Kean contorting climate controversy while capitalizing on pizza panic

Kean created this deceptive graphic in which the politician falsely claims coal-fired pizza ovens could be banned.

Global heating is supercharging extreme weather that is affecting all of us. Heatwaves roiling the US are smashing records and putting lives at risk. Across the world, people are losing their lives and livelihoods due to hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and droughts triggered by the climate crisis.

Instead of giving this matter the urgency and attention it demands, Congressman Tom Kean Jr. is joining a chorus of Republicans who are downplaying the significance of global warming during the same week that Earth’s temperature reached the highest point ever recorded.

After two decades in Trenton, Kean defeated Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski in the 2024 midterm elections and headed to Washington as the new U.S. House representative for New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District.

After the hottest week on record, the UN secretary general said that “climate change is out of control” and scientists agree that climate change is reaching uncharted territory from anthropogenic global heating.

“If we persist in delaying key measures that are needed, I think we are moving into a catastrophic situation, as the last two records in temperature demonstrates,” said UN Secretary General António Guterres, referring to broken world temperature records.

“Chances are that the month of July will be the warmest ever, and with it the hottest month ever … ‘ever’ meaning since the Eemian [interglacial period], which is indeed some 120,000 years ago,” said Dr Karsten Haustein, a research fellow in atmospheric radiation at Leipzig University.

“Warming climates might lead to increasing risks of diseases such as the avian flu spreading in the Antarctic that will have devastating consequences for penguins and other fauna in the region,” said Chari Vijayaraghavan, a polar explorer and educator who has visited the Arctic and Antarctic regularly for the past 10 years.

He said global warming is obvious at both poles and threatens the region’s wildlife as well as driving ice melt that raises sea levels.

The average global air temperature was 17.18C (62.9F) on Tuesday, according to data collated by the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), surpassing the record 17.01C reached on Monday.

Scientists around the world are sounding alarms about record high sea surface temperatures, as about 40% of the global ocean already meet the criteria for a marine heatwave — a period of persistent anomalously warm ocean temperatures — which can have significant impacts on marine life as well as coastal communities and economies.

“No doubt, we’re in hot water,” said Dillon Amaya, a research scientist at NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory. “In our 32-year record, we have never seen such widespread marine heatwave conditions.”

“As you may have seen in the news recently, a proposed rule in New York City would regulate shops using coal-fired pizza ovens in the name of defeating climate change. Before we know it, a policy like this could soon be coming to pizzerias all across New Jersey,” said Kean in an email soliciting money for his campaign.

“Before that happens, we want to hear from you,” said Kean, obfuscating the urgency represented by the greenhouse effect, which is threatening the Earth’s capacity to sustain life by rapidly raising global temperatures, as we witnessed last week.

“We can all agree protecting the quality of our air and water is important and affects all of us, but is this a step too far? Your input on this debate is appreciated,” said Kean, inviting skeptics to sound off about government regulation amid a deceptive graphic in which the politician falsely claims that coal-fired pizza ovens could be banned.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (front right) speaks to Rep. Kevin McCarthy (front left) in the House Chamber as Rep. Tom Kean Jr sits in the row behind them
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (front right) speaks to Rep. Kevin McCarthy (front left) in the House Chamber as Rep. Tom Kean Jr sits in the center of the row behind them

Those who click through the ‘survey’ are directed to a page asking for a $20 contribution to Kean for Congress Inc.

Oil & Gas interests are among the top 20 industries contributing to Kean’s campaign committee, according to OpenSecrets based on Federal Election Commission data available electronically on March 20, 2023.

“Tom Kean, Jr. is fighting to prevent government overreach from impacting our businesses and daily lives,” says the donation website, which does not mention the catastrophic impact that global warming will have on those businesses and lives.

Lawmakers and prominent social media personalities have in recent days rallied against a proposed New York City rule that they falsely say would threaten the city’s pizzerias.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee lies in a tweet that claimed, “New York City wants to ban wood-fired pizzerias,” adding that “in the name of their climate agenda, the Left wants to destroy small businesses.”

Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, in a video accused a “pink-haired crazy liberal” of waking up from a nap and deciding to “get rid of coal-oven pizzerias in New York City.”

Elon Musk asserted on Twitter that the rule is “total BS,” adding that “it won’t make a difference to climate change” even though the city wants to reduce emissions because this type of pollution is dangerous for human health and bad for the environment.

Some pizza operators complained about the cost of abiding by the rule, others warned that the thinly rolled bread dough crust topped with various ingredients would never be the same, and someone even threw a pie at City Hall in protest.

A recent issue of the official journal included a “notice of public hearing and opportunity to comment on proposed rules” but political spin doctors have distorted that to flasely assert that New York City is trying to ban delicious pizza.

The rule in question, which comes from the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, would require restaurants with wood- or coal-fired ovens installed prior to May 2016 to add devices that would reduce particulate emissions.

The city wants to reduce particulate emissions from wood- and coal-fired ovens. Despite the uproar, it’s a fairly lenient proposal.

Essentially, the proposed rule is trying to ensure that restaurants using older ovens are aligned with the regulations applied to newer ones.

As of May 2016, the city requires that every new stove must have “an emission control device for odors, smoke and particulate matter.”

The city estimates that well under 100 restaurants would be impacted by the new rule.

One decades-old joint that uses a coal-fired oven, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, told CNN in a statement that it is “committed to providing our guests with our pizza’s award-winning taste while complying with all regulatory requirements,” adding that “we are currently reviewing what actions, if any, may be necessary to comply with legislation set by New York City Department of Environmental Protection.”

“All New Yorkers deserve to breathe healthy air and wood and coal-fired stoves are among the largest contributors of harmful pollutants in neighborhoods with poor air quality,” said Edward ‘Ted’ Timbers, a spokesperson for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection.

“This common-sense rule, developed with restaurant and environmental justice groups, requires a professional review of whether installing emission controls is feasible,” said Timbers.

There are nasty health implications to spending a lot of time around coal- or wood-fired stoves, said Michael Seilback, national assistant vice president of state public policy for the American Lung Association.

“Burning coal and burning wood directly could lead to wheezing, coughing [and] asthma attacks,” said Seilback. “Prolonged exposure has been linked to lung cancer and premature death.”

People who spend a lot of time around these types of emissions are at higher risk, said Garima Raheja, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University who studies the impacts of urban air pollution on public health.

“The average New Yorker … is not breathing this in every day,” said Raheja. But “this is affecting the people who are working in the pizza restaurants and people who are living around them, and the customers who are in close proximity to them.”

“Generally, these new rules are being put in to limit the emission of particulate matter, odor, and similar pollutants that are really impactful to our health,” said Raheja.

But, she noted, “in a broader sense, they are also impacting climate change.”

That’s because these types of ovens emit fumes that have an outsized impact on global warming, like black carbon, noted Raheja.

Seilback put it this way: “Carbon pollution will sort of come along for the ride in reductions.”

By reducing particles that are harmful for people to breathe, the city will also help reduce carbon emissions that contribute to global warming but GOP politicians do not care about health or the looming climate catastrophe.

“Every toxic entity that we remove from our air is adding up to the overall desire to deal with shrinking our carbon footprint,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

According to the city, the rule requires that relevant restaurants have to hire an engineer or architect “to assess the feasibility of installing emission controls on the cook stove to achieve a 75% reduction in particulate emissions.”

If that level of reduction is not possible, “the assessment must identify any emission controls that could provide a reduction of at least 25% or an explanation for why no emission controls can be installed.”

Basically, the restaurant just has to show the city that it has done its due diligence and make a change if possible. The rule wouldn’t go into effect until later in the summer.

Someone really did throw a pizza at City Hall in protest of the proposed rule. A man posted to Twitter a video of himself reading a list of seemingly unrelated grievances and hurling multiple pies, slice by slice, over the gate while yelling “give us pizza or give us death.”

The mayor acknowledged the incident in his conference.

“The public can weigh in without throwing pizza over my gate,” he said. “They could have delivered me the pie, and allowed me to eat the pie.” The person responsible now owes him a vegan pie, Adams said.

Kean spent $3,775,442 in 2020, when outside groups supporting him poured another $4,439,528 into the race. Kean spent $4,424,786 in 2022, when outside groups supporting him poured another $6,374,105 into the race.

The $20 million man—well more precisely $19,013,861—raised $831,271.31 through March 31 of this year, but his latest campaign report will be published by the FEC any day now.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: