During this week’s National Governors Association meeting, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) proposed modest goals for states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Pawlenty — long considered a potential running mate for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — faced immediate opposition from coal- and oil-producing state governors who oppose any measure to combat climate change. Robert Novak writes:
But at a “governors-only” session that opened the meeting on Saturday, Pawlenty encountered adamant opposition. Barbour led the way for governors from energy-producing states…The issue of greenhouse gases was “set aside,” Pawlenty told me, “because we realized there was no consensus.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) — who has said he “[doesn’t] know what the science is” on global warming — joined Barbour in opposing Pawlenty.
Later that night, McCain met with those same governors, where he heard “more of the same” opposition to emissions reductions. McCain has made his “straight talk” on climate change a centerpiece of his campaign. He brags on his website that he has been “a leader on the issue of global warming with the courage to call the nation to action.”
Yet instead of standing up for the Pawlenty’s proposals, McCain abandoned these modest goals in an effort to woo the far right of his party:
Governors from coal- and oil-producing states spelled out their problems with McCain’s energy policies, and he was responsive.
In its recent National Environmental Scorecard, the League of Conservation Voters gave McCain a rating of zero — the lowest score — for 2007. McCain boasts a lifetime rating of only 24 percent.
During the GOP primaries, McCain was certainly better on global warming than the other candidates. But now that he is trying to consolidate the conservative base, McCain’s “leadership” on climate change is increasingly sounding like a third Bush term.