Gov. Jerry Brown: California Will Work With Foreign Gov’t On Climate Policies

December 27th, 2016
California Governor Jerry Brown speaks before signing a bill hiking California's minimum wage to $15 by 2023 in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

California Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday his state will bypass Washington, D.C., and work instead with foreign governments on ways to reduce climate change.

Brown, a Democrat, said that he and other Golden State lawmakers would work directly with other countries to strengthen some of the most stringent environmental policies in the world.

“California can make a significant contribution to advancing the cause of dealing with climate change, irrespective of what goes on in Washington,” Brown told reporters.

The governor made similar comments in December when he said California would launch its own climate-reading satellites if President-elect Donald Trump pulled funding for NASA’s climate research program.

Brown was responding to news reports in early December indicating Trump’s transition team had asked the Department of Energy for a list of websites “maintained by or contributed to by laboratory staff during work hours for the past three years,” according to documents obtained by The New York Times.

 

His statements indicate Brown – who was nicknamed Gov. “Moonbeam” in the 1970s because of his support for colonizing space – plans on going rogue on environmental issues, namely because of Trump’s perceived climate change skepticism.

“I wouldn’t underestimate California’s resolve if everything moves in this extreme climate denial direction,” the governor said. “Yes, we will take action.”

Brown is positioning California, which voted for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by a wide margin, as the anti-Trump state.

The strategy could backfire if California continues to beef up its environmental regulations while Trump decreases regulations on every other state, according to Rob Lapsley, the president of one of California’s largest business advocacy groups.

“If the other states pursue no-climate-change policies, and we continue to go it on our own without climate policies, then we would be at a competitive disadvantage for either relocating companies or growing companies here particularly manufacturing factories,” Lapsley said.

Brown’s tough talk reflects the mood of many California Democrats who think the state is big enough to secede.

Some groups are actively lobbying for such a move. “Yes California,” a pro-secession group, filed paperwork in November proposing a ballot measure in 2018 striking language from the California constitution binding the state to the U.S.

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Chris White

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