California Governor Jerry Brown told a committee hearing last Thursday that extending his legacy cap-and-trade program was necessary to respond to “a threat to organized human existence” — namely, climate change.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Brown “cast his new plan to fight climate change as essential to the fate of American democracy — and humanity itself.”
The four-term governor, long known for being direct, but typically more reserved, lost his cool on Thursday, gesticulating wildly at times, pounding the lectern and occasionally turning to address the audience behind him.
In a move straight out of the Trump playbook, Brown released a 2 minute clip of his rant on Twitter. It earned 1,500 retweets, and the news media picked it up
One pro-Brown blog argued that the urgency of the cause justified the 79-year-old governor’s outburst on the stand — even referring, jokingly, to his own impending mortality:
Maybe not in my life, I’ll be dead … Most of you people, when I look out here, a lot of you people are going to be alive. And you’re going to be alive in a horrible situation. You’re going to see mass migrations, vector diseases, forest fires, Southern California burning up. That’s real, guys. That’s what the scientists of the world are saying.
So I’m not here about some cockamamie legacy that people talk about. This isn’t for me. I’m going to be dead. It’s for you. It’s for you and it’s damn real.
Brown also declared: “Climate change is real.”
In the end, the bill was passed out of the committee on a straight party-line vote, but Brown’s unusual visit to the committee, and the ticking legislative clock— which ends this week—could spell a rough road ahead for the governor’s quest to save humanity.