Delivering his final State of the State address on Thursday, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) touted the state’s bipartisan commitment to working on issues that continue to divide lawmakers in Washington.
“Some American governments actually can get stuff done, even in the face of deepening party divisions,” the fourth-term governor said at the state Capitol in Sacramento, citing state lawmakers’ renewal of California’s landmark cap-and-trade program in July as an example.
The greenhouse gas-fighting legislation gained the support of eight Republicans ― an achievement former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said he could have only dreamed of when he signed the original program into place in 2006.
Brown, who first first assumed the governorship in 1975 and whose current term ends this year, hasn’t strayed far from the issues he said his administration would focus on, chief among them advancing California’s commitment to renewable energy.
President Donald Trump, who’s questioned the existence of man-made climate change, has given Brown a chance to show just how committed he is to keeping California on track with those goals, in spite of the president’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris agreement on combating climate change.
“Despite what is widely believed by some of the most powerful people in Washington, the science of climate change is not in doubt,” Brown said.
He later added: “All nations agree except one, and that is solely because of one man: our current president.”
Brown has volunteered himself as an unofficial ambassador abroad on climate change issues and was one of the first three governors to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of states committed to the goals laid out in Paris. It has since grown to comprise 16 governors.
Late last year, Brown announced that California and the European Union would consider creating a common carbon market to cut greenhouse gas emissions. And later this year, Brown will host a global climate summit in San Francisco where he hopes to hammer out carbon emissions agreements between international leaders and U.S. states.
While he has emerged as an international leader on the issue, local environmental activists continue to clash with Brown on his decision not to entirely ban hydraulic fracking and for provisions in the cap-and-trade bill they say are too friendly to the oil industry.
Speaking Thursday, Brown also reaffirmed his belief that California must continue moving forward with its high speed rail plans, despite some legal challenges and mounting criticism of the rising cost.
Read Brown’s entire State of the State address.