His position drew praise from some progressives, criticism from some conservatives.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was elected chair of the National Governors Association this weekend, and he took advantage of his new post to spotlight Minnesota’s efforts to curb global warming.
‘No individual state is going to solve the climate change problem, but we can do our part,” Pawlenty told the Associated Press. ”In the absence of national or international consensus or progress, we have the opportunity to show the way.”
“There’s an urgent need to improve our energy policy in this country, not just better alternative energy, but climate-change issues, conservation, getting better results from our traditional energy sources and applying new technologies to old sources,” Pawlenty told Stateline.org.
Pawlenty said that the Republican Party has some “catching up to do” on global warming, but told the AP that some Republican governors are starting to get it.
Pawlenty said that Minnesota will be a leader in mitigating the harm posed by global warming. “This will be a success if we can get more governors and more state legislatures doing what Minnesota has done in the area of energy conservation, the area of carbon emission reduction and in the areas of requiring and moving towards cleaner and better energy sources,” he told the West Central Tribune.
In an interview with the Star Tribune’s Lori Sturdevant, Pawlenty said, “I would argue that Minnesota is as far in the lead on this as any other state. It’s an issue where we can showcase some Minnesota success, and help spread some of our success to other states, and to federal policy as well.”
Praise for Pawlenty’s initiative at the NGA could be found on progressive blogs Monday. Chris at AmericaBlog wrote:
“GOP governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota is able to recognize the importance of the issue among voters who want change. While Pawlenty may have disqualified himself from any national support inside the GOP with such support, he also understands that fighting against climate change can bring both economic benefit and quality of life. Too many in the GOP think that it is one or the other, which is shortsighted and just another reaction of fear of change.”
Paul Chesser of the conservative American Spectator took issue with Pawlenty’s focus on global warming. “In general conservatives earn their stripes by being able to set aside the experiential and anecdotal, and instead make decisions based on actual data and evidence. Pawlenty and [Republican South Carolina Gov. Mark] Sanford have bought the “human cause is incontrovertible” side of the global warming debate despite legitimate scientific challenges to the prevailing wisdom.”
Chesser continued, “Fine. But is it too much to ask that the chosen solution-provider prove that his plans will actually do anything about the alleged problem?”