Governor Jerry Brown, now the latest potential presidential candidate for 2016, is touting his trip to Mexico this week as an opportunity to demonstrate foreign policy expertise as a cheerleader in the quest to combat climate change. Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto will undoubtedly be a very gracious and understanding host, given that the California unemployment rate has consistently been at least 50% higher than Mexican unemployment.
Brown’s extremist environmental agenda may be good for his political future, but it seems to have seriously undermined the California job market.
Brown has a long history of advocating for environmental causes. As governor of California in the 1970s, he passed smog regulations that specifically favored the increased use of low-sulfur oil. But he failed to admit at the time that the legislation favored his family’s economic interests. His father, former Governor Pat Brown, owned a large share Perta Oil Company that was the prime importer of expensive low-sulfur oil from the brutal military Junta that had controlled Indonesian since the 1960s.
After he left office, Jerry Brown took control over his share of the family business from his father. Brown continued to call himself an environmentalist, but consistently refused to comment on how much money he was making in the oil business.
The focus of Brown’s run for governor in 2010 against Meg Whitman was a passionate defense of California’s landmark anti-global warming law, AB 32. With California winning the bronze booby-prize for the third worst unemployment in the nation at 12.3%, Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, had called for a one-year moratorium on the 2012 implementation of the law.
With the legislation was under attack from conservatives and business interest as a job killer, Brown vigorously defended it as “a path forward” for the Golden State. Brown claimed it would create hundreds of thousands of clean-energy jobs, reclaiming from China leadership of the “cleantech economy.” “This is a powerful future,” Brown said. “I see this as the key” to job creation.
Since that time, China has gained even more dominance in manufacturing of the wind turbines and solar panels that AB 32 now heavily subsidizes by forcing up utility rates on all Californians. But as science debunked “global warming,” Brown seamlessly repackaged his environmental agenda as supporting efforts to stop “global climate change.” In speeches and other events he now calls climate change the greatest threat to young people’s future.
Gov. Brown can claim credit for being the great helmsman that over the last three years has moved California up one full notch to be only the fourth worst unemployment rate of any state in the U.S. But with 1,378,000 unemployed individuals, California still has over twice as many unemployed individuals as any other state.
CEO Inc. Magazine’s annual survey of 500 of America’s top Chief Executive Officers has rated California as the worst state to do business in the U.S. for the last three years in a row. The CEO’s complain that in addition to the highest individual and corporate tax rates in America, California has an array of expensive job killing environmental regulations.
Brown took his first official trip abroad since taking office in 2011 by visiting China in April of last year on a trade mission to convince the Communist Party leadership to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases. “The problem of dealing with climate is not an optional kind of problem,” Brown told about 200 people at Tsinghua University in Beijing. “It’s mandatory. There is no escape….Nature doesn’t play games.”
Brown argued that in the battle over global climate change: “China is key; so goes China, so goes the world.” He advocated for China to follow California as the model for vehicle emission standards and renewable energy policies.
Brown met, ceremoniously, with China’s Minister of Environmental Protection, Zhou Shengxian. Understanding that California’s unemployment rate is 80% higher than China’s, the Chinese officials were very gracious and understanding hosts. The Chinese officials kindly signed a nonbinding and largely ceremonial agreement for the People’s Republic of California to share information about regulatory practices and policies to reduce pollution with the People’s Republic of China.
As Governor Brown visits Mexico this week, we should all look forward to Mexican officials being very gracious and understanding hosts. Perhaps Mexican officials will also kindly sign another nonbinding and largely ceremonial agreement for Mexico to also share information about regulatory practices and policies to reduce pollution with the People’s Republic of California.
From July 15th to July 29th, Chriss Street is teaching “Entrepreneurship and Capitalist Business Strategy” at Ho Chi Minh University in Vietnam