On his claims of climate leadership, Gov. Jerry Brown won plaudits. On his boast of political longevity, he raised at least one pair of eyebrows.
Climate change has become a centerpiece of Brown’s fourth and final term, and the governor was in New York on Friday as world leaders officially signed on to a landmark emissions-reduction pact at the United Nations. Brown was also in Paris last year when leaders hammered out the deal.
During a panel on implementing the agreement, Brown was feted for guiding California’s ambitious climate agenda. Former United Nations official Robert Orr praised Brown as a “visionary pioneer in the environmental movement,” and Vice President Al Gore lauded “the success California has had under his leadership.”
In seeking to explain that success, Brown gestured to his long political experience.
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“I’m the oldest governor in the United States of America still serving,” the 78-year old Brown said. “All the people I ran against in 1974 are now dead. But I continue.”
The comment got a hearty laugh. One problem, though: Democrat Herbert Hafif, 86, is still alive, his assistant confirmed.