Originally published on Red, Green, and Blue.
While President Trump was blowing off the G20 session on climate change to spend more than 2 hours chilling with Vlad Putin, California Governor Jerry Brown crashed the party in Hamburg (via video) to announce that California (with an economy bigger than France, bigger than the UK) would take the lead on hosting a Global Climate Summit in San Francisco next year.
By Jeremy Bloom
As the LA Times reports:
“It’s up to you and it’s up to me and tens of millions of other people to get it together to roll back the forces of carbonization and join together to combat the existential threat of climate change,” Brown said in his video, appearing in a leafy setting with a blazer and no tie. “Yes, I know President Trump is trying to get out of the Paris agreement, but he doesn’t speak for the rest of America. … We in California and in states all across America believe it’s time to act, it’s time to join together and that’s why at this climate action summit we’re going to get it done.”
(We’ve got the full video at the end of this article.)
A crowd of 12,000 had gathered at the Global Citizen Festival before the G20 summit to talk climate and environmental action, featuring in-person addresses from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and Argentinian President Mauricio Macri; and performances by Pharrell, Ellie Goulding, Shakira and Coldplay (you can watch more of the proceedings at the Global Citizen YouTube channel).
In the weeks since Trump had blown off the entire world, including many business leaders and his own cabinet members, by pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Brown has been running his own climate diplomacy, forging agreements with China and Germany, as well as a dozen US states.
Additionally, LA Mayor Gil Garcetti has been in the forefront of a movement that has pulled together more than 300 major cities in committing to Paris.
“It’s hard to grasp the mortal danger that climate change represents,” Brown said in an interview with The Times. “I believe that California, New York, France and Germany and the other countries — we have to get our act together, strengthen our commitment and bring as many nations along as we can … the biggest state in the union is the venue for a worldwide convocation of states, regions and entrepreneurs and others who want to do something serious about climate change.”
The Times lauded Brown’s record on climate change:
“Brown’s role as a climate emissary predates Trump’s presidency. In 2015, he helped start the Under2 Coalition, an international pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and he traveled to the Paris climate talks later that year. But that global stature has taken on added significance under the new administration, which has so far signaled hostility to many of the climate and environmental policies that Brown has embraced.”
The New York Times gushed, “Gov. Jerry Brown of California on Thursday reinforced his reputation as America’s de facto leader on climate change.”
“Decarbonizing the world — it’s like going from the Roman Empire to Christianity,” Brown said. “It’s a total paradigm shift.”
But not everyone is down with Brown. Many Californians who have followed his career call him a hypocrite for backing fracking and the environmentally devastating Delta Tunnels WaterFix scheme, and taking millions from big oil lobbyists.
Our own Dan Brown writes, “The New York Times didn’t mention that ‘America’s de facto leader on climate change’ received $9.8 million from oil and gas companies and utilities, often within days of winning big favors.” (See accompanying article, “Jerry Brown, climate leader or climate charlatan?”)
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