Gov. Jerry Brown, preparing to travel to France this week for international climate talks, said Tuesday that humanity is engaged in a “race against dramatic climate change,” while casting himself as a Johnny Appleseed in the struggle.
“Paris is a very important next step, but it’s only a baby step going forward,” Brown said in an interview. “It’s a real race. It’s a race against dramatic climate change and melting of Greenland and all the rest of this stuff. And you don’t know what the tipping points are ... There’s a lot of big risks out there. Human kind has brought into the world absolutely devastating technologies.”
The climate conference is a meeting of world leaders, and Brown, as a governor, will largely be agitating from the sidelines.
He is seeking to lobby heads of state as they meet to negotiate an international climate pact, while rallying support for his own efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California. The governor is expected in France to announce new signatories to a pact among dozens of states and sub-national governments to reduce emissions.
“I’m going to go around and ... Did you ever see, you know, Johnny Appleseed running around planting apple trees?” he said. “I’ll do whatever I can, with whomever I meet.”
Brown said the conference already is a success because “we’re talking about it” in the media.
Brown’s public schedule includes 21 appearances over six days starting Friday, with events focused on renewable energy, zero-emission vehicles and short-lived climate pollutants, among other topics.
In addition to meetings with politicians and businesspeople, Brown will participate Saturday on a panel with documentary director Charles Ferguson and conservationist Jane Goodall. Next week, on his final day in Paris, Brown will give a guest lecture at École Normale Supérieure, an elite graduate school.
Brown’s wife and special counsel, Anne Gust Brown, often travels with the governor but will not join him in France. Among other things, Brown said, she is preparing for their move from a rented loft in Sacramento to the city’s historic governor’s mansion.