Report

Govs' Talks Target Clean Coal, Carbon Tax

The nation's governors have few questions about whether global warming is a looming threat, but some major differences about how to address the problem.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), this year's chairman of the National Governors Association (NGA), is seeking consensus with his peers on actions states should take to encourage more renewable energy and conservation, as well as spur the latest technologies to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

Nearly all governors are in the nation's capital for the NGA's annual meeting that began Saturday (Feb. 23).

As NGA chairman, Pawlenty has launched a year-long initiative, "Securing a Clean Energy Future," that outlines the need to diversify the nation's energy supply to avoid dire economic and environmental costs.

"By 2030, we will be providing only 65 percent of our own energy needs – 35 percent will come from foreign sources, mostly oil. Our total energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions are projected to increase more than 25 percent by 2030. Continuing down this dangerous pathway risks our economic well-being, energy security, environmental future and quality of life," Pawlenty states in his report.

While there is broad agreement about the need to "green" the country's energy supply with more wind and solar power, the future costs of regulating greenhouse gases are a major concern of governors from oil- and coal-producing states.

"I don't think there's any kind of consensus among the people that were in there; we're almost 50 different opinions," said Alabama Gov. Bob Riley (R) after a closed-door discussion among governors to begin hammering out a joint policy.

Read the full report Govs' Talks Target Clean Coal, Carbon Tax on Stateline.org's Web site.