The camera and lights switched on and Ole Torp, the Charlie Rose of Norway, leaned in, silver hair flashing, and posed his first question to Gov. Jerry Brown.
“Is the world going to hell?”
“Yes,” Brown answered swiftly.
The interview, taped last week in Oslo, was declared a fabulous success, one the television audience would quite enjoy.
How to explain the climate-change world’s curious embrace of a man with so apocalyptic a message? On a nearly two-week swing through Europe, starting at the Vatican and ending at the United Nations climate change conference in Bonn, Brown offered a bleak appraisal of the global future: We are on a trajectory toward hell. It’s a headlong rush to a very unpleasant outcome. Mankind is on the chopping block. Read More
Like two low-emission diesel ships passing in the hallways of sustainably constructed meeting halls, the leaders of the U.S. delegation are arriving at the U.N. climate conference in Bonn just as the California delegation is leaving.
Gov. Jerry Brown made his last speech and stood still, reluctantly, for a few final photos today before departing for home in the afternoon.
About the same time, the U.S. State Department announced that Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon—the Under Secretary for Political Affairs who was to head the U.S delegation—had a family emergency and would not attend.
He is being replaced by Judith Garber, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
Although the conference has been under way for a week and a half, the high-level negotiations are just beginning. Read More
Anyone could have seen this coming.
The nearly-invisible U.S. delegation to the U. N. climate change conference scheduled a panel discussion touting the benefits of fossil fuels on Monday night. The closely secured event was carefully managed, with some attendees lining up 45 minutes in advance to get a seat.
As it turned out, protesters were lining up, too. As attendees filed in, a loose coalition representing environmental-justice groups and campaigners against fossil fuels surrounded the doorway and chanted, “Keep it in the ground!”–the same phrase hecklers used days earlier to protest Gov. Jerry Brown’s oil policies as the governor delivered a speech at the conference.
Once the doors were closed and the event began, demonstrators who had made it inside drowned out the proceedings with lusty singing while those outside recited: “What do we want? Environmental justice! When do we want it? Now!” The panelists—representatives of coal and nuclear energy companies—sat silently.
Outside, the chanting grew. Eventually throngs of demonstrators poured into a main hall, taking over a stage. Read More
Politicians often employ props in advocacy of their projects and policies, but it’s a safe bet that not many legislators carry Barbie dolls to make their case, especially Barbie dolls with tampons affixed to their tiny torsos.
Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia stowed twin Barbies in her carry-on luggage en route to the U.N. climate conference in Bonn and is using them here to illustrate her campaign to end the California sales tax on tampons. Her proposal on the issue stalled this year, but the Democrat from Bell Gardens continues to argue that taxing necessities for women and children is unfair.
Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia’s “tampon Barbies.” Photo by Julie Cart for CALmatters
Walking between events Monday, Garcia placed her blonde and brunette Barbies as hood ornaments on one of the very expensive electric cars parked around the sprawling complex.
On a rare sunny day, Garcia also talked about air pollution, an issue she’s learning more about as she meets with environmental-justice groups and others at the conference. Read More
On Sunday at the U.N. climate conference in Bonn, California was given an award for its new law regulating short-lived pollutants that are highly damaging to public health. The award was presented to the state and accepted by the measure’s author, Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara of Los Angeles, and Gov. Jerry Brown.
The inaugural Climate and Clean Air Award for Outstanding Policy is for the state’s leadership in reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
At the U.N. conference Sunday, state Sen. Ricardo Lara, left, and Gov. Jerry Brown receive an award for California’s climate policies. Photo by Julie Cart for CALmatters
The ceremony was hosted by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, a U.N.-affiliated international consortium of governments, businesses, advocacy organizations and scientific institutions focused on the issue of short-lived “super-pollutants.” The state Legislature and the Air Resources Board were also recognized for their work to reduce the powerful pollutants.
Lara’s law sets targets for emissions reductions throughout California, including 50 percent reduction in black carbon, 40 percent reduction in methane and 40 percent in hydroflurocarbon by 2030, using 2013 levels as a starting point. Read More
After a week of nearly unabashed adulation from European hosts in four countries, Gov. Jerry Brown got a reminder Saturday of the more rough-and tumble handling he receives at home.
Brown had barely begun a speech in his first formal appearance in Bonn at the U.N. climate-change summit when a small cluster of Californians began a demonstration, holding banners and shouting, “Leave it in the ground!”—a reference to oil and gas extraction activities that pollute low-income neighborhoods.
The group, which did not identify itself, called Brown a hypocrite for bragging about the strictness of California’s environmental regulations while fostering the extraction of highly polluting crude oil, and for his support of fracking.
A report from the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity, released on the eve of the U.N. conference, concluded that about 75% of the oil coming out of California is as climate-damaging as Canadian tar sands crude.
Brown attempted to continue his speech, even adopting the demonstrators’ language at one point and attempting to engage the handful of hecklers in a dialogue. Read More
As part of his European tour promoting the fight against climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown was invited to meet with an international group of scientists in Oslo, Norway. They discussed ways of integrating research into climate policy and how elected officials can convey the complexities of climate change to voters.
Here’s some of what Brown had to say:
Reporters covering Jerry Brown should get college credit.
The governor regularly quotes Virgil, lapses into Latin, expounds on obscure historical figures and quotes from books he’s read. It’s difficult to keep up.
Yes, Brown is an anomaly among politicians. That’s part of his appeal as he rambles through Europe discussing climate change.
At every stop someone remarks to him: “You are so straightforward,” or, “You have been very clear, thank you,” or, after an especially forceful Brown table-thumping about our frying planet, “Thank you,” gulp, “for your honesty.”
From a nation that perfected the slick political operative, Brown comes across as the anti-politician. He doesn’t smile. You know he’s thinking when his eyebrows collide and he begins to frown. He hasn’t been looking questioners in the eye much here, instead busying himself jotting notes. He wears nice suits, slightly rumpled. His pocket square often droops and slips out of sight by the end of the day. Read More
After five days of diplomatic-style meetings with European leaders and their ever-present translators, Gov. Jerry Brown found a venue where people speak a common language: politics.
In a lively and frank discussion with members of the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, Brown fielded questions from elected officials who mostly praised California’s accomplishments in combating climate change and marveled at the political muscle it required. But the governor also took some heat.
Brown described the effort it took for the Legislature to reauthorize a 10-year extension of California’s cap-and-trade carbon-reduction program in July with a two-thirds vote. He said that, despite appearances, there is a great deal of complacency in the state on the issue of climate change. Cap and trade is a highly partisan subject, the governor said, yet the renewal bill passed because eight Republicans supported it.
“And one of them was voted out as a leader,” Brown said, referring to Yucca Valley Assemblyman Chad Mayes. “So I guess there’s a price to pay.”
Gov. Jerry Brown addresses the European Parliament in Brussels. Photo by Julie Cart for CALmatters Read More
Gov. Jerry Brown’s popularity with European officials is high, and his staff has to choose which events, among the many on offer, he attends. But Brown’s broader name recognition may be another matter.
Fiona Breucker, left, and Janina Bauer. Photo by Julie Cart for CALmatters
The governor’s appearance at the Baden-Württemberg state Parliament in Stuttgart on Wednesday morning to talk about climate change coincided with a program bringing students to the German state’s capital to observe government in action.
Two students on hand were excited to watch Brown’s address but admitted to turning to the internet to learn who, exactly, he was.
“Some people were thinking that it would be Arnold Schwarzenegger,” said Janina Bauer, one of those in attendance. Read More