Gov. Brown Says Only ‘The Coercive Power Of Government’ Can Stop Global Warming

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

California Gov. Jerry Brown is not shy about admitting government force is necessary to get businesses to come up with the “revolutionary” change to fight global warming.

Brown, like other Democratic politicians, is in Paris attending the United Nations global warming summit. Brown supports a global agreement to cut carbon dioxide emissions, and was on a panel with California billionaire Tom Steyer at the Petit Palais (a luxurious art museum) to talk about policies they argue will help humans fight warming.

“Tom you used the phrase ‘policy — good policy,’ but I want to unpack that term a little bit,” Brown said Monday. “Inside the policy, you need a law, you need a rule, you need the coercive power of government to say ‘do this.'”

“Now you have to be wise and don’t say something stupid or try to order something stupid, but the fact is the regulations supported by the laws drive innovation,” Brown said.

Brown’s state of California is considered by many environmentalists to be a leader in global warming policies. Earlier this year, Brown signed the most aggressive green energy mandate of any U.S. state, forcing power companies to generate 50 percent of electricity from green sources by 2030. California also has a cap-and-trade program.

California gets most of its electricity from natural gas and out of state coal-fired power plants, but the state leads in solar energy generation. California is forcing out of state coal plants sending electricity to Southern California residents in the coming years as the state begins forcing more green energy onto the grid.

Californians pay some of the highest electricity prices in the country at 17.45 cents per kilowatt hour — the national average electricity price is 10.81 cents per kWh.

California also has a low-carbon fuel standard which forces refiners to lower the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from gasoline and other transportation fuels. This policy, coupled with Brown’s mandate to cut petroleum use statewide in half by 2030, is putting upward pressure on fuel prices and making the state much more vulnerable to refinery outages.

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