Here's an excerpt from his interview with Grist's Amanda Little:
Q. The first thing people say when they hear about climate solutions is, “It’s going to cost us, it’s going to hurt the economy.” Why are people focused so much on the economic harm that climate solutions will bring rather than the economic benefits?
A. In some ways I think the environmental community hasn’t talked enough about that as this has all developed. But I’ll tell you there a lot of businesses, a lot of big businesses, that are very, very much behind this. So just today I met with Johnson Controls, which is our biggest publicly traded corporation in Wisconsin. It obviously makes much of its business ... helping governments and businesses bring their energy costs down. There’s a good example right in Wisconsin. Our biggest company is doing that. And big into battery development… I think that the business organizations, ... particularly the National Association for Manufacturers has taken this head-in-the-sand approach. But I believe ... there are great businesses out there that are doing this not only because it’s the right thing to do, but if they can reduce their energy costs they can be much more profitable.
Q. Did you have a “eureka” moment where you realized when you decided climate and energy was extremely important.
A. I’d like to say there was some big eureka moment, but I just learned about it and studied it and then I talked to a lot of business people that really saw what the advantages were here. So I think anybody who looks at this understands climate change is a really significant issue, and we have to do something about it. So now the choice is do you do something about it in a way that actually grows your economy and creates jobs, or do you do something about it where you just get regulated to death? To me that choice is pretty easy. I was the [Wisconsin] attorney general before and was involved in a lot of environmental issues, but ... within my first year as governor (seven years ago) we were moving on this.
From what I've seen, when people slam Al Gore and other leaders pushing for climate change solutions, and just call for letting the market do the job, they haven't yet realized how the lack of policy certainty in the U.S. is blocking the floodgates of private investment. The CEO of General Electric and the head of the Venture Capital firm, Kleiner Perkins, bemoaned this situation in a Washington Post op-ed piece earlier this year.
The environmental community, and the media in general, need to do a better job of explaining this important need for smart climate change and clean energy policy advances to the American people.