California Governor Jerry Brown struggled to respond to critics of his climate change policies when he brought his message to the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday.
The Sacramento Bee reports that Brown touted his state’s cap-and-trade system, and proposed that the European Union and the United States should create a common emissions market and implement a similar policy.
He also told European legislators that the “denial” camp was a “receding perspective.”
But Brown had trouble answering criticisms from the audience. MEP Steven Woolfe of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) was the first to question Brown’s ideas, the Bee reports:
Steven Woolfe, a British politician on the parliament, was first to pierce the pleasantries, accusing Brown of supporting state intervention “at a huge scale” and spending and increasing taxes “like it’s going out of fashion.”
Brown’s climate change policy, he argued, isolates the state from much of the U.S. Woolfe dismissed California’s cap-and-trade carbon market as a “tax-and-spend” policy. And he teased the governor as potentially being interested in joining the European Union.
“I am sure you are well-meaning in wanting to protect the environment,” Woolfe said. “But do you not recognize that the policies you are implementing help the rich more than the poor, and make the poor suffer in the long-run?”
Fellow UKIP representative David Coburn also joined in the criticism, which the Bee notes that Brown rarely faces at home in the Democrat-dominated state.
In response, Brown reportedly insulted his critics, suggesting they were poorly educated in Britain, and accusing Wolfe in particular of “having crocodile tears for the poor.” (Wolfe challenged Brown to take back the “disgraceful” remark, at which point the presiding officer reportedly intervened to shut down the argument.)
California reported this week that statewide emissions are down 5% because of the cap-and-trade system. It did not report any measurable effect on the planet’s climate.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.