MEXICO CITY -- Gov. Jerry Brown was about to leave Mexicos capital after four days of talks pressing on the environment, and he wasnt sure, broadly speaking, how his diplomacy might add up.
Meetings held out of public view dinner with business magnate Carlos Slim and talks with the poet Homero Aridjis and Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano, a founder of Mexicos Party of the Democratic Revolution, among others were more critical on any number of issues, Brown said, than was on display at his official functions.
Some of the more private guys, Brown said, were not that optimistic that people are interested in climate change.
California cant keep pushing a climate change agenda if more states and countries dont do the same thing, Brown said. You cant do a carbon price all by yourself forever.
Brown, a longtime advocate for environmental causes, is trying in his third term to export California policies to reduce carbon emissions. His plan is to use his reputation and that of California to rally support in other states or countries for policies they can promote together in international climate talks, first this year in New York and Lima and then next year in Paris.
It is the Paris meeting, where countries are expected to adopt a global treaty on climate change, that Brown recently called the crucial event for the future of the world.
Yet as substantial Browns record on the environment may be, he is only a governor, and it is unclear even to him if he would have a place at a meeting where presidents names are called.
Might not, I dont know, Brown said in an interview in the lobby of his hotel. Brown, who set a bag of rice cakes on the table in front of him and wondered if the green tie he was wearing was too bright, said it depends upon what Ive been able to do in the meantime, if theres any particular role.
Im not going to go and just sit on the sidelines.
Brown is not overly optimistic about the prospects for global warming. He worries about levees collapsing and fresh water running out.
Well, youre going to be around for more of this climate change than I am, the 76-year-old said, and it aint going to be pretty.
Still, his reception in Mexico was warm, and if Mexican officials want to work with him, Brown said, Thats something.
Browns wife, Anne Gust Brown, was sitting beside him in the hotel. She said our best hope is that theres some technological solution that doesnt exist, some carbon capture or something that doesnt exist, because actually inflicting pain on people in the short term is very hard.
Gust said businessmen here tend when they think about it and believe in climate change, tended to talk more about technological solutions.
But Slim is one of the richest people in the world. If he invited Brown for dinner, perhaps he is on board?
Im not going to comment, Brown said. After being welcomed into his house, I dont want him to read a nasty story I might not be invited back.
Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.