Jerry Brown’s ‘Religious Inclinations’ Inform His Global Warming Policies

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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An in-depth look at California Gov. Jerry Brown’s crusade against global warming underscores how his battle against greenhouse gas emissions isn’t just about politics.

Brown’s “religious inclinations” also play a role, according to an in-depth article by E&E News.

“He’s a Catholic boy who appreciates God’s Earth,” said Orville Schell, a director at the Asia Society who E&E News also described as Brown’s “longtime chronicler.”

“This is nothing new for him to worry about environmental issues,” Schell told E&E News. “There’s no one like him in America. He has his vices and his virtues, but he’s very open. He can’t help thinking globally, and he’s now pushing California to act globally.”

Since becoming governor, Brown, a Democrat, has made tackling global warming a major priority. He started the “Under 2 Coalition” in 2015 to give state and provincial officials a bigger say in drafting of the Paris climate accord.

More recently, Brown’s environmental profile took off in the wake of President Donald Trump’s vowing to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. Brown derided the decision, and signed climate agreements with Chinese provinces.

“Most things in politics are extremely relative and ephemeral,” Brown told E&E news while in Beijing in June.

“Climate approaches the absolute in that as the climate is disrupted over time, it’s not going to be reversed in the lifetime of civilization,” Brown said. “It partakes of the fundamental character of the theological principle. That’s why it interested me more than the other topics that we deal with in politics.”

Brown’s committed California to getting 50 percent of its electricity from green energy by 2050 and is working to re-up the state’s cap-and-trade system. Brown also signed legislation for California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990s levels by 2040.

“Whatever the negative influence of America, the energy let loose by Trump’s attempt to withdraw is so great in terms of the enthusiasm, the activism, the mobilization, Trump is a net positive for greenhouse gas reduction,” Brown told Chinese officials in Beijing.

“If you don’t understand that, you can just think about it a little longer,” Brown said. “I might say that’s kind of Zen reasoning. A Zen master says, ‘If you would move in the East, make a sound in the West.’ Well, Trump is making a sound in the West, and we’re all moving in the East.”

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