A new report from Consumer Watchdog fact-checks Governor Jerry Brown’s claim to be a climate and environmental leader. The report looks at Brown’s record since taking office as governor in 2011, and on a continuum of “Green” to “Murky” to “Dirty,” concludes that Brown’s environmental record is not Green.
Brown has staked his environmental legacy on fighting climate change, calling it the “singular challenge of our time.” He claims that he is enacting “a thorough, integrated plan to reduce fossil fuel consumption.” He plans to have 1.5 million electric cars on the road by 2025 and has granted major investor-owned utilities a windfall of billions of dollars to build the charging infrastructure to make it happen.
Yet, he has also thrown his support to the fossil fuel industry, whose products emit the most carbon on the planet when burned for transportation, electricity, and heat. Brown has expanded the burning of heat-trapping natural gas despite the fact that its main component, methane, is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The inevitable leaks along the natural gas supply chain have greatly increased the amount of methane in the atmosphere.
Brown has also nurtured oil drilling and hydraulic fracturing, while stifling efforts to protect the public from harm. The Public Utilities Commission has approved a slew of unnecessary new fossil-fuel power plants, while the state’s three major investor-owned utilities have overbuilt their generating capacity by nearly triple the minimum extra capacity that the state requires.
And under Brown, the number of active oil and gas wells in the state jumped by 23 percent since the year before he was elected governor.
The following advocates and public interest groups concur with the report’s analysis, conclusions, and recommendations: Food & Water Watch, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, Rootskeeper, Powers Engineering, Basin & Range Watch, Aguirre & Severson LLP, Public Watchdogs, the Southern California Watershed Alliance, The Desal Response Group, Restore The Delta, and Committee to Bridge the Gap.