This Map Will Tell You
Most Americans disagree with their governor or attorney general on climate change. Despite the fact that a majority of Americans—67 percent—support acting on climate, 54 percent of Americans—or more than 173 million people—have a governor or attorney general that is actively working to block climate action. That’s according to new research out today from the Center for American Progress Action Fund that takes a comprehensive look at the climate and clean energy records of the nation’s governors and attorneys general. The project is the most recent update of CAP Action’s Climate Deniers series. Check out the interactive map to see where your elected officials stand.
After sweating through yet another hottest year on record, 24 governors and attorneys general continue to deny the science behind human-caused climate change. Of those 24 deniers, 21 deniers are governors, which is an increase from previous years. Notably, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (R) added himself to the list when he said during a gubernatorial debate there has been “a lot of fluff and theory that has been perpetrated as science to create the perception that somehow this global warming has been entirely man-made.” West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D), also made this year’s list as the lone Democrat among the 24 deniers.
Congress gets most of the attention as the center of obstruction and climate denial. And much of that attention is deserved, given the fact that 59 percent of the Republican House caucus and 70 percent of Senate Republicans are climate deniers. But much of the real action—and inaction—on climate change takes place at the state level. Some governors decide to defend renewable energy standards, like Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), or advocate for easy access to solar energy, like Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D). Others, like Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), roll back renewable energy standards or sign solar fee bills like Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R).
And particularly this year, attorneys general are playing a key role in climate fights across the country. For example, some attorneys general are pursuing legal action against ExxonMobil for deliberately misleading the public about the dangers of climate change. But others—27 to be exact—are suing the EPA over the Clean Power Plan.
A possible explanation for the disconnect between Americans and their elected officials? Money. CAP Action’s research found that governors and attorneys general who block climate action have received a total of $23,862,257 in campaign contributions from the dirty energy industry, including oil, gas, and coal. To put that in perspective, the remaining governors and attorneys general received only $7.6 million in dirty energy contributions.
BOTTOM LINE: The threat of climate change is too serious for lawmakers at the state or federal level to continue to deny what 97 percent of scientists know to be true. Denying the existence of climate change and blocking any actions to combat it threaten Americans’ public health, national security, and economic security. President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and the EPA are taking bold action to protect Americans and the global community from the dangers of climate change. It’s time for the leaders of our states to do the same.
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