Is outgoing Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe a climate change denier?

Just asking that question is bound to offend the governor and some of his supporters. After all, they would say, Governor McAuliffe has “expanded efforts to reduce emissions” and recently issued a draft regulation setting a carbon cutting goal for the state. They would note that McAuliffe just returned from the 23rd United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, where world leaders gathered to “accelerate and intensify the actions and investment needed for a sustainable low carbon future.” They would point to the fact that, as the copious photos on the Governor’s Twitter feeddemonstrate, the governor signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Bonn committing Virginia (after he has left office) to be part of the worldwide Under2Coalition to reduce carbon emissions.

Never mind that close observers have called McAuliffe’s record on climate change “abysmal“ and “marred by contradictions and empty rhetoric.” Never mind that Virginia is a “Johnny Come Lately” to the Under2Coalition, a powerful worldwide climate change group of sub-governments that was formed in May 2015. Never mind that more than 180 jurisdictions preceded Virginia into the coalition, including states like California, Washington, Oregon and Vermont, which were original signatories to the 2015 agreement. Never mind that McAuliffe has spent the past three years as the state’s biggest cheerleader for two massive and controversial fracked gas pipelines, that, according to recent estimates, will produce greenhouse gases equivalent to that produced by 45 coal fired plants or 158 million metric tons per year, more than doublingVirginia’s carbon footprint.

And never mind that, as a lame duck governor who leaves office in January, Terry McAuliffe can do very little to implement the commitments he made in Bonn to move towards a low carbon future.

Read more:

Huffington Post – Jonathan Sokolow – 11.12.17

Posted by: Nelson Bailey

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