Electrification, No Matter What the Cost?

The manic obsession with moving New Jersey off fossil fuels to 100% electrification for our energy needs is putting residents and businesses in a very dangerous economic position.

To make matters worse, all the legislation and mandates instituted to meet the self-imposed deadlines will have no impact on our environment.  The Biden administration’s own “Climate Czar” John Kerry admitted that 90% of carbon emissions come from outside of our borders and that even if the United States somehow eliminated all carbon emissions, it would have zero impact on the environment.

Why then, is New Jersey inflicting such Draconian restrictions which will inevitably hurt our economy, cause energy prices to skyrocket, severely limit consumer choice and create hardship for residents and business in the state?  The only conclusion one can draw is that there is some perceived political benefit to introducing bill after bill designed to “fight climate change” regardless of its viability, tangible impact, or lack thereof.

Stepping back from the hysteria driven by extremists in the climate change movement, there are certain facts that cannot be denied.  The earth’s climate is changing; it always has been and always will be.  This has been true since the beginning of time for a variety of reasons.

Another reality is that, climate wise, New Jersey is a very small cog in a very large wheel.  Our population and geographic footprint are way too small to have any demonstrable impact without the rest of the planet doing proportionately the same or more.  The only thing these unworkable mandates to destroy fossil fuels do is put an undue burden on New Jersey citizens who already must deal with living in one of the most expensive, over regulated states in the nation.  Environmental legislation with no measurable impact that only hurts the average New Jerseyan is pushed through at a breakneck pace.  This is in addition to massive affordable housing quotas which result in overdevelopment and real harm to the environment, which are forced upon municipalities across the state.

While most people are familiar with the impending ban on gas-powered vehicles slated to take effect in 2035, which Governor Murphy unilaterally imposed, there has also been other legislation impacting gas stoves, weedwhackers, leaf blowers, chain saws, generators and so on.  Now, the big shoe has dropped with legislation introduced that would ban natural gas power in the new construction of residential and commercial buildings.

Bills S 3066/A 4214 would, “amend the State Uniform Construction Code to prohibit the combustion of substances exceeding certain emission levels of carbon dioxide in certain new buildings or  structures.”  Translation – natural gas would be outlawed in new construction since it would exceed the ridiculously low limits provided for in the bills. These bills are premised on a Berkeley, CA ordinance natural gas ban in new construction which was struck down by the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.  Berkeley is appealing and the Murphy Administration filed two separate briefs in support of Berkeley.

Even with 80 percent of the world’s energy provided by fossil fuels (and growing) and wind and energy combining to provide a paltry three percent (with natural gas providing round the clock backup), New Jersey is bent on ramming through costly, unworkable mandates and deadlines that will have absolutely no impact on the environment aside from decreasing the reliability and increasing the cost of our energy supply.  To rationally move to an energy system other than fossil fuels, a viable alternative must be available to consumers.

Throughout our history, markets and consumer choice have been the catalyst for new technologies and driven out older, less efficient ones without the heavy hand of government mandates.  The cotton gin replaced hand labor, steamships replaced sail ships, electric lamps replaced gas lamps, cars replaced horses all because new innovations were affordable and more efficient and not because the government forced them upon the population.  While we wait for a better system to be proven and available, New Jersey needs an economical, reliable, and plentiful source of energy – much like the one we have now.

Gerry Scharfenberger
About Gerry Scharfenberger 25 Articles
Gerry Scharfenberger, PhD. is a New Jersey Assemblyman representing the State’s 13th Legislative District.