Politics
Q&A

'The world shifts': Gov. Jerry Brown talks California, climate change and President Trump

The Times talked to Jerry Brown about climate change and California’s role in fighting it. Here’s what he had to say.


Why haven’t more states followed California’s path on climate change?

“California has done a very good job. But you can’t force Republicans to deal with climate change in a serious way . . . . I’m not giving up hope. But it has been difficult.”

Why can it be easier to find partnerships with governments outside the country than with other states?

“The Republicans are committed to global warming as a hoax, or irrelevant, or as not a problem. That is their belief. I’m not going to put them in jail. All I can do is talk and encourage good climate actions and demonstrate our economy has benefited here.”

The Republicans are committed to global warming as a hoax, or irrelevant, or as not a problem.

— Gov. Jerry Brown

How much can California do on its own?

“I am not the president. So there’s a limit there. But I think there’s quite a lot California can do in alliance with other states.”

Is enough being done to stop global warming?

“The country and the world is not yet on the proper trajectory. That’s true . . . . I’m using all the resources at my command to increase the commitment.”

[Note: The governor has been pushing more states, provinces and cities to sign an international agreement setting tougher targets for reducing emissions. Here’s our story from December 2015, when Brown was in Paris for the United Nations conference on climate change.]

How does Trump affect the debate over fighting global warming?

"President Trump is boldly moving in what I would call rather extreme directions. And that is going to set into motion a reaction, and it already has . . . He builds the strength on the other side to combat climate change.”

Updates from Sacramento »

What happens if the United States doesn’t pursue clean energy technology?

“America will be disadvantaged, just like Detroit was disadvantaged when they couldn’t build smaller cars in the ’70s or ’80s. The world shifts.”

Will people's minds change on climate change?

“We need the science to continue. The heat, the storms, the sea level rise, the Arctic melting. These are all real facts that over time will sink in. The question is, will that be two years, or five years or 10 years?”

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