Capitol Alert

Video: Jerry Brown defends air board, says climate change ‘not stuff for amateurs’

Gov. Jerry Brown, left, shakes hands with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi in San Jose, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015.
Gov. Jerry Brown, left, shakes hands with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi in San Jose, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. AP

Gov. Jerry Brown, defending California air regulators following a brawl this summer over petroleum regulations, said Thursday that climate change is “not stuff for amateurs” and that the California Air Resources Board has the expertise and political will to move forward on greenhouse gas reductions.

“At the end of the day, what is crucial is that knowledgeable, skilled people in positions of power and responsibility take the steps needed to get where we want to go,” Brown said.

Brown’s remarks came after a proposal to reduce petroleum use in motor vehicles by 50 percent by 2030 failed in the Legislature. Brown, a fourth-term Democrat, has vowed to implement regulations using his executive authority and existing law. But the campaign against the petroleum legislation left the ARB bruised.

This is not stuff for amateurs.

Gov. Jerry Brown

In a barrage of advertising, California’s oil industry characterized the board as an overly intrusive agency, and even lawmakers supportive of the petroleum reduction called for increased oversight of the board.

A bill to give the Senate Rules Committee and the speaker of the Assembly one appointment each to the ARB is now sitting on Brown’s desk.

Brown, who has made climate change a priority of his administration, has rebuffed efforts to grant lawmakers greater influence over the ARB. Speaking at a board workshop on climate change policy in Sacramento, he said the agency has “the sophistication and the capability – and now the political will – to proceed down the path that I am suggesting.”

California governor speaks on climate change in Sacramento on Oct. 1, 2015

“This is a topic that’s not easy to grasp,” he said. “It’s complicated. The more you dig into controlling air pollution or measuring greenhouse gases or attempting to understand the models that examine and attempt to predict how world climate patterns will change over time – it definitely is a very complicated science that we mere lay people just get little glimpses of.”

He said the complexity of the issue “allows people who have bad motives or soft minds” to raise doubts about climate change “without people, you know, reacting with total ridicule.”

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders