The last time he was governor of California, Jerry Brown was dubbed “Governor Moonbeam.” It was the ’70s, after all, and California continued to live up to its bohemian reputation. The “Moonbeam” moniker came from a columnist in Chicago who found one of Brown’s proposals too wacky to believe: using space-based satellites to facilitate emergency communications. In other words, the progenitor of how your cell phone works.
It will be interesting to see what Brown is called after his latest idea:
While the governor is in Lake Tahoe for an annual interstate summit, his office unveiled a new Web page: “Climate change: Just the facts.” The text on the page has the ring of Brown himself in its spirited defense of science and harsh critique for those who deny the impacts of global climate change. …
The page comes complete with footnotes and graphs, citing such sources as European health journals and tobacco documents from the 1960s.
“After decades of pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, humanity is getting dangerously close to the point of no return,” Brown said in a statement. “Those who still deny global warming’s existence should wake up and honestly face the facts.”
The page in question is here, part of the governor’s Office of Planning and Research. That makes sense, as a governor ought to prepare for — or, ideally, prevent — the worst impacts of climate change, which Brown’s office describes as “sea level rise, more frequent and hotter heat waves, a declining water supply and large, intense wildfires.”
At the same time, the Oakland-based Pacific Institute released a report considering how climate change will affect different areas of the state. By comparing predicted climate impacts with existing challenges like poverty, age, mobility, and native language, the Institute developed a map showing how each Census tract in California would fare in a changed climate.
The timing is fortuitous. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that the weather can have an outsized influence on people’s feelings about climate change. And California has been wracked by record heat and an outbreak of wildfires — one of which threatens a nudist colony.
We’ve learned time and again that presenting evidence for climate change does nothing to dissuade those who refuse to accept the reality. So while we wish Gov. Brown luck, we’re pessimistic.
But please note: He’s proven his doubters wrong before.