Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman said there is “momentum” for a “cap on carbon” as evidenced by state action and voluntary decisions being made in corporate America. “You have a number now of major businesses with no requirement in law or regulation that are already taking significant steps to reduce their greenhouse gases and their carbon footprint in general, their water usage, to be better environmental stewards,” she said.
“A curb in greenhouse gas emissions, that is something that’s inevitably coming,” predicted Whitman, who also served as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush. “You see it happening around the world and they’re going to put pressure on our country for international businesses trying to do business in other countries where you have to certify what you’ve done to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.”
Whitman, an advocate for nuclear energy, pointed to the role nuclear can play in a carbon constrained world. “If we’re truly focused on cleaning up our air and giving people a healthier quality of life, then we’ve got to recognize that those parts of our energy grid, whether it be nuclear or solar or wind or hydro that don’t produce those greenhouse gas emissions or those other pollutants and carbon pollution, should get more credit.” She blamed the current utility regulatory structure for putting nuclear energy at a disadvantage by focusing on price over other factors and called for a more diverse energy portfolio that doesn’t rely on one form of power.
“We’re going to need all the different forms of energy,” she advised. “Just hopefully over time those that produce no carbon emissions, have no carbon emissions and no greenhouse gases are going to start to take over and be the dominant forms of our energy mix.”
Whitman responded to a question about presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, whom she has not endorsed, and the politics of climate change by noting that “there are a great number of Republicans and there’s some very active Republican organizations that recognize the importance of climate change and the necessity of dealing with it.”