GOP Governor Candidates Oppose Clean Energy Jobs

GOP Governor Candidates Oppose Clean Energy Jobs

by Brad Johnson, ThinkProgress Climate Editor

See also the Wonk Room analysis of seven key U.S. Senate races and fourteen U.S. House races for climate policy.

In Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico, Kansas, Florida, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, Republican global warming deniers and conspiracy theorists are vying to take over the governorships, armed with plans to cripple the nation’s clean energy economy.

In Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, four Democratic governors who have supported clean energy may be replaced by Republicans who have expressed fealty to big oil in the November 2010 elections. The Republican candidates — Terry Branstad in Iowa, Sen. Sam Brownback in Kansas, Rep. Mary Fallin in Oklahoma, and Matt Mead in Wyoming — hold commanding leads in the polls over their Democratic opponents. The Republicans mock global warming as a conspiracy, doubt that it is caused by manmade pollution, and promote the expansion of the coal and oil industries in their states.

The Wonk Room has not been able to discern if the Republican candidates Tom Corbett (PA), Terry Branstad (IA), Bill Haslam (TN), Rick Snyder (MI), Nikki Haley (SC), Jim Keet (AR), Butch Otter (ID), Dave Heineman, (NE), Brian Sandoval (NV), John Stephen (NH) Joseph Robitaille (NH) have taken an explicit position on the science of climate change.

Vermont Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie and Hawaii Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona stand alone in their recognition of the threat of global warming and their embrace of a strong clean energy response.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the carbon trading program of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, which went into effect in 2008. In 2006, Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) dropped his state out of the compact just before beginning his presidential campaign, but his Democratic successor Deval Patrick rejoined. There are governors’ races in all these states except New Jersey and Delaware.

The Western Climate Initiative — a regional cap-and-trade compact between California, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Montana and four Canadian provinces — was established in 2007 and scheduled to go into effect in 2012. There are governors’ races in all the states except Montana and Washington. Republican governors in Arizona and Utah — who are cruising to re-election this fall — have already worked to scuttle their involvement. California’s contribution, the legislation known as AB 32, is under threat both from the Proposition 23 ballot initiative and from Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. The future of the compact rides on the governors’ races this November in California, New Mexico, and Oregon.

America is under extreme threat from the destructive power of global warming, including increasingly frequent catastrophic storms, heat waves, and drought, but these candidates question the very existence of the problem. Furthermore, by denying the opportunity of clean energy jobs, these potential governors risk turning their states into economic wastelands.

ALABAMA – Robert Bentley
ALASKA – Sean Parnell
ARIZONA – Jan Brewer
CALIFORNIA – Meg Whitman
FLORIDA – Rick Scott
HAWAII – Duke Aiona
ILLINOIS – Bill Brady
IOWA – Terry Branstad
KANSAS – Sam Brownback
MAINE – Paul LePage
MARYLAND – Robert Ehrlich
NEVADA – Brian Sandoval
NEW HAMPSHIRE – John Stephen
NEW YORK – Carl Paladino
NEW MEXICO – Susana Martinez
OHIO – John Kasich
OKLAHOMA – Mary Fallin
OREGON – Chris Dudley
RHODE ISLAND – Joseph Robitaille
SOUTH DAKOTA – Dennis Daugaard
UTAH – Gary Herbert
VERMONT – Brian Dubie
WISCONSIN – Scott Walker
WYOMING – Matt Mead


Dr. Robert Bentley is a cautious global warming denier:

Bentley mentioned a favorite fact of global warming skeptics, that temperatures dipped after a peak in 1998. However, average temperatures over time have risen. According to NASA, January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record. After introducing that note of skepticism, Bentley continued. “But I know you look long-term. Now, carbon emissions, I do think, probably play a role in climate changes. I do scientifically agree with that and I do think we have to look for ways to reduce carbon emissions.” [Birmingham News, 10/17/10]

His Democratic opponent, Ron Sparks, also questions climate science. “You still have the debate on whether we have the problem of global warming or you don’t,” Sparks said. “You still have scientists on both sides. Some say we do and some say we don’t.”


Gov. Sean Parnell, who wants to rapidly expand oil drilling in Alaska, denies that global warming is threatening the extinction of polar bears:

This ice by nature shifts and melts . . . Years ago, environmental advocacy groups picked one species — the polar bear — to be the poster child for global warming, and these groups have waged a relentless publicity campaign ever since. Alaskans recognize the lock-up effort for what it is: a job-killer and damper on our nation’s energy security. [Washington Post, 8/5/10]

In contrast, Democrat Ethan Berkowitz is a firm realist. “Even President Bush agrees with the IPCC that humans play a large role in global warming. The policy challenge isn’t how much we’re responsible for global warming, but rather what we’re going to do about it, and what legacy we leave future generations. Climate change is one of the most significant issues facing Alaskans. For us, the impacts are real and personal — they affect our health, our livelihoods and our cultures.”


538 forecast: 4 percent Democratic pickup

Jan Brewer, who assumed the governorship when Democrat Janet Napolitano was chosen as Secreatary of Health and Human Services, officially recognizes the threat of global warming pollution but has pulled Arizona out of any effort to cap its pollution. In her executive order in February 2010 that announced Arizona would not participate in the Western Climate Initiative’s regional cap-and-trade program, Brewer admitted:

Arizona is a growing state whose greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been projected to rise, based on historical trends, as Arizona will experience population and economic growth in the future. [Executive Order 2010-06, 2/2/10]

The executive order also ordered the state to “review its adoption of the California Clean Cars Program, in light of national vehicle standards coming into place.” However, Brewer still wants the state to participate in the regional compact to “have a seat at the table” on climate issues.

Brewer promotes the state’s 15 percent-by-2025 renewable standard, and supports “adding more nuclear power to Arizona’s energy supply.”

Brewer’s opponent, Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard, is much more concerned about the threat global warming poses to Arizona. Responding to the Supreme Court’s decision compelling the EPA to act on global warming pollution and the 2007 IPPC climate report, Goddard wrote that “it is abundantly clear that if more steps are not taken soon to respond to global climate change, Arizona will be among the places paying the biggest price.” In 2009, Goddard defended “the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to grant states the right to regulate global warming pollution from automobiles.”


77 percent Democratic pickup

The Calfornia governor’s races is pivotal for America’s clean energy future. California is already the national leader in greenhouse pollution standards for cars and trucks — its fuel economy standards have been adopted by states across the nation and were the basis of the Supreme Court decision that the EPA must regulate greenhouse gases as a pollutant. Billionaire Republican candidate Meg Whitman says she accepts the science of climate change:

I think the science is fairly compelling behind global warming. Nothing is iron-clad in science, but as I look at the data, it does look to me that the earth is warming. It started largely around the Industrial Revolution and it has gone pretty dramatically up over the last 110, 120 years. And you look at some of the obvious statistics around the size of the polar ice caps and things, it does look to me like the earth is warming. I would also make the conclusion that actually man does have a hand in this [FlashReport, 10/5/09].

However, Whitman has vowed to stop the implementation of California’s landmark green economy legislation, AB 32:

“Right now, the clock is ticking as new job-killing regulations will go into effect in 2010.”

In contrast, Whitman’s opponent, Attorney General Jerry Brown, has long been a champion of AB 32. In 2007, he called the legislation a “no-brainer“:

You’ve got your road map, you have your threat, and you have the carrot of all the good things that you will achieve and all the bad things you will avoid. So, to summarize, this is a no-brainer. Let’s get working, and let’s reduce oil dependency and fight global climate change.

Out-of-state oil companies — Valero, Tesoro, and Koch Industries — are pouring millions into the Proposition 23 campaign to indefinitely suspend AB 32, supported by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity tea party network. Their efforts seems to be backfiring, as California’s clean-energy businesses and investors have combined forces with environmentalists and progressives to fight back.


83 percent Democratic pickup

Under Governor Jodi Rell (R-CT), Connecticut established a comprehensive plan for reducing greenhouse pollution in 2005. Connecticut’s renewable electricity standard was first established in 1998.

Republican candidate Tom Foley is in denial about the impacts of global warming:

Until you know what the problems are, and you’re in a reasonable time frame of their arrival, then there’s not much you could do. Until we actually experience the impact, then I’m sure there will be plenty of time to respond. [Connecticut Mirror, 10/13/10]

Foley also questioned whether Connecticut’s greenhouse gas reduction goals of 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 are “realistic,” though he “will certainly try to move us along a course that will get us to those goals.” Foley’s energy and environmental policy is a single paragraph of platitudes.

In contrast, Democratic Stamford mayor Dan Malloy has been a national leader in climate-friendly urban policy, and has a comprehensive environment, global warming, energy efficiency, and clean energy jobs agenda. “This is something I am ultimately committed to,” he told the Mirror.


538 estimate: 43 percent chance of Democratic pickup

Florida is under imminent threat from the rising sea levels, fiercer heat waves, and stronger storms of global warming. Clean energy investment and energy-efficiency retrofits could restore hundreds of thousands of jobs to the economically battered state. However, millionaire health care executive Rick Scott, the Republican candidate for Florida governor, is a global warming denier:

Asked if he believes in climate change, he said “No.” “I have not been convinced,” he said. Asked what he needs to convince him, “Something more convincing than what I’ve read.” [St. Petersburg Times, 7/26/10]

Despite the lingering BP disaster, Scott is open to oil drilling off the coast of Florida. Scott’s campaign attacked his Democratic opponent Alex Sink’s advocacy of renewable energy standards as “leftist energy proposals,” promoting nuclear power instead. Florida’s renewable-industry advocates responded: “Rick Scott needs to say something of substance or stop attacking small business people.”

Scott is a signatory of the Americans for Prosperity “No Climate Tax” pledge and the FreedomWorks Contract From America, and was endorsed by the FreedomWorks PAC.


Former Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) is a global warming conspiracy theorist, filing a “Climategate” petition against the EPA finding that greenhouse pollution endangers the public health and welfare:

First, Climategate reveals a serious lack of integrity in the underlying data and models, such that it is doubtful that any process can be trusted until the data and models are validated and their integrity assured. Second, Climategate shows that the processes of peer review, consensus building, and scientific evaluation were fundamentally corrupted to the point that EPA should reconsider its reliance on the reports and analyses that led to the Endangerment Finding. Third, Climategate reveals a disturbing, anti-scientific compulsion for mandatory orthodoxy. [Petition for Reconsideration, 12/23/09]

Deal also calls Democrat Roy Barnes’ proposed renewable electricity standard “cap-and-trade for Georgia” and “just another liberal, job-killing mandate.”


The island state of Hawaii is profoundly threatened by the global warming and ocean acidification caused by fossil fuel pollution. Republican candidate Lt. Gov. Duke 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]

“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.


79 percent Republican pickup

As governor, Democrat Pat Quinn promoted numerous green jobs initiatives, including the strengthening of the state’s renewable energy standard. “Having a robust green industry is critical to strengthening Illinois’ economy,” he said this July.

His opponent, Republican state senator Bill Brady, is a global warming denier. At a Homer Glen Tea Party rally in 2009, Brady joined other Republicans in denying the science of global warming:

No, I don’t accept that premise, and it is wrong. Illinois needs to foster job creation, not penalize it. [Progress Illinois, 11/5/09]

Watch it:

Brady voted against the renewable energy standard, high-speed rail, and other clean-energy initiatives.


Terry BranstadFormer governor Terry Branstad is leading Gov. Chet Culver (D-IA) in the race to run Iowa’s government. Remarkably, even though Iowa is increasingly devastated by catastrophic floods, Branstad’s only public policy position on global warming pollution is:

— To “wholeheartedly” support a coal-fired power plant opposed by NASA scientist Jim Hansen because it would emit 5.9 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, and

— To support the construction of a South Dakota oil refinery near the Iowa border that will emit 19 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.

Furthermore, Branstad has attacked Culver’s $875 million flood recovery plan, falsely claiming “it saddled Iowans with excessive debt.”


Sam BrownbackSen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) is positioned to take the seat formerly held by climate champion Kathleen Sibelius. Under Gov. Sibelius, Kansas fought against coal pollution. Her successor Mark Parkinson established a renewable electricity standard but permitted a coal plant expansion.

Although Brownback said in 2007 that “we need to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere,” he has since embraced radical conspiracy theories about climate science. Last December, he embraced the Climategate smear campaign:

The recent disclosure of the manipulation of scientific evidence by climate researchers is exactly the kind of important information that needs to be brought to light. The emails and documents recently disclosed paint an alarming picture of the state of climate research. In the emails that have been disclosed we’ve seen evidence of manipulation, efforts to avoid freedom of act information requests, abuse of the peer review process and a research process that that is driven more by a political agenda than a quest for truth. [Brownback, DeMint, Ensign, Isakson, Vitter, and Wicker, 12/8/09]

Although Brownback is a supporter of a federal renewable electricity standard, he called Obama’s climate plan “one of the worst ideas to come along in a long time,” and his gubernatorial campaign is heavily supported by Kansas-based Koch Industries, the right-wing pollution conglomerate that directs right-wing global warming denial. Over his career, Brownback has received about $200,000 from the Koch brothers in campaign contributions.

Unlike Brownback, Democratic candidate Tom Holland is “not questioning the science. We need to take this subject seriously.”

MAINE: Libby Mitchell (D), Paul LePage (R), Eliot Cutler (I)

75 percent Republican pickup

Under Democratic governor John Baldacci, Maine is on track to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse pollution to 1990 levels this year. In 2006, Maine strengthened its renewable electricity standard to 40 perecent by 2017.

Waterville mayor Paul LePage, the Republican nominee, is a global warming denier:

I just don’t know how severe it is and I’m not sure how much we as human beings contribute to it. Scientists are divided on it. [Waterville Morning Sentinel, 10/5/10]

LePage also opposes Maine’s renewable energy goals, arguing wind power is too unreliable, and is open to opening Maine’s waters to offshore oil drilling.

MARYLAND: Martin O’Malley v. Robert Ehrlich

11 percent Republican pickup

In a battle of the governors, the Democratic incumbent Gov. Martin O’Malley is squaring off against former governor Robert Ehrlich, the Republican. After Ehrlich attempted to pull out of RGGI, he was compelled to sign a veto-proof bill in 2006 entering Maryland into the RGGI compact. In an extensive interview on environmental issues facing Maryland with the Baltimore Sun, Ehrlich came out as a newly infected global warming conspiracy theorist:

The skeptical side of me has increased,” Ehrlich says, since news reports last year alleging that scientists manipulated data showing that the climate is changing. [Baltimore Sun, 10/11/10]

In contrast, O’Malley is a powerful leader on climate change, passing into law legislation to cut the state’s carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2020:

For our prosperity, for our current and future generations, and for the health of our State, which is so vulnerable to rising sea levels, we must take action on climate change now – not later. Maryland can’t afford to be left behind. We must commit to taking the actions necessary to protect our environment, our economy, and our citizens.

Although Ehrlich’s campaign website praises the state’s renewable electricity standard for creating a “skilled workforce of clean energy employees,” he now “questions the technical feasibility of getting 20 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources.” Ehrlich instead promotes building new nuclear power plants with taxpayer support.

Unlike Ehrlich, O’Malley stands behind the state’s renewable electricity standard.


25 percent Republican pickup

Millionaire health insurance executive Charlie Baker, the Republican challenger to incumbent governor Deval Patrick, has staked out skeptical positions both on the science of climate change and on green economic policies. When asked to address the existence of man-made global warming in February, Baker refused to admit its reality:

I’m not saying I believe in it. I’m not saying I don’t. You’re asking me to take a position on something I don’t know enough about. I absolutely am not smart enough to believe that I know the answer to that question. [Boston Globe, 2/7/10]

By August, Baker conceded that man-made pollution is “partially” to blame. Baker has also indicated his willingness to pull out of RGGI:

I’m willing to participate as long as it doesn’t cost Massachusetts jobs and money. I don’t know if I’m against it or not. I view that as something that needs to be reviewed. [Boston Globe, 8/31/10]

Baker has also bashed Patrick’s support for cleantech investment, and opposes the Cape Wind project. Independent candidate Tim Cahill shares Baker’s views on global warming and clean energy policy.


76 percent Democratic pickup

Minnesota has been a climate leader under Republican governor Tim Pawlenty, before he had national ambitions. In 2007, Pawlenty helped launch the Midwest Governor’s Climate Change regional cap-and-trade initiative and signed a strong renewable energy standard. As a McCain surrogate in 2008, Pawlenty began questioning climate science and policy. By 2009, Pawlenty was deriding a national cap-and-trade program as “very burdensome on our economy” and saying that he did not know how much global warming “is the result of natural causes.”

The Republican hoping to follow Pawlenty, Tom Emmer, seeks to end the regional climate pact, calling it “an artificial tracking system that will be used to raise our energy rates.” Emmer is a radical global warming denier, calling the science “Al Gore’s climate porn” in 2007:

Biodiversity, diversity to me means you’ve got to look at both sides. You know what, the empirical evidence does not support this and the other reps that have talked. There is another side. Just because we make these chambers available to Will Steger and the crowd that wants to rely on Al Gore’s climate porn doesn’t mean that that’s the way it is. There is another side to the story, one that we tried to present a couple of months ago, but apparently it’s frowned upon by the folks that are in control so it doesn’t get the same play in this room. Folks, there is another side. [YouTube, 5/11/07]

Watch it:

Until recently, Emmer’s campaign website included a rant against “radical activists” who believe “cows are causing ‘global warming’“:

Radical activists are trying to convince us that everyday nutrients are causing cancer, that cows are causing ‘global warming,’ and that hogs are getting people sick. Logical people know otherwise.

In contrast, front-runner Mark Dayton is a promoter of “incentives that will bring green energy industries to Minnesota.”


Even as Lake Mead hits historic lows due to a ten-year drought, Republican Brian Sandoval, the frontrunner, opposes California’s climate policy:

Between solar, geothermal, hydroelectric and other clean energy sources, Nevada has some unique and valuable natural resources. We need to attract those kinds of businesses here. But I would oppose any mandates that are generally harmful to the business environment. [Nevada News Bureau, 10/19/10]

He does, however, “strongly support the Legislature’s recent action calling for 25 percent of the power generated in this state by the year 2025 to be from a renewable resource.”


5 percent Republican pickup

Republican John Stephen’s candidacy is supported by Koch’s Americans for Prosperity, who have been running attack ads against incumbent Democratic governor John Lynch. Lynch, who signed the Renewable Energy Act in 2007 to get New Hampshire to 25 percent renewable electricity by 2025 and HB 1314 in 2008 to implement RGGI, is strongly favored to win.


88 percent Republican pickup

In 2007, Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) strengthened the state renewable energy standard and signed an agreement with six other states — California, Utah, Arizona, Washington, Oregon and Montana — and four Canadian provinces — to form the Western Climate Initiative, a regional cap-and-trade system to go into effect by 2012. However, the future of the initiative is in peril, no matter which candidate wins.

Susana Martinez, the Sarah Palin-endorsed nominee for New Mexico governor, questions the overwhelming scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels is warming the planet. “I’m not sure the science completely supports that,” she recently told Politico. Responding to the New Mexico Independent, she revealed that she thinks the science of climate change is an “ideological debate“:

While there is disagreement in the science community concerning the causes of global warming, there is little disagreement concerning our responsibility to take care of the environment while creating jobs in New Mexico. Politicians engaging in an ideological debate over the causes of global warming does nothing to protect the environment, or create jobs. As governor, I will support balanced and evidenced-based environmental protections. [New Mexico Independent, 8/19/10]

Martinez also strongly opposes the Western Climate Initiative, saying it “would impose a new energy tax on businesses and families in New Mexico,” making the state “anti-business.”

Although Lt. Gov Diane Denish is “proud that New Mexico is a national leader in the battle against climate change,” she also strongly opposes a “New Mexico-specific cap-and-trade plan,” saying “new regulation would put New Mexico at an economic disadvantage and put countless jobs in our state at risk.” Unlike Martinez, however, Denish has a comprehensive economic plan for promoting clean energy investment.


Zero percent Republican pickup

Republican candidate Carl Paladino is a raging global warming denier:

Since then, Mr. Paladino, with the help of the Republican consultant Roger J. Stone Jr., has fashioned a campaign around anger (“I’m mad as hell,” his slogan reads), far-right conservatism (he calls global warming a “farce”) and reform in Albany (he frequently talks of “cleaning out the dirty trash”). [New York Times, 8/31/10]

Paladino also wants to immediately greenlight the fracking of New York’s Marcellus Shale deposit, mocking concerns about the hazards of drilling by saying “we’ve studied this to death.” Other than promising to rescind “onerous” environmental rules, this appears to be his entire energy policy.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) has been a climate leader, calling on the SEC to issue climate risk disclosure rules, and compelling energy companies to begin disclosing their exposure. “I believe global warming and climate change are real threats to our planet,” Cuomo has said.


83 percent Republican pickup

John Kasich, a former Ohio congressman and Fox News personality, has repeatedly challenged the science and policy of global warming on right-wing television network:

Environmental extremists, they better not make the environment god. They got a hang-up in that way just as well. A little bit of balance here. [O’Reilly Factor, 5/28/04]

As you know, global warming is cyclical, and the focus of a ferocious debate, almost as ferocious as a T. Rex. [O’Reilly Factor, 7/3/08]

Save me from a cap and trade bill that’s going to put a dagger in the Midwest and is basically one politician against slapping another on the back. [Sean Hannity, 7/8/09]

As a congressman, Kasich voted against implementing greenhouse pollution policy. During the gubernatorial campaign, Kasich has threatened to kill Ohio’s renewable energy standard. “It will drive up utility bills because we don’t have it ready and have to buy it somewhere else,” he claimed. “I don’t like that and you can’t mandate invention.”

Gov. Ted Strickland accused Kasich of being “ill-informed” and “reckless” for opposing the renewable standard. “New-energy jobs are the wave of the future and creating a new energy standard not only means a better environment for future Ohioans, it means that growing advanced energy companies, such as the ones standing with me, are locating and growing right here in Ohio.” Strickland said.

News Corp billionaire Rupert Murdoch gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association because of his “friendship with John Kasich.”


100 percent Republican pickup

Mary FallinRep. Mary Fallin (R-OK) has a dominant lead over Democratic Lt. Gov. Jari Askins. Fallin has mocked the national security threat of climate change:

Protecting our nation should be a number one priority. Does leadership really think that our surveillance satellites should be aimed at polar ice caps and not terror cells, and that spies should be investigating global warming? Congress must adequately fund our intelligence operations. If we don’t, we may need to be more concerned about global warming in the U.S. caused by a nuclear attack in our own back yard. [Rep. Fallin, 5/9/07]

Fallin has called climate legislation “entirely unnecessary.” Fallin signed the Americans for Prosperity No Climate Tax pledge and has been endorsed by global warming deniers Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim Inhofe. She received $5000 from Koch Industries in campaign contributions.

Democratic Gov. Brad Henry signed a renewable energy standard that also promotes natural gas this year. Fallin’s position: “My goal as governor would be to stimulate the oil and gas industry in the state and support the Legislature for incentives for oil and gas production.”


44 percent Republican pickup

Oregon has a strong 25-by-25 renewable energy standard, signed in 2007 by Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D-OR). In 2009, Kulongoski “signed several climate change, renewable energy, and energy efficiency bills that expand emission performance standards and greenhouse gas reporting requirements, promote renewable energy, and mandate greater energy efficiency.”

Republican candidate Chris Dudley just wants to ignore global warming pollution. “Climate change is probably caused by a variety of factors,” Dudley said in a September interview with the Oregonian, “but that debate is beside the point.” In a gubernatorial debate on September 30, Dudley finally came out as a cautious global warming denier:

My thought on global warming is this: that global warming exists, man contributes to it, how much, I don’t know. I don’t know how much is man made and how much is natural. [Oregonian, 9/30/10]

Watch it:

Toeing the party line, Dudley opposes the Western Climate Initiative, attacking “state or regional ‘cap-tax-trade‘ systems which would increase the cost of energy for consumers, make Oregon less economically competitive and do damage to the economy and job creation.” He even bashed a weatherization initiative as a boondoggle.

In contrast, former Democratic governor John Kitzhaber is clear: “I do believe climate change is human-caused, and it poses an enormous threat to our country and to our nation.” While Dudley has been silent, Kitzhaber has issued a strategic roadmap for green economic empowerment in Oregon.


56% Democratic pickup, 35% Independent pickup

The Rhode Island gubernatorial race is a toss-up between Democratic state treasurer Frank Caprio and independent (and former Republican U.S. senator) Lincoln Chafee, with Republican candidate Joseph Robitaille a distant third. Robitaille “artfully avoided putting forward his position on climate science” during a recent debate on environmental issues. In contrast, Caprio “spoke about the need for state-level incentives for clean energy development” and Chafee called for more funding for and enforcement by the Department of Environmental Management.

As treasurer, Caprio has been a climate leader, calling on the SEC to issue climate risk disclosure rules. Like Caprio, Chafee has a strong record on the environment, clean energy, and fighting global warming pollution. Caprio has a comprehensive clean energy plan that includes strengthening the state’s renewable energy standard.


Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard is a global warming denier:

I am skeptical about the science that suggests global warming is man-caused or can be corrected by man-made efforts. It’s a complex world we live in. [Yankton Press & Dakotan, 9/7/10]

Daugaard also opposes renewable electricity standards, saying “other states have problems with increased utility rates because they mandated the use of wind energy.”

“We can stick our heads in the sand and pretend like the world isn’t out there, but it is,” Democrat Scott Heidepriem told Daugaard in the debate about global warming. “I think the evidence is significant. We ignore that evidence at our own peril.”


Gov. Rick Perry is a radical global warming denier and conspiracy theorist:

I’ve heard Al Gore talk about man-made global warming so much that I’m starting to think that his mouth is the leading source of all that supposedly deadly carbon dioxide. Virtually every day another scientist leaves the global warming bandwagon. But you won’t read about that in the press because they have already invested in one side of the story. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be good stewards of our environment. We should. I am just saying when politics hijack science, it quells true scientific debate and can have dire consequences for our future. [Rick Perry, 9/7/07]

Perry has sued the federal government to block the regulation of global warming pollution, citing the supposed “Climategate” conspiracy.

Democrat Bill White accepts the science: “”I do think there is scientific consensus that human activity does pose a significant risk of more active climate change. There is a risk posed by escalating levels of CO2.” However, he also strongly opposes cap-and-trade legislation.


Zero percent Democratic pickup

Republican Gary Herbert is a global warming denier:

I’ve heard people argue on both sides of the issue, people I have a high regard for. People say man’s impact is minimal, if at all, so it appears to me the science is not necessarily conclusive. [Deseret News, 6/16/09]

Herbert became governor when Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr., was named ambassador to China in 2009. A 10-year state energy plan laid out by Herbert in June “opens the door to nuclear power but does not set mandates or specific targets regarding clean energy.”

The Utah state House of Representatives has passed resolutions calling climate science a “conspiracy” and demanding that Herbert pull out of the Western Climate Initiative.

Salt Lake City mayor Peter Corroon’s plans for “more solar, wind and geothermal jobs” include “rewarding Utah companies for using renewable energy resources, possibly through a tax credit, and returning to Huntsman’s goal of requiring 25 percent of electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2025.”


72 percent Democratic pickup

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.

Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie (R-VT), 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]

“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 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.”


88 percent Republican pickup

Milwaukee county executive Scott Walker, the Republican candidate for governor, is a global warming conspiracy theorist:

Governor Doyle has put his trust in international politicians, bureaucrats, celebrities and discredited scientists to replace the real manufacturing jobs Wisconsin is losing every day. [Scott Walker, 12/10/09]

In 2009, Democratic governor Jim Doyle introduced comprehensive global warming legislation that included a strong renewable energy standard of 25 percent by 2025. Walker viciously the bill as “global warming legislation that would mandate billions of dollars in new spending to produce the exact same energy we use today,” claiming “Wisconsin families will pay a steep price for these costly new regulations in higher utility bills and the projected 43,000 jobs that will be lost if this bill passes.”

Citing Tom Barrett’s support for the Kyoto Protocol and the US Conference of Mayors environmental agreement, Walker claimed Barrett has a record of promoting “radical environmental policies that kill jobs.”

Walker has received $15,000 from Koch Industries and signed the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity No Climate Tax pledge.


Matt MeadIn Wyoming, Republican millionaire Matt Mead holds a commanding lead over Leslie Petersen to replace Democratic governor Dave Freudenthal. Mead is a proud global warming denier:

I am unconvinced that climate change is man-made, but I do recognize we may face challenges presented by those who propose and believe they can change our climate by law with ill-thought-out policy like cap and trade (the latest version of which is the Senate Climate Bill, S. 1733, unveiled May 12th). [Mead for Governor]

We have been very blessed for many, many years to have the energy industry here in Wyoming,” Mead said in June at an energy policy debate. As a U.S. Attorney under George W. Bush, Mead defended Koch Industries in a lawsuit that alleged massive natural gas royalties fraud by the company.

Petersen, by contrast, says Wyoming will have to do something about global warming “whether we believe it or not.”