Climate denial runs rampant in the halls of Congress, with over 58 percent of congressional Republicans refusing to accept the reality of basic climate science. A new analysis from the CAP Action War Room reveals that half of America’s Republican governors agree with the anti-science caucus of Congress.
Climate-Progress: GovernorsEdit descriptioninteractives.americanprogress.orgFifteen out of twenty nine sitting Republican governors openly deny climate science despite the overwhelming level of scientific consensus and enormous cost to taxpayers. None of the country’s Democratic governors have made public statements denying climate change.
The nation’s governors are categorized into four groups below. Green governors not only accept climate change science but are proactively implementing policies to fight climate change and prepare their states for the impacts of extreme weather. Orange governors either accept climate science or have not openly denied it but also have not yet taken serious action to help their state prepare for its impacts. If a governor has made no public statement on climate science, has not taken action, or has openly objected to federal safeguards that help blunt the impacts of climate change, they are placed in the red category. Governors who deny the science behind climate change are added to the red “Climate Deniers” category, further marked by striped lines.
This guide will be updated as new information arises.
Governor Jerry Brown (D)
California Governor Jerry Brown (D) has made climate change a primary focus of his administration as he enforces AB 32, the state’s cap-and-trade system. In 2013, he signaled he would not wait for Congress to act on climate by joining the leaders of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia in signing the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, which aims to unite their efforts in combating climate change. He also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China’s top climate negotiator that pledges to work together on sharing low-carbon strategies and create joint ventures on clean energy technologies. In order to expand renewable energy, Brown signed pioneer legislation that allows customers of the state’s three largest utilities to purchase up to 100 percent clean energy. He’s also signed multiple clean energy bill packages into law and expanded the Renewable Portfolio Standard to make California’s standard among the most aggressive in the country. While he has signed legislation into law that allows fracking in California, the law imposes strict regulations on the oil and gas industry, including requiring companies to disclose which chemicals they use in the fracking process. Governor Brown is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Dan Malloy (D)
Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy (D) believes climate change is one of the most challenging and pressing issues of our time. As Governor, he created the Connecticut Shoreline Resiliency Fund, a low-interest loan program for state residents who are subject to coastal flooding and would like to elevate their homes. He signed into law the nation’s first full-scale clean energy finance bank to increase private investment in renewables and expanded Connecticut’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to help move the state away from dirtier fuels. Governor Malloy is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Jack Markell (D)
As Governor of Delaware, Jack Markell (D) has been outspoken about his acceptance of mainstream climate science. When commenting on the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Markell said, “There are still people who may say this storm or that storm is not related to general climate change. I can tell you when we had a number of communities flooded out in Delaware…and when you have leading scientists talk about the linkage between climate change and that flooding, people are in a position where they may more be receptive to listen.” Markell has worked to expand renewable energy in the state, signing into law a Clean Energy Jobs package that expanded Delaware’s Renewable Portfolio Standard and strengthened the solar net metering program. Along with the Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland, Markell asked the federal government to contract for future offshore wind energy in order to help start the offshore wind energy manufacturing industry in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Governor Neil Abercrombie (D)
“Being the only island state in the country, we are especially vulnerable to climate change and are on the frontlines of impacts like sea level rise,” said Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) when he signed legislation into law to establish an interagency committee to develop a sea-level rise vulnerability and adaptation report. While Hawaii was already one of the most attractive markets for solar power, the governor signed legislation into law in 2013 to establish a green infrastructure financing program, which allows residents to invest in clean energy. Abercrombie also praised the president’s new Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. Governor Abercrombie is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Martin O’Malley (D)
Governor Martin O’Malley (D) stated that he believes climate change is real. He signed into law legislation that cut the state’s carbon pollution 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.” He boosted Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, enacted an initiative to create 100,000 new green jobs, and signed the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act that established targets on energy consumption. In 2013, the Maryland House of delegates handed O’Malley one of his most desired legislative victories — enactment of a bill that would fund the development of a wind farm in federal waters off the coast of Maryland. O’Malley later vetoed a bill that would have “effectively killed” the wind farm from being developed and has also reached out with Delaware Governor Markell to ask the federal government to buy future offshore wind energy. Governor O’Malley is term-limited and cannot seek re-election in 2014.
Governor Deval Patrick (D)
While speaking at a college graduation ceremony, Governor Deval Patrick (D) highlighted the National Climate Assessment, how climate change is already effecting New England, and went on to lay out the steps Massachusetts has taken over the 15 years to cut carbon emissions, invest in clean energy, and adapt to climate change. He then proposed something big — “Massachusetts should finally end all reliance on conventional coal generation.” He called for a “future free of fossil fuels” and hopes to drop coal in four years. As governor, he has allocated funding for measures to protect the state against sea level rise and destructive storms, signed one of the most aggressive greenhouse gas emission targets for any single state, and boosted renewable energy enough for the state to achieve its 10-year goal four years early in 2013. Governor Patrick is eligible to seek a third term but has stated he will not run for re-election in 2014.
Governor Mark Dayton (D)
Governor Mark Dayton (D) agrees the climate is changing and having impacts on Minnesota. Minnesota Public Radio reported that in response to a question about climate change, Dayton said the state’s strategy should include an eventual elimination of coal-burning power plants as Minnesota needs to move toward less-polluting sources of energy, such as wind and solar. He said the availability and price of natural gas makes it possible to set a goal of getting rid of coal as a source of electricity. In 2013, Dayton signed an economic development bill that contained several powerful incentives for solar development in the state. Governor Dayton is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Maggie Hassan (D)
Governor Maggie Hassan (D) has said “the science behind climate change is incontrovertible,” and in 2013, signed two bills into law to help lessen the impact of climate change in New Hampshire. The bills aim to give more power to state and local governments to prepare coastal communities for sea-level rise, and include the creation of a new Coastal Risk and Hazard Commission. She also signed into law two bills that strengthen New Hampshire’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) by lowering the carbon pollution cap for power plants. Governor Hassan is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Andrew Cuomo (D)
In an op-ed, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) said that climate denial is distracting us from addressing its inarguable effects. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Governor Cuomo outlined a plan on how New York could start to prepare for the impacts of climate change by investing federal disaster aid on items like high-tech weather stations and seals for entrances to subway stations. He announced more than 1,000 projects that will better prepare the state for storms, which includ rebuilding tidal wetlands, upgrading the electrical grid, and buying homes that are at a high risk of flooding. He has also proposed revised rules to further reduce pollution from power plants by lowering the emissions cap under the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). In February 2014, Cuomo announced the opening of the New York Green Bank, which will “stimulate private sector financing and accelerate the transition to a more cost-effective, resilient and clean energy system.” He also launched the NY-Sun Initiative, which aims to double the amount of customer-sited solar power installed annually. Cuomo has committed $1 billion to the program over 10 years. Governor Cuomo is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor John Kitzhaber (D)
Governor John Kitzhaber (D) has called climate change a “central issue of our time.” In 2013, he signaled he would not wait for Congress to act on climate by joining the leaders of California, Washington, and British Columbia in signing the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, which aims to unite their efforts in combating climate change. Kitzhaber signed a bill into law that preserved the state’s successful Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and in 2012, created a 10-Year Energy Action Plan to boost renewable fuels and reduce greenhouse gas pollution. After realizing he would not be able to convince the legislature to keep Oregon’s clean-fuels program, he ordered a stricter fuel requirement to move forward anyway. He also put himself at odds with the president when he challenged the administration’s policy of supporting increases of exports of American coal because of the consequences it would have on climate change. Governor Kitzhaber is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Lincoln Chafee (D)
Governor Lincoln Chafee (D) signed an executive order in early 2014 to create the Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Council (ECCC) — “I am establishing the Council because for too long there has been strong evidence and scientific consensus that manmade greenhouse gases will have profound effects on global climate, weather patterns and ocean conditions; effects that the state cannot afford to ignore,” Governor Chafee said. “Rhode Island must act boldly to position the state as a national leader in climate adaptation with a comprehensive approach that will benefit our communities and businesses.” The council will advise the governor on best practices to ensure the state continues to be a leader in developing strategies to combat the impacts of climate change. A few months later, the legislature passed a bill making the council permanent, and Chafee signed it. In order to support clean energy, Chafee’s office has announced grants to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and made significant investments in offshore wind developments. Governor Chafee is eligible for re-election in 2014 but has decided to retire.
Governor Peter Shumlin (D)
“We will not join the others in the denial, in the pretend, in the ‘let business happen as usual,’ because our kids and our grandkids mean more to us than our own greed,” Governor Shumlin (D) said in 2011. “And we’re going to get off oil and move forward as quickly as we know how.” Governor Shumlin has worked to expand solar net metering, signed into law the nation’s first ban on fracking, and has openly stated his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. Governor Shumlin is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Jay Inslee (D)
Governor Jay Inslee (D) has said the science is clear — climate change is happening and the state of Washington has already experienced negative economic impacts. As his first official act as governor, he wrote a letter to a clean energy company inviting it to relocate to Washington. In 2013, he joined the leaders of California, Oregon, and British Columbia in signing the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, which aims to unite their efforts in combating climate change. Signaling he would not wait for Congress to act, Inslee signed an executive order in early 2014 that creates a task force on reducing carbon pollution and directs it to design a “cap-and-market” program to meet emission reduction goals. The directive also orders state agencies to eventually eliminate the use of coal, spur development and the use of renewable energy, and develop a “smart building program” to increase energy efficiency. Inslee also asked the Obama administration to review the climate change consequences of leasing and exporting Western coal, saying it will be the “largest decision we will be making as a state from a carbon pollution standpoint.”
Governor Mike Beebe (D)
“Global warming is a growing concern that requires study and action on both state and federal levels,” said Governor Mike Beebe (D) when he announced the Governor’s Commission on Global Warming in 2007. The Commission studies how climate change will have an impact on Arkansas. He has since suggested the need for balance between environmental concerns and economic interests, and that a unilateral approach to climate change would be fruitless. Beebe has been a big supporter of wind power and has spoken out against Congress for failing to extend the Production Tax Credit for wind electricity. Governor Beebe is term-limited and cannot seek re-election in 2014.
Governor John Hickenlooper (D)
Colorado Governor Hickenlooper has a record of flip-flopping on his climate science beliefs. In 2010, he said he didn’t think the scientific community had decided that climate change is as catastrophic as so many people think, and in 2013, he seemed to accept the science more, though still showed some doubt: “Every study I’ve seen, climate change is happening. I’m not saying it absolutely is, but if climate change is happening, every study I’ve seen puts Colorado in what’s called a rain shadow, so not only does it get warmer, so we get less snowpack, but we’re going to get less water.” Hickenlooper did spearhead efforts and signed into law first-of-their-kind limits on methane — a potent climate pollutant — from oil and gas production. As a former petroleum geologist, he’s been a big supporter of the oil and gas industry in Colorado. He appointed an industry campaign donor to oversee the oil industry. In 2012, he appeared in paid advertising supporting the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, an industry lobby and trade group which has a history of fighting health and safety standards. He has even drank fracking fluid to prove there was no risk to human health. Hickenlooper has also developed a troubling record of opposing protections for at-risk wildlife in oil and gas producing areas, including the lesser prairie chicken, the Gunnison sage grouse, and the Greater sage grouse. Despite his close ties with the fossil fuel industry, Hickenlooper has been a proponent of renewable electricity, and signed a bill that doubled the renewable power target for rural electric cooperatives. Governor Hickenlooper is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Pat Quinn (D)
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) agrees there is a link between people and climate change. In response to the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan for coal-fired power plants, Governor Quinn said, “I commend President Obama for confronting this critical issue. Illinois has seen the devastating impacts of severe weather first-hand with 11 natural disasters over the past five years. Moving toward a cleaner, more reliable and resilient energy system will bring significant benefits to our communities and our state.” In 2013, Governor Quinn signed legislation into law to regulate fracking, which was seen as the nation’s strictest for oil and gas drilling. Illinois is the nation’s fifth-largest producer of coal and the governor has cheered the state’s record coal exports. While he has signed legislation to boost the coal industry, including allowing the coal industry to mine in the state’s largest park, he has also vetoed legislation that would have moved forward with a coal gasification plant slated for an already heavily polluted area of Southeastern Chicago. Governor Quinn is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Terry Branstad (R)
Republican Governor Terry Branstad believes that climate change is happening but has expressed hesitation on acting. “We need to recognize this climate change issue is a global issue,” he told to Politico. “We also need to respect as we try to deal with that on an international basis the need for our country to be competitive and be able to attract good-quality, high-paying jobs. I think we’ve got to be open at looking at all kinds of things we can do to be energy independent and also keep our energy costs reasonably low,” he added. As governor, he has been a big proponent of the state’s burgeoning wind industry, even reprimanding fellow Republicans who are against supporting the industry. Along with North Dakota, Iowa now uses wind power for more than 25 percent of its total electricity production, the most in the nation. Yet with regard to the president’s plan to regulate carbon pollution from existing coal-fired power plants, a spokesman for the governor said he is concerned the EPA’s “latest unilateral, ideological action” will hurt Iowa consumers and cost jobs. Governor Branstad is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Steven L. Beshear (D)
“My administration recognizes the need to address greenhouse gas emissions from all sources and has supported a diversified energy portfolio, including measures to improve energy efficiency, expand use of renewables, and promote carbon capture and storage and other low-carbon technologies,” said Governor Steven Beshear (D). In 2013, he created the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, which will develop a plan to address climate change. He stood up to climate deniers and signed into law Next Generation Science Standards, which provide standards for science education that include the teaching of climate science and evolution. While he has been outspoken about acting on climate, Beshear joined six other governors in urging the president to drop proposed EPA rules to limit carbon pollution from coal plants.
Governor Rick Snyder (R)
Governor Rick Synder (R) ran on a strong conservation platform, earning him a 2010 endorsement from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters (LCV). A spokesman for the governor said the administration is convinced climate change is real, but also showed some doubt on why it occurs: “People may not agree about why climate change is happening, but it is certainly affecting Michigan.” The governor spoke out against a 2012 ballot measures that would have required the state’s utilities to generate 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025, saying he had concerns about the financial viability of using wind, solar, hydropower, and biomass to meet Michigan’s energy needs. Towards the end of 2013, the governor indicated that his goal is to have a more comprehensive energy plan in place by 2015 that includes a reduction in coal-fired power and an increase in fracking and renewable energy. Michigan LCV issued a Midterm Report Card for 2011–2012 and gave Snyder a “C” rating, saying they’ve seen both positive and negative policies adopted by his administration. Governor Snyder is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Jay Nixon (D)
Speaking on CNN’s Crossfire, Governor Jay Nixon (D) said, “Well, first of all we need to accept the science of climate change and understand we’ve got to change the world. And we all have a joint responsibility to do things to make that better.” In early 2014, Nixon signed an executive order launching the development of a comprehensive energy policy for Missouri. The Democratic governor has also endorsed the Keystone XL pipeline.
Governor Steve Bullock (D)
Governor Steve Bullock said climate change is real: “In Montana, whether you’re a farmer, whether you’re a fisherman … you know that the climate is changing and we need to do something about it.” Governor Bullock has opposed any federal pollution limits on fracking, arguing states are capable of regulating the oil and gas industry, and endorsed the Keystone XL pipeline, which would greatly exacerbate carbon pollution. He has also defended the state’s Renewable Energy Standard and signed legislation into law that would expand renewables in the state.
Governor Brian Sandoval (R)
Asked if he believes climate scientists that humans are the main drivers of climate change, Governor Brian Sandoval (R) told Real Clear Politics, “I’m not qualified to answer that question.” He added, “Let me tell you what we’ve done, without getting to whether it’s human-caused or whatever that may be.” Sandoval signed legislation into law that shifts the state away from coal by eliminating “800 megawatts of coal-fired power generation…[and] mandates 350 megawatts of renewable energy development,” according to the Las Vegas Sun. In the interview with Real Clear Politics, he also expressed that the state will be ready to meet the new EPA standards for existing coal-fired power plants. Sandoval also signed into law a bill aimed at studying an unconstitutional plan to seize federal public lands in Nevada for state management, an idea that that is well outside the mainstream among Western voters. Governor Sandoval is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Chris Christie (R)
Governor Chris Christie (R) flip-flopped on climate change throughout his tenure as governor. In 2011, he acknowledged the effects humans have on climate change, but in 2013, he rejected the notion that Hurricane Sandy’s damage was worsened by climate change. A New Jersey appeals court ruled that the governor illegally withdrew the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) back in 2011, a Northeast cap-and-trade program that aims to collectively reduce carbon pollution from power plants. He also broke from other Northeast states and did not join the lawsuit to defend the EPA’s cross-state air pollution rules. His administration has been accused of going to extraordinary lengths to secure approval for a controversial gas pipeline that would benefit a top Christie political operative who was also enmeshed in the George Washington Bridge scandal. The governor has signed legislation into law that increased the number of solar renewable energy credits that electric utilities must buy. In 2010, Christie signed into law a bill that aims to facilitate offshore wind power, but his administration has recently been accused of stalling the projects.
Governor John Kasich (R)
“I am a believer — my goodness I am a Republican — I happen to believe there is a problem with climate change. I don’t want to overreact to it, I can’t measure it all, but I respect the creation that the Lord has given us and I want to make sure we protect it,” Governor John Kasich (R) said at an energy conference hosted by The Hill. In 2012, he pushed a major rewrite of Ohio’s energy policies that in his words, accounted for newly accessible shale gas and embraced Ohio’s renewable energy and efficiency targets as “vital to the state’s economy.” In June 2014, he signed a bill passed by the state legislature that would freeze the Renewable Energy Standard, despite its popularity among Ohioans and industry. In 2011, he also signed a bill 70 percent of Ohioans opposed that opened up state parks and other public lands to drilling and fracking. Governor Kasich is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Terry McAuliffe (D)
“The first big decision is to accept climate change is real,” Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) said. “I believe humans contribute to climate change. I think it’s pretty much settled. I think the impacts are felt today.” The governor plans to reactivate a climate change commission to advise him on how to protect Virginia, as the Hampton Roads area has been named the second-most vulnerable place to sea-level rise in the nation. In response to the economic struggles the coal industry has deal with in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe said carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology was the answer, calling jobs in CCS-equipped coal plants the “jobs of the future.” He is the only Democrat to join a coalition of governors supporting efforts to open the outer continental shelf to oil and gas exploration.
Governor Robert Bentley (R)
Governor Robert Bentley (R) hasn’t taken a strong position on climate in the past few years, but in 2010 he said, “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.” In 2012, Bentley declined to say why he signed a bill banning the UN Agenda 21 Sustainability Program, making Alabama the first state to ban the environmental treaty aimed at increasing sustainable living despite the fact it has no force of law in the United States. Bentley has joined a coalition of governors supporting efforts to open the outer continental shelf to oil and gas exploration and in 2014, he expressed interest in his State of the State speech to develop the state’s highly polluting tar sands oil. Governor Bentley is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Sean Parnell (R)
While Alaska Governor Sean Parnell (R) agrees that climate change is occurring and that “both human and natural elements, like volcanic eruptions, are responsible,” he has actively blocked efforts to combat climate change, even dismantling a state climate panel that former Governor Sarah Palin (R) established to develop ways “Alaskans can save energy and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.” In 2010, the state of Alaska, along with trade groups like the Chamber of Commerce, filed a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, which Parnell called “federal overreach.” More recently, Parnell touted a lawsuit filed by Alaska to allow drilling in polar bear habitats, calling it “disappointing and disturbing” that the Obama administration does not want to look for oil in the polar bear breeding ground. A former ConocoPhillips executive, Parnell has long represented Big Oil’s interest in Alaska. In 2012, he met with CEO’s of Exxon Mobil, BP, and ConocoPhillips for a meeting the AP called “virtually unheard-of,” to develop a strategy for promoting oil development in the state. He has also sought to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for drilling and has called on the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Governor Parnell is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Bobby Jindal (R)
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) has never said if he believes the science that climate change is real, here, and due to human activities. ClimateProgress reached out for a comment, but did not immediately hear back from the governor’s office. Jindal has demanded the EPA rescind its determination that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that in his letter he said the agency was attempting to avoid proper review of new rules by Congress and public input into the rules. A long-time ally of the oil and gas industry, Governor Jindal signed a bill that would kill a New Orleans area flood authority’s lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies. Three former Louisiana governors, State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, more than 100 legal experts, and a number of environmental groups and state politicians urged Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal not to sign the bill, which could undermine other lawsuits against oil and gas interests in Louisiana, including claims against BP over its 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster. Last year, environmental groups pointed out that Jindal had received more than $1 million from oil and gas companies and executives in state election campaigns between 2003 and 2013.
Governor Phil Bryant (R)
Governor Phil Bryant (R) has never said if he believes climate change science. ClimateProgress reached out for a comment, but did not immediately hear back from the governor’s office. Bryant wrote to President Obama urging him to back off from an April 2012 Environmental Protection Agency proposed rule that would set a limit on 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide released for every megawatt of power generated by coal fired power plants, according to BussinessWeek. He also joined a coalition of governors supporting efforts to open the outer continental shelf to oil and gas exploration.
Governor Dave Heineman (R)
Governor Dave Heineman (R) has never said whether he believes scientists that climate change is occurring or if humans contributes to it. ClimateProgress reached out for a comment, but a spokeswoman for Governor Heineman did not respond to the question. Heineman cancelled a controversial legislative study on the effects of climate change in Nebraska, saying the work would be duplicative of a study done by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He approved a revised route for the Keystone XL pipeline, which supporters have said would avoid the environmentally-sensitive Sand Hills region of Nebraska. However, a Nebraska District Court Judge declared a rule that gave Heineman the power to approve pipeline routes unconstitutional. The governor has appealed that decision. Governor Heineman is term-limited and cannot seek re-election in 2014.
Governor Jack Dalrymple (R)
North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple (R) has never stated whether he believes climate change is underway. ClimateProgress reached out for a comment, but did not immediately hear back from the governor’s office. Dalrymple has been outspoken about his opposition to limits on carbon pollution, stating: “The president’s plan [to reduce carbon pollution] means higher energy costs for consumers and businesses, weakened U.S. competiveness in global markets and increased unemployment at a time when the economy is still struggling.” In a state that relies on coal for 87 percent of its electricity generation, the governor has emphasized his concerns that coal plants are being singled out.
Governor Nikki R. Haley (R)
Governor Nikki Haley (R) has never stated if she believes climate change is underway. ClimateProgress reached out for a comment, but did not immediately hear back from the governor’s office. Haley has criticized the EPA’s rule to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants, saying, “This is exactly what we don’t need. This is exactly what hurts us. You can’t mandate utility companies which, in turn, raises the cost of power. That’s what’s going to keep jobs away. That’s what’s going to keep companies away.” She added that officials in Washington “stay out of the way,” according to The Charleston Post and Courier. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources also kept quiet a report by a team of state scientists that outlined serious concerns about the damage the state will suffer due to climate change. Governor Haley is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Bill Haslam (R)
Governor Bill Haslam (R) has never stated if he believes climate change science. ClimateProgress reached out for a comment, but did not immediately hear back from the governor’s office. EcoWatch reported that Haslam is an oilman that stands to profit from petroleum and gas development in the state: “The Haslam family of Knoxville, Tennessee has amassed a fortune from the business, Pilot Travel Centers, which the family founded in 1958. The family merged the business with Flying J in 2001 and the Haslam family continues to run the company out of Knoxville. In 2012, the Haslam family purchased Western Petroleum and Maxum Petroleum. Both companies are among the nation’s major suppliers of fuel to the gas drilling and fracking operations in the U.S. The Haslam family will also start installing natural gas fueling pump stations to some of the corporation’s fueling stations. In 2013, they plan to have 100 truck stops capable of fueling 18-wheelers with liquefied natural gas.” Though he weakly protested the veto-proof passage of a bill that would permit climate denial to be taught in schools, he has yet to make any major state-level pushes to address climate change. Governor Haslam is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D)
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) has not said if he believes climate scientists that human-induced climate change is real and happening now. ClimateProgress reached out for a comment, but did not immediately hear back from the governor’s office. He has, however, spoken out against standards that will help combat climate change and its impacts. He has long said the White House is waging a “war on coal” and met with Obama administration officials prior to the release of federal Clean Power Plan to urge the EPA to be flexible. Despite the EPA’s promise to allow flexibility for states, the governor spoke out at a press conference against the rule, saying it was “outrageous” and that the state’s “worst fears were realized.” Coal is one of West Virginia’s primary economic resources. Tomblin also sued the EPA over its denial of new mountain top removal mining permits in the Appalachian region, stating the EPA had “overstepped its bound.”
Governor Scott Walker (R)
Governor Walker (R) has never said if he believes climate change is occurring. ClimateProgress reached out for a comment, but did not immediately hear back from the governor’s office. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that little has been done to combat climate change under his administration. “After an intense focus on climate change under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled Legislature have devoted little attention to such issues… Shortly after taking office in 2011, Walker canceled plans to burn renewable biomass at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.” He has spoken to the Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank that denies climate science, and has tried to ban wind-powered energy from Wisconsin and exacerbate the state’s dependence on out of state coal. Governor Walker is running for re-election in 2014.
Governors Jan Brewer (R)
A climate-denier, Governor Jan Brewer (R) said, “Everybody has an opinion on it, you know, and I probably don’t believe that it’s man-made. I believe that, you know, that weather and certain elements are controlled maybe by different things.” In 2010, she signed a bill that bars new state rules or regional agreements to reduce greenhouse gases unless the legislature approves. In 2011, Brewer opted out of the Western Climate Initiative, a multi-state attempt to limit greenhouse gases, despite recognizing that their greenhouse gas pollution was expected to rise. A spokesman for the governor said she objects to the president’s Clean Power Plan, saying the EPA has overstepped its authority. As governor, she has worked to expand renewables in the state, particularly solar energy. She also vetoed a bill that would turn over 25 million acres of public lands to the state, which was consistent with Arizona voters views. Governor Brewer is term-limited and cannot seek re-election in 2014.
Rick Scott (R)
In 2010, Governor Rick Scott (R) was asked if he accepts climate science. He said “no … I have not been convinced.” Asked what he needs to convince him, “Something more convincing than what I’ve read.” He still dodges the question by stating “I’m not a scientist” and hasn’t been vocal in addressing sea level rise since the National Climate Assessment came out in May 2014. He denied requests from the New York Times to be interviewed on the subject, but told WPBF there was “absolutely” work being done on the state level to protect Florida from the effects of climate change. Gov. Scott’s beachfront property is in the path of sea level rise projections in the state, putting the governor in “one of the most vulnerable positions” in regards to rising waters, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The governor’s $9.2 million Naples mansion sits about 200 feet away from the ocean and a foot above sea level, and the sea on his stretch of beach has risen about 8 or 9 inches over the last century. Governor Scott is seeking re-election in 2014.
Governor Nathan Deal (R)
Governor Nathan Deal (R) previously served in the House of Representatives, where he filed a “climategate” petition against the EPA finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare. Rep. Deal, along with energy companies, industry front groups, and other Republican politicians, sued the EPA in an attempt to block the agency from limiting greenhouse gases. Their argument was that climate science is a hoax. As governor, he has never stated his position on climate change. ThinkProgress reached out for a comment, but did not immediately hear back from the governor’s office. Deal said he is wary of requiring utilities to expand solar power and that green energy comes with trade-offs on reliability and cost. Governor Deal is seeking re-election in 2014.
Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter (R)
In a letter addressing the president’s climate change plan, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said: “And while the degree and extent to which carbon emissions play a role in climate change is still debatable, the fact that Idaho is significantly impacted by the federal government’s actions and inactions is not.” The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Governor Otter “…complained about the federal government’s doublespeak on energy. He blamed vehicle fuel-efficiency standards for devastating wildfires, carbon emissions from those fires, declining transportation-tax revenues in the states, and for ruining salmon runs.” Governor Otter is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Mike Pence (R)
When asked if he accepts climate change science, Governor Mike Pence (R) responded, “I don’t know that that is a resolved issue in science today…just a few years ago we were talking about global warming. We haven’t seen a lot of warming lately. I remember back in the 70’s we were talking about the coming ice age.” He has also been outspoken in opposing the Clean Power Plan, saying the president’s proposal to cap carbon from fossil-fuel power plants will have a “detrimental impact” on Indiana and cause electricity price spikes. Governor Pence also refused to either sign or veto a bill that would end Indiana’s state-wide energy efficiency program, which by default, became law.
Governor Sam Brownback (R)
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (R) has flip-flopped on his acceptance of climate science. In 2007, as a U.S. Senator, he said that “we need to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere,” but in 2009 he embraced the “climategate” scandal, writing in a letter with fellow Republicans that climate science research is “driven more by a political agenda than a quest for truth.” As governor, he has not stated if he accepts climate science. ClimateProgress reached out for a comment, but did not immediately hear back from the governor’s office. Before the EPA even released their rule to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants, Gov. Brownback signed a bill that asserts Kansas will make its own decisions about how to handle carbon pollution. The bill-signing ceremony took place at a local coal plant. In response to the president’s Clean Power Plan, Brownback said, “This is more of the Obama administration’s war against middle America.” The governor has supported the wind industry, defending attacks on the state’s Renewable Energy Standard and praising the extension of the federal Production Tax Credit. Hailing from the same state as the Koch brothers, Brownback has received financial support from the oil and gas giants for his entire career. Governor Brownback is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Paul LePage (R)
Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) is one of the most outspoken climate deniers, and has said that “scientists are divided on the subject.” During LePage’s tenure, he has argued that Maine could potentially benefit from the effects of climate change, vetoed legislation that would help the state prepare for extreme weather, blocked a bipartisan bill to expand solar power, and has attempted to dramatically reduce the state’s renewable energy standards to benefit large corporations. He also tried to sneak through a proposal that would exempt the state from certain anti-smog regulations, undoing protections that have been in place for almost 25 years. Following a critical series of articles in three Maine newspapers on the administration’s work to undermine environmental protections, LePage’s office cut off those papers’ access to administration officials. A spokeswoman told them they would no longer respond to requests, even for public documents, because the newspaper’s parent company “made it clear that it opposed this administration.” Governor LePage is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Susana Martinez (R)
“I’m not sure the science completely supports that,” is Governor Susana Martinez’s (R) view on climate change science. Responding to the New Mexico Independent in 2010, she revealed that she thinks the science of climate change is an “ideological debate.” While he is no longer serving, Martinez appointed a well-known climate denier to head the state’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. Upon taking office, she also immediately repealed the state’s regulation requiring an annual 3 percent cut in greenhouse gas pollution, saying it was a burden on industry, and stopped regulations to keep oil and gas drilling waste out of groundwater that frequently supplies drinking water. Martinez did veto a provision that would have spent New Mexico taxpayers’ money on an ill-conceived study of whether the state should seize federal public lands. Governor Martinez is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Pat McCrory (R)
In a 2008 interview, then gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory (R) was asked if he believes climate change science. His response was that “some things are out of control” and that “it’s in God’s hands.” Since then, he has admitted the climate is changing, but still shows some doubt on how much is human-caused. Since he became governor in 2013, there have been drastic changes to the state agencies responsible for addressing climate change, including the Department of Energy and Natural Resources (DENR). The Asheboro and Randolph Courier-Tribune reported, “DENR had previously made climate change a key component in its 2009–13 strategic plan. That plan included launching a climate change initiative and forming a climate change steering committee. The strategic plan cited a ‘fierce urgency’ for dealing with climate change. But with the election of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in 2012, new leadership was also installed at many state agencies, including DENR. A DENR employee who worked on the Interagency Leadership Team plan, ‘Climate Ready North Carolina,’ was reassigned to new duties when the current administration took over, and she said she didn’t know who might be working on climate change.” Since that article was published in July 2013, DENR has removed links and documents containing information about climate change from its website. McCrory has also been very outspoken about his desire to open up more land and even the coast of North Carolina, a popular tourist destination that fuels the coastal economy, to drilling operations. He joined a coalition of governors that support drilling in the outer continental shelf and signed a law that lifts the state’s moratorium on fracking permits.
Governor Mary Fallin (R)
Before her 2013 “State of the State” speech, Governor Mary Fallin (R) was asked by reporters about climate change and whether the current drought in Oklahoma is evidence that change is occurring. She replied, “It’s just nature itself and the patterns that flow and so we’re going to continue to pray for rain in the state of Oklahoma and hope we that we get some relief.” The Raleigh News and Observer also reported Fallin said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has lent “a voice of logic on climate change.” Inhofe is one of the most outspoken climate science deniers, even writing a book on the subject. In early 2014, Fallin signed a bill that would charge Oklahoma residents an additional fee if they produce their own energy through solar panels or small wind turbines, standing up for the utilities over consumers. Citing concerns for ratepayers, the governor also criticized a plan by the EPA to reduce regional haze and control pollution at three Oklahoma power plants: “It is frustrating and disappointing that the EPA continues to move forward with a federal plan that will raise costs for ratepayers and utility companies, leave less money in the pockets of Oklahomans and push our economy in the wrong direction. The EPA’s plan could drive utility rates significantly higher in the next five years, something that many citizens cannot afford, especially during a recession.” Governor Fallin is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Tom Corbett (R)
Governor Tom Corbett (R) questions the science behind climate change: “I think some people believe that it is clearly evident and it’s coming very, very quickly. I think there are others who are equally qualified that disagree with that. It’s a subject of debate.” In 2011, Corbett withdrew the state of Pennsylvania from the legal defense of the EPA’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gases. While he did implement a climate action plan, it was criticized as inadequate because it fails to set greenhouse gas reduction goals and fails to incentive renewable energy, according to an op-ed by Rep. Greg Vitali (D) in the Lebanon Daily News. The governor has cut funding for climate change research, has appointed climate science deniers to his administration, and has eliminated bipartisan programs that focused on renewable energy and conservation. Instead, he has moved his focus to natural gas production and the booming fracking industry in Pennsylvania. Despite coming under fire for pollution from drilling, Corbett handed authority of some of the state’s most critical environmental decisions to C. Alan Walker, a Pennsylvania energy executive who has fought against environmental protections and donated $184,000 to Corbett’s campaign efforts. The governor also made false job claims on behalf of the fracking industry, has been accused of trying to confuse the public with an environmentally friendly fracking agreement, and has called to lift the ban on oil and gas drilling in state parks and forests. Governor Corbett is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Dennis Daugaard (R)
“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,” Governor Dennis Daugaard (R) said in 2010. He has helped increase oil and gas production in South Dakota and supports the use of hydraulic fracturing, also known as ‘‘fracking.’’ Governor Daugaard is running for re-election in 2014.
Governor Rick Perry (R)
Governor Rick Perry (R) has repeatedly questioned the science behind climate change — “I think we’re seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists that are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.” Perry, along with energy companies, industry front groups, and other conservative politicians, sued the EPA in an attempt to block the agency from regulating climate pollution. Their argument was that climate science is a hoax. Under Perry, Texas has led the nation in carbon emissions and is home to five of the ten worst mercury emitting power plants in the country. The governor has called the EPA a “den of activists,” and in response to the Clean Power Plan, the governor said it was “the most direct assault yet on the energy providers that employ thousands of Americans.” He has criticized the administration’s delay of the Keystone XL pipeline and speaking at a trade association funded by BP, Perry called the 2010 BP oil catastrophe an “act of God” and his solution to the nation’s economic ills: “more oil drilling.” Governor Perry is eligible to seek a fourth term but has stated he will not run for re-election in 2014.
Governor Gary R. Herbert (R)
In 2009, Governor Gary Herbert (R) said, “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,” on his acceptance of climate science. Herbert signed a clearly unconstitutional measure passed by the state legislature asserting that Utah can lay claim to 30 million acres of federal lands within the state’s borders and appropriating $3 million in scarce state funds to fight that hopeless battle in court. He has also brought a lawsuit to gain state control of 12,000 miles of “roads” that cross federal parks, monuments, wilderness areas and red rock wonderlands managed by the federal Department of Interior — many of which are nothing but cow paths and nearly invisible trails. In his 2014 “State of the State” address, the governor promised to speed the transition to Tier 3 vehicle and fuel standards, a move that “would lower the sulfur content of gasoline from 30 parts per million to 10 parts per million and require cleaner-burning emission controls on all new vehicles.” Herbert also asked the state air quality board to limit wood burning in high air pollution areas, and said he would require less auto travel and more mass transit travel by state employees.
Governor Matthew Mead (R)
Governor Matthew Mead (R) is a climate science denier: “As we flew in a snowstorm tonight I was thinking about global warming,” Mead joked. “I think the world generally accepts this phenomenon. I’m skeptical. In part, I’m skeptical because I think people need to be skeptical when it comes to where we are in science.” He’s called efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions a “war on coal” and criticized the EPA rule to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants. He has also emphasized the limitations of renewable energy sources: “Renewables aren’t going to get you there,” he said. “The reason I don’t think we should [have a state renewable policy] is because, as the nation’s largest exporter of energy, I think that it should be more voluntary.” It’s not surprising he is a fossil fuel booster, as he presides over a state that ranks #1 in coal production, #5 in natural gas production, and #8 in crude oil production. Wyoming was also the first state to reject new national science education standards after Mead approved a state budget that blocked them. That decision was based in part on lawmakers’ concerns that the standards teach climate change as a scientifically-accepted occurrence. Finally, Mead spoke at an event hosted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group known for making model legislation that has been used to target renewable energy standards. Governor Mead is running for re-election in 2014.