Brown juggles constituencies on climate

paris_eiffel_tower_climateRelishing the opportunity to take a signature issue to a world stage, Gov. Jerry Brown had his political work cut out for him in taking California’s approach to environmental policy to the next level amid the United Nations’ so-called COP21 summit in Paris.

Long known for successfully navigating a path between the Golden State’s political extremes when his own agenda called for it, Brown has found himself facing a complex, shifting set of constituencies at home. In Paris, he has sought to present a policy vision capable of satisfying most, if not all. 

An international turn

To his left, Brown has confronted activists and advocates displeased with the limits of his approach. While Brown peeled away cap-and-trade funds for his beloved high-speed rail project, the environmental left cried foul. (At the end of a speech in Paris, Brown was even “heckled by a group of protesters opposed to carbon offset programs they said could hurt indigenous people,” as the Sacramento Bee observed.) But to his right, within his own party, Brown has had to contend with moderate and electorally vulnerable Democrats who refused to go along with this year’s ambitious legislation to slash emissions yet further, as CalWatchdog previously reported.

Although the bullet train has been hamstrung by environmental impact and other concerns, Brown has found in the Paris talks a way to dramatize both the significance and workability of his plans on climate. By pressing ahead with regulations that won the approval of enough Democrats and the acceptance of enough Republicans, Brown positioned himself as the global leader in actually implementing a large-scale emissions policy. Consequently, as the Los Angeles Times noted, “California officials have rolled out the welcome mat in the last two years for representatives from more than three dozen countries — including China, Kazakhstan, France and Abu Dhabi [United Arab Emirates]. And with a slew of agreements with foreign leaders, Brown and administration officials have turned California’s Air Resources Board and Environmental Protection Agency into de facto diplomatic organizations.” For Democrats, Brown’s initiative and prestige has struck a reassuring contrast with Washington, where Congress has not looked to California as a model.

Dodging conflict 

Even for Republicans, Brown’s approach has avoided some major political hangups. Although few in the party, even in California, have embraced an emissions agenda as aggressive as Brown’s, his state-and-local-first strategy has enabled him to largely bracket traditional Republican opposition to handing the federal government sweeping new powers around regulating carbon. “We don’t have to wait for the federal government to say jump. We’re already moving,” he told Time. 

“The Compact of States and Regions, a consortium of sub-national governments from six continents, announced commitments on Dec. 6 to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a cumulative 12.4 gigatons by 2030 when compared to business as usual projections,” the magazine noted, adding that the entire United States emits between 5 and 6 gigatons each year.

Of late, state Republicans have complained that terrorism should take political precedence over climate. “Climate change has ebbed and flowed for eons. Mankind can deal with it intelligently. But I have serious doubts about our resolve in dealing with terrorists,” said state Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Roseville, according to the San Jose Mercury News. But the reaction to Brown’s doings in Paris has been muted. 

Brown’s transcendental spiritual sensibility has also shown the ability to shield him from more vociferous Republican criticism. “Modernity has two major elements: individualism and oil,” he also told Time. “And those two we have to transform.” Not typical GOP talking points — but of a piece with the wave of Silicon Valley innovation that has been defined in large part by the sharing economy on the one hand and vast leaps in alternate-energy transportation on the other. California Republicans have not been afraid to show their political support for sharing-economy and transportation stalwarts like Airbnb and Uber, who have repeatedly run afoul of the municipal officials and state regulators often accused by the state GOP of stifling job growth and economic productivity. 

12 comments

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  1. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 9 December, 2015, 07:00

    The hot air and hypocracy from paris is overwelling and moonbeam adds his own Hot Air and i see the granola munchers/Tree Huggers/Gaia Worshippers posted the pictures of who these idiots call CLIMATE CRINIMALS which proves that enviromentalism cuases brains to shrink becuase they eat a stick vegan diet and snack on nuts and berries

    Reply this comment
  2. Bill Gore
    Bill Gore 9 December, 2015, 08:05

    Too bad the governor DIDN’T FIND ANY OIL OR GAS ON HIS 2,700 RANCH IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. He’s gonna neeeed the income when he retires from public service. He should have a chat with Al Gore, WHO INHERITED A FORTUNE IN OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM STOCK. So many useful idiots, so little time……

    Reply this comment
  3. Bill Gore
    Bill Gore 9 December, 2015, 08:14

    Links to documentation of Al Gore’s FLAMING HYPOCRISY:

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/sealed/gw/gore.htm

    Read’em and weep..or maybe an evil chuckle at the utter stupidity and gullability of the american people.

    Not that anthropogenic global warming doesn’t exist or that it may pose a climatological threat to humankind, BUT THE MESSENGERS/’THOUGHT LEADERS’ ON THE ISSUE ARE INSANELY COMPROMISED BY THEIR OWN GREED AND SHAMELESS HYPOCRISY. THEY TURN LEGITIMATE CONCERN OVER REAL ISSUE INTO POISON CHALICE THAT ENRICHES THEM EVEN MORE WHILST IMPOVERISHING EVERYONE ELSE.

    Reply this comment
  4. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 9 December, 2015, 08:43

    Taxes Taxes Taxes!..

    Oppsss….sorry, mean to say;

    Cap n Trade Cap n Trade Cap n Trade!

    Reply this comment
  5. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 9 December, 2015, 08:52

    According to the eco-freaks the earth will be like it was shown in that Kevin Cosner stinkeroo movie WATERWORLD swatching him swim dolphin style and making a total baffoon of himself as well as the writters,producers and director from the same hollywood bunch who travel around in the leer and gulfstream jets(Travolta has a 707)and gas guzzling limos and big big estates

    Reply this comment
  6. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 10 December, 2015, 09:02

    I see where a bunch of nature freaks set up pictures of who they call Climate Crinimals Yeah more proof that new age enviromentalisms a new age insanity cuased by a strict vegan diet and watching crap like Avatar,A Incovent Truth and Captian Planet over and ver again

    Reply this comment
  7. Mike
    Mike 11 December, 2015, 05:00

    From Governo Brown to 3rd graders in California:
    Kids, it is bad. It is going to rain really bad, water will be everywhere, your mother and fathers will drown, there will be no electricity, it will be cold and Taco Bell will never open again. Your best friend will be eaten by his Dad. Study hard, have sex with anyone. Thank- you.

    Reply this comment
  8. bob
    bob 11 December, 2015, 17:54

    Brown is an @ hole tyrant. And this proves it.

    “Brown: coercion is the key to innovation”

    http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/dec/09/brown-climate-change-coercion-paris/

    F you, Jerry.

    Reply this comment
  9. desmond
    desmond 12 December, 2015, 01:01

    How true.
    In the spirit of the season, this season of slaughter for ragheads across the world:
    Governor,
    Some say we are lucky to have you, because it would be Gavin.
    Perhaps, but the fun of watching him having to explain three mistresses, one female, one male, one a transgender with a organ the size of an elephant trunk.
    To the future with California’s first Bisexual Governor.
    Governor Brown, go f yourself.
    To Gavin, Go F Yourself is like saying Have a good day so a good old fashioned Eat Shit.
    Oh no, that is an expression for Good Luck.

    Reply this comment
  10. Ted. Mentor to the doomed....
    Ted. Mentor to the doomed.... 13 December, 2015, 08:14

    Paris was GREAT— I agree with the President– This is probably our last chance to save the planet as we know it…..

    Reply this comment
  11. desmond
    desmond 13 December, 2015, 19:00

    Opposition to guns, homosexual anal sex advocates, Soccer fans. Attendees at a climate change event fit the profile.
    UN climate change symposiums, where “eat me” is the universal hi.

    Reply this comment

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