There’s no doubt about it: Climate change is real, and it’s caused by humans. We need to act now to fix it. But so many of our state’s law makers are still denying it. Does your governor deny climate change? The answer might surprise you.
This new map, created by ThinkProgress, shows which states’ governors believe in climate change, deny climate change or something in the middle. They note:
Fifteen out of twenty-nine sitting Republican governors deny climate science despite the overwhelming level of scientific consensus, the enormous cost to taxpayers, and the critical place governors occupy in implementing new limits on carbon pollution. None of the country’s Democratic governors have made public statements denying climate change.
The green states have governors who accept the science of climate change and have a strong record of upholding it. The orange fare a little worse: They believe the scientists but don’t always use that knowledge in their law-making.
The red states are bad: Their governors have no record or a weak record of acting on climate and clean energy. The red states with the hash marks are — based on their actions — full-on anti-climate global warming deniers.
On the ThinkProgress site, the map is interactive — clicking on your state will tell you what each governor has done to deserve their ranking. For example here are two exact-opposite states:
New York: 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 include 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.
Texas: 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 criticised 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.
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