Chris Christie: “Hell No,” America Shouldn’t Lead on Climate Change

Americans disagree.



Most Americans say the United States should be a global leader in the fight against climate change, according to a recent poll conducted by YouGov and our Climate Desk partners at the Huffington Post.

Chris Christie is not one of those Americans.

In a remarkable interview published today by The Atlantic (another Climate Desk partner), the New Jersey governor and Republican White House hopeful criticized President Barack Obama for supposedly prioritizing climate change over the battle against ISIS. “His priorities are climate change,” said Christie. “He thinks that this is what we need American leadership on.”

“And you don’t,” responded The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg.

“Hell no!” said Christie. “I think there’s a lot more important things to worry about. I’ll guarantee you this—the 220,000, 230,000 dead Syrians aren’t worried about climate change.”

In reality, a number of experts argue that a devastating drought linked to climate change was one of the factors that contributed to instability in Syria. Of course, Christie’s statements aren’t likely to hurt him with Republic voters, who are much more skeptical of climate action—and, for that matter, climate science—than the general public. According to the poll, 52 percent of all respondents said the United States should lead the way on climate, compared with 26 percent who said it shouldn’t. But among Republicans (PDF), just 32 percent want the country to take a leadership role; 46 percent don’t.

climate poll

The Huffington Post

You can read the entire Atlantic interview with Christie here.


More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.