- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The fall campaign for Pennsylvania governor is likely to cost tens of millions of dollars, and some of that could be spent as part of an effort to defeat Gov. Tom Corbett over the Republican’s position on climate change.

Corbett’s campaign manager Mike Barley said the plan by an environmentalist billionaire, Tom Steyer, to try to defeat him is a case of one “super-wealthy, well-connected political insider” supporting another.

Wolf campaign spokesman Jeff Sheridan responded that it is laughable for Corbett to call anyone else a well-connected political insider after he took huge campaign donations from oil and gas interests.

Directors of the super PAC NextGen Climate Action, founded by Steyer, said they plan to raise $100 million to make global warming a major campaign issue and attack Republicans, including Corbett, running for U.S. Senate or governor in seven states. Steyer, a longtime Democratic donor, is a retired investor and donated $50 million.

Corbett’s campaign said the governor understands that climate change is happening and that scientific literature points to a human role in it. But Corbett maintains there is a scientific debate over the immediate impact of climate change on human health and the environment.

The Wolf campaign did not immediately explain Wolf’s position on climate change Thursday. Wolf, a first-time candidate who won the Democratic Party’s nomination in Tuesday’s election, has run a family-owned building supplies business in York for much of the past three decades.

In the past three months, national and international reports by top climate scientists - coordinated by the United Nations, the World Meteorological Organization and the federal government - have issued reports that said man-made climate change is real and already affecting the United States and the entire Earth. In the past year, the top national science academies and societies in the world have said the same thing.

The 841-page federal report issued this month said: “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present.” The Nobel Prize winning U.S. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in March said, “Human interference with the climate system is occurring, and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems.”

Authors of the U.N. report say the warming climate is already increasing the dangers of heat waves, wildfires, droughts and flooding and the trend will continue as the climate warms even more.


AP science writer Seth Borenstein contributed to this report.

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