Around the country, there are courageous leaders in the fight to address climate change, but few are as outspoken or have taken such strong, decisive action as California Governor Jerry Brown. From smartly implementing AB32 — the state’s landmark law to address climate change and create good jobs in clean energy and energy efficiency — to implementing a 33 percent renewable energy standard by 2020, Brown’s leadership on climate has been strong and undeterred by critics.
Brown isn’t afraid to tell people how he sees things. Just yesterday, he said that the early wildfire season in the state was due to the changing climate. From the Los Angeles Times:
Our climate is changing, the weather is becoming more intense,” Brown said in an airplane hangar filled with trucks, airplanes and helicopters used by the state to fight fires. “It’s going to cost a lot of money and a lot of lives.
“The big issue (is) how do we adapt,” Brown said, “because it doesn’t look like the people who are in charge are going to do what it takes to really slow down this climate change, so we are going to have to adapt. And adapting is going to be very, very expensive.”
With the snowpack in the Sierra mountains at just 17% of normal, state officials are bracing for a long, destructive fire season. State Natural Resources Secretary John Laird, who joined Brown at Monday’s press conference, said he was preparing for “a deadly year.”
Brown also says that because of a lack of action in Congress, the state must take expensive steps to adapt. He argues that the state must show restraint in the budgeting process to have the funds to deal with this growing crisis in the long-term.
Lacking real leadership at the federal level, states and cities are doing great things to reduce carbon pollution and get their communities prepared for climate change. However, that is far from an ideal solution. We’re lucky to have leaders like Governor Brown that aren’t waiting for Congress to pull their heads out of the sand and realize that it is their communities — and their constituents — that will bear the brunt of climate change in the form of extreme weather, droughts, floods, and, yes, wildfires.
There’s still time for us to protect ourselves from the impacts of climate change. We need immediate action at the federal level to both address climate change by reducing carbon pollution AND investments to our infrastructure to update it to be more efficient and prepared for the worst climate change will have to offer. Doing this will help our environment — cleaning up our air, water and soil — and our economy by creating good jobs for American workers.