Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown: ‘Three minutes to midnight is damn dangerous’

Jerry Brown's 'downer' on climate, nuclear weapons

California Gov. Jerry Brown discusses climate change and nuclear weapons at Stanford University on Tuesday.
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California Gov. Jerry Brown discusses climate change and nuclear weapons at Stanford University on Tuesday.

In Gov. Jerry Brown’s most critical view of politics, climate change and nuclear proliferation have failed to gain attention because politicians don’t want to be downers, while an enabling media distracts itself with frivolous things.

“Because of the spectacle of the contemporary campaigns, nobody’s talking about it,” Brown said at Stanford University on Tuesday. “It’s time to wake up, America.” Politicians, he said, are “supposed to say, ‘It’s OK, have your cookies and cream and don’t worry.’ ”

Brown’s remarks came as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced its decision to leave at 3 minutes to midnight the time of its “doomsday clock,” a metaphorical representation of how close the world is to possible global catastrophe. The clock counts down to midnight, which represents the point of global catastrophe.

Despite the Iran nuclear deal and the climate change accord in Paris last year, organizers said, the threats of global warming and the modernization of nuclear weapons cause ongoing “grave concern.” The bulletin last reset the clock last year, moving it up 2 minutes based on the same concerns.

Organizers of the event noted that the clock was a top trending item on Twitter – an indication, despite Brown’s protestations, that some segment of the population was paying attention.

But the Democratic governor said he feared the public is not engaged, especially on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“There’s an inertia there that is inconsistent with moving out of the gravity sink of indifference that we currently find ourselves in,” he said. “Decarbonizing the world is not for the faint of heart.”

Brown said, “Three minutes to midnight is damn dangerous.”

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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