Jerry Brown Blasts Texas, West Virginia on Climate

Jerry Brown (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

Governor Jerry Brown of California has publicly ripped Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for daring to challenge President Barack Obama’s agenda on climate change ahead of a UN conference in Paris.

Paxton and Morrisey wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry reminding him that the Obama administration’s positions on climate were not shared by many American states, and reminding him of the constitutional limits around the negotiations:

First, we believe you have a duty to acknowledge to negotiating nations at Paris 2015 that the centerpiece of the President’s domestic CO2 reduction program is being challenged in court by a majority of States and will likely be struck down. Second, in order to be legally binding, any agreement arising from Paris 2015 must be submitted to the United States Senate for ratification under clear constitutional requirements.

Paxton and Morrisey, both Republicans, go on to explain their arguments in detail.

The president’s new climate regulations, they argue, were made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) using powers that the Supreme Court has said, in other recent rulings, that it does not have. Second, the EPA may not regulate power plants for carbon emissions that it already regulates for air pollution. Third, the president’s “Clean Power Plan” infringes on the powers of the states under the Tenth Amendment, they argue.

They also remind Kerry that a climate change treaty must be ratified by the Senate. Citing President Obama, they note that the American public has been told by the White House that any agreement from the conference will not be a treaty. Their concern is that the president will try to use an “executive agreement” and circumvent Congress, as he did with the recent Iran nuclear deal.

In his response, Brown, a former Attorney General of California himself, does not actually address Paxton and Morrisey’s arguments, merely calling them “legally flimsy” and declaring: “you do not speak for me. You do not speak for California.”

Brown also implies that Paxton and Morrisey are climate “denialists,” sending them a flash drive of the latest federal government report on climate change–similar to the flash drive of climate data that he sent Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson.