Christie has acknowledged that climate change is real and that humans contribute to it. He also led his state through Hurricane Sandy, the weather system that walloped New Jersey in 2012, bringing winds and rain intensified by warmer temperatures.
“What we should do is to be investing in all types of energy, John. All types of energy,” Christie said, a position that happens to echo President Obama’s own all-of-the-above energy strategy.He touted New Jersey’s status as one of the most significant producers of solar energy.
But unlike his Democratic counterparts, Christie showed no interest in cutting oil, coal or gas use, a policy that would cook the climate for decades to come. And he didn’t appreciate Harwood’s prodding.
“John do you want me to answer or do you want to answer? How’re we going to do this?” said Christie. “Because I got to tell you the truth, even in New Jersey what you’re doing is called rude.”