A Vote for Jerry Brown is a Vote for California’s Clean Energy Future

Posted on 24 September 2010

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By Warner Chabot
California League of Conservation Voters

We have just over a month until the 2010 gubernatorial election, when Californians will choose who will lead our state in a time of great economic uncertainty. On November 2, Californians will cast their votes for a candidate who they believe is most qualified to lead California to a brighter, more sustainable future. But will they elect a candidate who will prioritize California’s transition to a clean energy economy?

The California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV)—the non-partisan political arm of the environmental movement in California—has endorsed Jerry Brown for governor of California. As attorney general and as a former governor of our great state, Brown has a stellar record of protecting the environment and public health through his leadership on and tough enforcement of our state’s environmental laws.

Brown is the only candidate for governor with both an unwavering commitment to the environment, and a clear plan for California to lead the nation to a clean energy economy. He shares the environmental and clean tech community’s vision of California becoming the national, if not the global, leader in developing clean energy, which complements his goals of improving California’s air quality, creating jobs, and fighting climate change.

Both Brown and his opponent Meg Whitman oppose Proposition 23, the oil company-backed proposition to repeal California’s landmark climate change and clean energy law, AB 32. Brown has long voiced his opposition, while Whitman finally made up her mind last week to vote “No.”  

Unfortunately, Whitman still plans to undermine the clean energy law by suspending it for one year. She went as far as to say that if AB 32 passed today and she was governor, she would veto the law. On this issue, Whitman is siding with out-of-state oil interests rather than the hundreds of California clean energy business leaders and investors who support AB 32 as an economic engine driving a green economy.

Whitman’s promise to derail the one bright spot in our economy flies in the face of what most Californians expect from the next governor. The most recent poll of Californians’ environmental values, released by the Public Policy Institute of California in July, highlights residents’ overwhelming support for policies that protect the environment, including those that seek to solve climate change. Most Californians see climate change as a threat to the economy and quality of life in the state and want our elected officials to take action.

It’s not good enough to decide to vote “no” on Prop 23, just like it’s not good enough to oppose new offshore oil drilling after a disaster makes it politically necessary. (Yes, Whitman also flip-flopped on offshore oil drilling). Brown not only opposes Prop 23; he stood up to the out-of-state polluters that fund it. Brown doesn’t just say he’s in favor of clean energy; he released a bold plan to create half a million clean energy jobs. California’s successful transition to a clean energy economy is central to his platform as a candidate for governor.

Brown has a solid record of achievement on energy and environmental policy. As governor from 1975-1982, Brown established California as a leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency and conservation.  He also adopted the toughest anti-smog laws in the country, expanded state parks, started the California Conservation Corps, banned the sale of dangerous chemicals, successfully fought offshore oil drilling plans, and signed into law the California Coastal Commission and Coastal Conservancy Act.

Brown earned a lifetime score of 86% on CLCV’s California Environmental Scorecard for his votes on environmental legislation as governor.

As attorney general, Brown defended California’s auto emission standards against the Bush Administration.  This led to the historic agreement between the Obama Administration and the auto industry that requires cars nationwide to adopt California’s standards.  Brown joined other Attorneys General in suing the Bush Administration for failure to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, resulting in a Supreme Court ruling that greenhouse gases are air pollutants subject to the Act.

Jerry Brown’s record speaks volumes about the kind of leader he will be for the Golden State.

California’s future as a clean technology leader and our environmental heritage are both at stake in the 2010 election. If you care about the quality of life in California—its natural beauty, pristine coast, wild places, the public’s health and new, clean energy jobs—then vote for the candidate who will be a champion for the environment. Join me and other Californians who care about our economy, air, water, coastline, parks, and health and vote for Jerry Brown for governor.


Warner Chabot is the Chief Executive Officer for the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV). One year ago, CLCV launched a campaign to elect an environmental champion as governor; the “Build a Greener Governor” is online at www.GreenGov2010.org.