Governor Jerry Brown didn’t mince words in his State of the State address on January 24. Taking a forceful, defiant stance against the Trump administration, he called for preparation for “the battle ahead.”
He stated that California views the future as “uncertain” and warned of “dangers ahead.” Committing to using the state’s protective measures for undocumented immigrants, he said “We may be called upon to defend those laws and…we will defend everybody—every man, woman and child—who has come here for a better life and has contributed to the well-being of our state.” He also promised to protect the five million Californians insured under the Affordable Care Act.
“We have heard the blatant attacks on science,” he said. “Familiar signposts of our democracy—truth, civility, working together—have been obscured or swept aside.”
Brown vowed to forge ahead on climate change initiatives, whether alone or with other states and other nations, and to protect and defend what are already the most proactive policies in the country. That includes a legislatively mandated target of reducing carbon emissions in California to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
The Governor mocked the Trump administration’s ‘alternative facts.’ “Whatever they do in Washington,” he insisted, “they can’t change the facts.”
It won’t be easy, however. Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress could undercut California’s climate policies by reducing funds for the state’s research community, or stop enforcement of the Clean Air Act and emissions laws—which would put CA businesses at a disadvantage if it becomes less restrictive to operate elsewhere.
And even as the most populous state in the nation, California cannot tackle climate change alone. “Will that be enough, soon enough?” asks Dan Jacobson, the state director of Environment California. “Not without the partnership of other cities, states, and nations.”
California has a long history of leading the way on a variety of social and environmental issues, from worker’s rights to LGBTQ rights to coastal protection and carbon reduction. We hope Gov. Brown will be true to his word so California can continue to take the lead.
“This is a time which calls out for courage and for perseverance,” said Brown. “California is not turning back. Not now, not ever.”