New Jersey Plan Not Statist Enough for Sierra Club

by William Yeatman on December 29, 2008

We have already explained why New Jersey’s new climate plan, written by Lisa Jackson, President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, is a boondoggle shrouded in smoke and mirrors. Evidently, environmentalists agree.

Jeff Tittel, the director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, concedes that the Garden State’s global warming plan “has some good ideas,” but he says that more is needed (“State’s plan to curb global warming tepid,” Asbury Park Press, 12 December 2008).

To give New Jersey’s climate plan some teeth, Mr. Tittel suggests a “mandatory trip reduction program.” Simply put, he wants to give government the power to force you and me to drive together.

After proposing that the state tell us with whom we must drive, Mr. Tittel says that government should also tell us where we are permitted to live. Specifically, he frets that the legislature would never pass a law that would limit new development until 99% of existing buildings are occupied. He further suggests that the state should prohibit the construction of water and sewer lines to rural developments.

Mr. Tittel says that “climate change is the most serious threat facing our planet,” but that’s debatable. After all, disease and hunger kill scores of millions of human beings every year; climate change has led to an invasion of Japanese beetles.

It is, however, unquestioned that government is an awfully imprecise cudgel whenever it tries to influence social patterns like energy consumption. History suggests that Mr. Tittel’s statist energy policies would be as annoying as they would be ineffective.

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