Jerry Brown was tagged with the nickname “Gov. Moonbeam” while in office during the 1970s and 1980s. It was a fitting handle, because he was an unorthodox politician who represented the state’s increasingly curious behavior. Now in his second life as the state’s chief executive, it might be time to name him “Gov. Windmill.”
Though he’s not president and therefore cannot make foreign policy nor enter into treaties with other nations, Brown nevertheless has been acting is if he’s governor of the world.
Consider his recent adventures:
- He’s spent a fair amount of his time traveling outside the country — Russia — to urge other governments to follow him in his climate crusade.
- He’s organized a global climate summit for next September in San Francisco.
- And, most recently, Brown has flown to New York City where he “huddled” on Sept. 17, said the New York Times, “with European, Brazilian and small-island leaders” and “and pledged to work with them on climate change.”
The next day “he met with António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, to discuss the future” of the Paris climate agreement.
While in New York, Brown also “convened the U.S. Climate Alliance of states he formed immediately after Trump pulled the U.S. from the Paris accords,” according to the Huffington Post. Before these trips, Brown addressed the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, in July, telling world leaders in a video that “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 . . . combat the existential threat of climate change.”
So Brown is serious about the climate. There’ll be no global warming on his watch.
As Brown continues his drive to eradicate fossil fuel emissions, Oakland and San Francisco, possibly inspired by Gov. Windmill, have sued five oil companies, “claiming they should cover the costs of sea walls and other projects needed to protect the cities from the consequences of climate change,” Courthouse News has reported.
“These fossil fuel companies profited handsomely for decades while knowing they were putting the fate of our cities at risk,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement when the lawsuits were announced. Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker criticized “these fossil fuel companies” that she said have “profited handsomely for decades while knowing they were putting the fate of our cities at risk.”
Brown and the cities have more in common with each other than their ability to be so easily triggered by the thought of man-made carbon dioxide. All are equally impotent in doing anything about the climate. As we’ve said before, if everything that burns fossil fuels — cars, trucks, power plants, airliners — were shut down tomorrow in California, there would be almost no impact whatsoever on the climate. Richard Lindzen, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology climate scientist, has confirmed for us that this assertion is “obvious and uncontroversial.”
In July, we suggested a half-dozen issues that Brown should be focused on rather than the climate, which he cannot control. These are where the trouble really is, where California’s hard work needs to be done. But the work is comfortably avoided when a setting of easy, single-party legislation that fixes nothing is on the political dining table.
Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.