BEVERLY HILLS, California — Governor Jerry Brown and Sen. President Pro Tempore Kevin De Leon participated in a lunch time panel discussion at the Milken Global Conference on Wednesday where climate change and the drought took center stage.
Thousands were present in the main ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel to hear the panel, which was moderated by American billionaire financier and philanthropist Michael Milken. Gov. Brown took several swipes at Republicans over their skepticism of global warming and climate change.
“You’ve got leaders in Congress, the majority, that say there is no climate problem,” Brown said. “I’ve set a very high bar, but it’s a bar we must meet,” he said, noting that he “won’t minimize” that there are differences between Democrats and Republicans with regard to the climate issue.
Brown had just issued an executive order calling for California to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.
He suggested climate change is a “slow, rolling crisis” that will pass an irreversible tipping point ushered in by the “melting of the Antarctic ice cap in Greenland, raising the sea level [and] causing the temperature to rise.” He then took referenced Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) February stunt, where he held a snowball in his hand and threw it out onto the floor of the U.S. Senate.
“And the fact that the head of the Environmental Committee in the Senate puts a snowball in his hand and says ‘no climate change’ [is] pretty silly,” Brown told the audience.
Brown cited Orange County’s successful water recycling system, drip irrigation, desalinization and the need for infrastructural reform as models to help curb the drought. Desalinization “is still expensive,” Brown said, but also said, “We may have to desalinate. We’ve got a big ocean out there full of water.” He added that issues like the drought are “the very problems we need to be greater than we are.”
“Beware of the polarizers,” Brown warned during the panel discussion. “Try to see things as they are; not in the dark, rhetorical glow of what one side or the other wants you to believe. Because I’ve been thinking about this stuff for a long time.”
He concluded by saying, “Let’s keep our eyes to the stars.”
Kevin DeLeon said that while California is “resilient and strong, we will fall down again in the future, no doubt about it.” And later stated that “we see an opportunity in California to build more jobs.”
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