Va. governor reactivates state climate panel

Source: Luanne Rife, Roanoke Times • Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014

At the Environment Virginia Symposium on Tuesday, Virginia’s governor said climate change is real and man-made and that the state’s coastal communities are at risk.
“If we want to help the environment tomorrow, we have to make smart, common-sense decisions today. The first big decision is to accept climate change is real,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said. “I believe humans contribute to climate change. I think it’s pretty much settled. I think the impacts are felt today.”The attendees — a mix of policymakers, environmentalists and local government officials — gave McAuliffe’s remarks an enthusiastic round of applause. The governor also said he plans to restart a state climate change commission to figure out what steps to take to protect Virginia.”I don’t think we have paid attention. The climate change commission hasn’t met in four years, and, as you know, we had an attorney general who didn’t believe in climate change,” he said, referring to his Republican opponent in last fall’s gubernatorial campaign, who while attorney general sued the University of Virginia to acquire communications by a prominent climate scientist.

“We need to do everything we can to protect the commonwealth,” McAuliffe said. But he didn’t delve into how much it would cost — and what could actually be done.

The governor also stated that he will attempt to diversify Virginia’s economy by boosting the energy sector.

“Finally, we have moved forward on sale of leases offshore,” he said, expecting construction of the offshore wind farm to be underway at the end of his term. He also said Virginia must reach out to turbine, pole and blade manufacturers (Luanne Rife, Roanoke Times, April 8)