In the race among states to do something about the warming planet, Minnesota legislators this spring voted to reduce carbon dioxide pollution, ordered power companies to conserve more energy and adopted the nation’s most aggressive goals for switching to wind power and other renewable energy.

But when it comes to tackling what Gov. Tim Pawlenty called a “huge and defining issue for our time,” it’s getting tough to stay ahead of the pack.

While Congress and the president remain at odds over global warming, at least 15 states have set goals to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, which are piped into the air from power plants and cars. Twenty-six states have established targets for getting power from renewable energy sources. And most have done so within the past year or two.