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State government

Gov. Jerry Brown and Democrats say Trump is going 'backwards' if he pulls out of Paris climate pact

Gov. Jerry Brown warned Wednesday that a decision by President Trump to withdraw the United States from a 2015 global climate change agreement could be "tragic," and vowed to keep California's ambitious efforts in place and on track.

"Here we are, in 2017, going backwards," Brown said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "It cannot stand, it's not right and California will do everything it can to not only stay the course, but to build more support — in other states, in other provinces, in other countries."

The governor also criticized efforts to the president to dismantle climate change initiatives launched by former President Barack Obama.

"Trump is going against science. He's going against reality," the governor said. "We can’t stand by and give aid and comfort to that."

News that the president had either made the decision to pull the country out of the Paris Accord on climate change or was on the verge of doing so drew swift condemnation from California leaders. Brown and other top lawmakers attended the talks in late 2015 that resulted in the international agreement, and insisted on Wednesday that it would not hurt the state's own efforts to sharply curtail greenhouse gas emissions.

"As with so many other matters, from human rights to healthcare, the Trump administration has continued to surrender our nation's longstanding role as a global leader," Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said.

Others pointed out that a decision to remove the United States from the agreement would leave it in rare company among other nations. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted that such a decision by Trump would be more than just "dumb + destructive."

Brown, who leaves Friday for a weeklong visit to China to encourage more climate-change cooperation, predicted any decision to step away would suggest the country's priorities aren't clear.

"It sends a very muddled message," the governor said during an interview in his state Capitol office. "Is the message [that] we like dirty cars and gas guzzlers? And we're going to have a coal future? That can't happen."

And Brown again suggested that California's experience on the issue offers a road map for others.

"If we want to retain and enhance manufacturing, we have to do what California is doing, in clean energy and clean technology," he said. "That's the future of jobs, the future of sustainability. And we better get on board. And California will be right there with the best of them."

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