Energy

California Gov Awkwardly Threatens Anti-Fracking Hecklers During Climate Speech

Anti-fracking activists jeered and heckled California Gov. Jerry Brown Saturday while the Democrat was discussing ways to tackle what he believes are out-of-control carbon emissions.

Activists shouted down Brown during his comments at a climate conference in Germany for not nixing California’s natural gas industry. Brown and his supporters lobbed threats and counter chants at the hecklers in response.

About a dozen protesters used chants such as “carbon trading is no solution” and “keep it in the ground” at the California governor during the talk, which included former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and addressed ways of targeting climate change.

“I agree with you, ‘in the ground,'” Brown shouted back as the hecklers continued berating him about his position on hydraulic fracking. “Let’s put you in the ground so we can get on with the show here.”

His barbs didn’t stifle the restless audience, and the protests continued for much of Brown’s address. Brown led a “we’re still in” chant after some of his supporters piped up to drown out the hecklers.

He later added “Trump’s still out. Trump is still out. Trump is still out,” in reference to President Donald Trump’s decision earlier this year to pull the U.S. out of the much-ballyhooed Paris climate accord.

“We love Brown! We love Brown!” his supporters shouted.

Brown signed a bill earlier this year that made California’s gas tax the highest in the country and declared his intention to oppose Trump’s climate policies. Anti-fracking activists haven’t been impressed.

“The state needs to move to an economy with 100 percent clean energy and get out of oil,” Dan Jacobson, legislative director for Environment California, told reporters in May after the governor signed cap-and-trade legislation. “The governor needs to play a leadership role in getting us off oil.”

Jacobson believes Brown’s decision to embrace the natural gas industry could potentially lead to the very environmental disasters that Brown is trying to avoid. Other activists have struck a more critical note, suggesting that Brown’s position on fracking makes him a phony climate warrior.

“It’s hypocritical for Brown to call himself a climate leader,” Catherine Garoupa White of Californians Against Fracking told reporters in April. The governor’s support for fracking “is a huge smear on Brown’s green record,” according to White.

A growing wave of reports show that natural gas reduces, not increases, carbon emission levels. The shift from coal to natural gas alone cut CO2 emissions more than 2 billion metric tons in the last decade, which is about 72 percent more than emissions reduced through increased “non-fossil generation,” according to data from the Energy Department’s statistical arm.

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