Billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, lately obsessed with climate change, euphorically described California Governor Jerry Brown as “shockingly effective” after attending Brown’s swearing-in Monday morning and Brown’s subsequent speech.
Steyer told the Los Angeles Times that Brown “perceives, correctly, that there’s an opportunity for him to be a global leader on this, and I think he basically used that speech–not exclusively but at some level–to stake out that territory and say California is going to continue to lead and I’m going to make sure that happens while I’m here.”
Steyer called Brown’s three stated goals for reducing carbon pollution by 2015 “exemplary.” Those goals included raising the amount of electricity gleaned from renewable sources from one-third to one-half, reducing the present usage of petroleum by vehicles by 50%, and making buildings double their energy-efficiency while also reducing the pollution from heating fuels.
Steyer expressed the most admiration for Brown’s call for cutting petroleum use in vehicles, saying, “I never really heard him talk about vehicles in that way before.” He said of Brown, “Anybody who doubts Jerry Brown’s political acumen, skill and effectiveness is crazy. He is a shockingly effective governor.”
Steyer has accompanied Brown at some recent climate change events, including an October event celebrating energy-efficiency retrofits in schools and a December climate forum in Oakland.
Steyer’s $74 million investment in pushing the climate change agenda backfired in several states in the November election. As theTimes reported, Steyer backed Senate candidates who lost in Senate races in Colorado and Iowa, and tried unsuccessfully to defeat the governors of Florida and Maine, both of whom are critics of the climate change agenda. Even Josh Freed, vice president for clean energy at Third Way, said, “The take-away here is this was not a successful strategy. Candidate positions on climate do not move the overwhelming majority of voters to pull the lever for or against them. I hope these organizations take a step back and come up with a different approach.”
Steyer, meanwhile, said the GOP’s massive victory in November resulted from “that part of the world we don’t control.”
The Washington Post reported that Steyer spokeswoman Heather Wong admitted Steyer was still profiting from his holdings from all coal and oil sands projects as late as last summer. One of Steyer’s advisors, Middlebury University professor Bill McKibben, who initiated Steyer’s climate change machinations, wants hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, banned outright. The Washington Free Beacon reported that Steyer once condoned fracked natural gas as a “bridge fuel” while coal was phased out, and financed a study that supported his stance, but he later wrote an article for the Huffington Post backing away from that position.