On Tuesday, one big handy graphic appeared online detailing what every state governor really believes about climate change. The Center for American Progress released an interactive map of the 50 states. It details the sad fact that half of America’s 29 Republican governors agree with the anti-science caucus of Congress.
Tiffany Germain And Ryan Koronowski, who wrote the article accompanying the map, say that “governors who deny the science behind climate change can do significant damage to our nation’s environmental and public health protections.” They single out Paul LePage of Maine, Rick Perry of Texas, and Rick Scott of Florida as examples of state leaders who deny that climate change is occurring today.
Even likely presidential contenders Chris Christie of New Jersey and Florida’s Marco Rubio regularly waffle on the subject and emit unpopular anti-science declarations. The authors cite the nation’s top environmental official, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, as making it clear that that the new Clean Air Act regulations targeting carbon pollution will only work if the nation’s governors are on board.
“Governors who deny the science behind climate change can do significant damage to our nation’s environmental and public health protections…. Many governors will not be guiding their states to lower greenhouse gas emissions because they aren’t convinced carbon pollution is a bad thing, while actively discouraging strong renewable energy industries in their states.”
Why are state leaders engaging in this counterproductive behavior? CAP sees oil and gas interests channeling massive financial support to governors, uniformly Republican, who block regulations on climate. It seems that they do so because they perceive restrictions as potential challenges to traditional bottom lines. Examining the dollar figures, CAP reveals:
- “In total, the fifteen governors who have denied climate change have taken $15,013,754 in campaign contributions from oil and gas over the course of their careers, with a large majority of that going to Gov. Perry.”
- “In contrast, all Democratic governors have taken a total of $1,403,940.”
- “On average, climate deniers have taken $1,072,397 [each], while the remainder of governors have only taken an average of $126,373.”
We suggest you access the interactive functions of the map and find out the details concerning your state, and others. The map splits governors into four groups: those who both accept climate science and are taking action on it (green); those who either accept or have not openly denied climate science, but have not yet taken serious action (orange); those who have failed to take action and/or openly rejected national climate safeguards (red); and outright climate deniers (red with diagonal stripes).
You’ll see that if we want to address the climate challenge as a nation, we have a lot of local work to do.