Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie (R-VT), Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona (R-HI)
Out of 37 gubernatorial races this November, only two feature Republicans that are climate hawks, saying on the campaign trail that global warming pollution must be slashed. In the liberal states of Vermont and Hawaii, Republican lieutenant governors Brian Dubie (R-VT) and James “Duke” Aiona (R-HI) explicitly acknowledge the greenhouse threat of fossil fuel pollution. The island state of Hawaii is profoundly threatened by the global warming and ocean acidification caused by fossil fuel pollution. Aiona has “set a bold and ambitious goal for Hawaii to cut its consumption of foreign oil in half within eight years”:
Cut in half Hawai’i's polluting greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. [Aiona-Finnegan Campaign]
Befitting its nickname, Vermont is one of the greenest states in the nation. In 2005, Gov. Jim Douglas (R-VT) joined RGGI and enacted a renewable energy standard. However, in 2007, Douglas vetoed H.520, “a comprehensive climate-change bill that would have greatly expanded” the state’s efficiency program to cover all fuels, not just electricity. Dubie, after avoiding a stand on climate science for years, recognized the reality this June:
I believe that scientific data clearly show that climate change is real and, as a result of human behavior, the world is getting warmer. Carbon emissions are playing a large role in the warming of our planet. We have to stop burning fossil fuels, which emit carbon into our environment. [Vermont League of Conservation Voters, 6/18/10]
Their Democratic opponents — like nearly all their counterparts in the Democratic Party — similarly recognize the threat of global warming and the promise of a clean energy economy. “The time for a long-term statewide plan for the effects of climate change is now,” says Democratic candidate Neil Abercrombie, who supports increased funding for clean energy programs.
“We need a governor who believes that climate change is real every year, not just in an election year,” charged state Sen. Peter Shumlin (D-VT), the frontrunner in the increasingly tight Vermont race. “Governors should be right the first time. I worked hard to pass what Al Gore called the ‘toughest climate-change bill in the nation,’ only to have the Douglas-Dubie administration veto it.”
Every other Republican running for governor either explicitly denies the threat of global warming (22 candidates), ignore it (11 candidates), or claim that the costs of doing anything would be too high (two candidates — California’s Meg Whitman and Arizona’s Jan Brewer). There are no Republican U.S. Senate candidates who support climate policy to limit greenhouse pollution.