In the wake of President Donald Trump’s ignorant, selfish and destructive decision last week to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords all nations but two are party to, the wackadoodle governor of the wackadoodle State of California has shown the Buckeye State’s governor what real leadership looks like when it comes to combating climate change.
Gov. Jerry Brown, dubbed “Governor Moonbeam” decades ago when he first became the Golden State’s leader in 1975, is resisting the White House in spectacular fashion, compared to other state leaders who sit idly by or mouth mush for fear of being seen agreeing with former President Barack Obama and other world leaders who signed on to the Paris climate accords.
Casting his opposition to Trump pulling out of the voluntary agreement last week as being on the “side of the angels,” Brown – now the longest serving governor in California history, with nearly four 4-year terms under his belt – said he’s “going to do everything I can, and people are going to join with me” as he marches forward with his own plans to tackle climate change.
Brown goes where Ohio Gov. John Kasich fears to tread, calling climate change the “existential threat” to humanity, a position he made clear last year campaigning for Hillary Clinton. Had she won the Electoral College instead of the popular vote, Clinton would have kept America a partner in the Paris Climate Accords, thereby avoiding all the time and effort smart, determined leaders like Brown are investing now to craft other ways to partner following Trump’s dump of the world’s plan to make Earth great again.
Like European leaders who were hoping beyond hope that Trump would wise up for once in order to prevent a future that can’t be turned around once it arrives, Gov. Moonbeam is on the beam on dispensing with chords of false courtesy for Trump.
The LA Times reported that Brown said that while Trump’s decision was hardly a surprise, it was still “insane” and that “California will resist.”
Ohio is a state that once led the nation with the most progressive renewable energy schedule before Republican lawmakers scrubbed what former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland achieved while working with a hostile GOP legislature opposed to most of his agenda.
Current Ohio Gov. Kasich could easily be dubbed “Gov. Hugs,” since some of his most memorable moments on the presidential campaign trail last year involved dolling out hugs and hopes at town hall events central to but not helpful in his selling message that could only win one state, Ohio, in what turned out to be a very lopsided losing campaign.
What is Gov. Kasich’s position on climate change, and does he believe human activity plays a role or does he believe it’s all a hoax pushed by the Chinese as Trump called it on the campaign trail?
Gov. Hugs has been purposely vague, retreating to his Bible babble thinking that the Lord created the environment and that humans should take care of it. When asked about whether taking care of it includes legislation to protect it, Gov. Hugs says “let’s not get carried away” as he stands on the other side of the world from Gov. Moonbeam.
Even as a candidate in the Republican primary season last year, Kasich failed to acknowledged Earth Day in any public comments, even though he’s gone as far as to say he believes humans do contribute – at least in part – to climate change.
“I think that man absolutely affects the environment, but as to whether, what the impact is the overall impact – I think that’s a legitimate debate,” Kasich said on NBC’s Meet the Press more than year ago. “We don’t want to destroy people’s jobs, based on some theory that is not proven.”
But Kasich’s position on climate change as a destroyer of jobs is debunked by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who writes that it’s all about political ideology, not facts and hard science.
“The same goes for claims that trying to rein in emissions will do terrible economic damage and destroy millions of jobs. Such claims are, if you think about it, completely inconsistent with everything Republicans supposedly believe about economics.
“After all, they insist that the private sector is infinitely flexible and innovative; the magic of the marketplace can solve all problems. But then they claim that these magical markets would roll over and die if we put a modest price on carbon emissions, which is basically what climate policy would do. This doesn’t make any sense – but it’s not supposed to. Republicans want to keep burning coal, and they’ll say whatever helps produce that outcome.”
In a statement issued days after Trump made his disastrous decision, Kasich said he would have advised the White House to work to improve the treaty from within.
Always the good Republican despite talk of political parties being a problem, he said, “I wasn’t happy with the original agreement, especially in light of the Obama administration’s failure to work with Republicans in Congress on terms acceptable to both parties.”
But he tried, again, to play both ends against the middle.
“I know that climate change is real. It is a global issue and will need a global agreement to address. And we could have negotiated that agreement in ways that would not needlessly destroy jobs.”
After offering zero solutions to tackle climate change, he managed to offer a few tips on the agreement. Gov. Hugs seems to have woken up to the realization that “the Administration has passed up an opportunity both to expand U.S leadership in clean energy technology and to create well-paid American jobs with a future.”
After all his talk about leadership and bringing the nation together, Gov. Hugs, who penned an op-ed declaring “Washington Is Obsolete” based on his nine terms in Congress, thinks the federal government should not regulate emissions yet supports all types of energy production, including coal and fossil fuels.
Kasich set up Ohio to fall behind the rest of the nation when he put a freeze on Strickland’s renewable energy portfolio standards, which in turn has prompted the state’s right-wing legislature to make utility industry compliance totally voluntary.
Kasich’s mushy mouthed rhetoric on the hot topic shows just how weak his leadership on climate change is. He’s afraid to say that dirty, dangerous coal mining jobs are dwindling in the face of market competition from natural gas production and new-century clean-energy jobs.
Those new jobs include clean, far safer and good-paying jobs in the solar and wind industries that progressive states like California – led by a progressive leader like Jerry Brown – are creating fast and furious as Ohio limps along from behind.
Rebecca Leber wrote about Gov. Hugs in Mother Jones Magazine in March of 2016, saying, “the governor is no climate ally; he’s just a bit better than Trump at hiding his brand of denialism. He falls under the ‘do-nothing’ category of politicians who will accept at least some of the science but want to, well, do nothing about it.”
Leber writes that Gov. Hugs was as opposed to taking action as his other one-time GOP presidential competitors.
“Kasich says he supports renewables but equally alongside coal, natural gas, and oil. He opposes most policies that curb carbon pollution and that encourage wind and solar over dirtier sources. He’s promised to “freeze all federal regulations for one year except for health and safety”—and considers the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate and health regulations as the first that need to go. And he’s criticized the international climate deal the world reached last December, insisting the thousands of climate policy experts that were in Paris for a climate conference should have been there for ISIS: “I think when (Secretary of State John Kerry) went to Paris, he should have gone there to get our allies together to fight ISIS instead.”
In the end, it doesn’t matter much if Kasich manages a ‘yes’ to a question on the science. He is still dangerous. The New York Times, which also endorsed Kasich in January, put it best: ‘Kasich is no moderate.’ The newspaper’s editorial board wasn’t talking about climate change, but it might as well have been.”
Gov. Brown has maintained a high public approval rating in contrast to Gov. Kasich, whose job approval rating now hovers just above his lowest rating in the high 30s back in 2011. Gov. Moonbeam is moving forward pell mell to greet the future, with his all-Democratic state Legislature at his side, on a variety of climate-related legislation to guard against Trump’s backward policies doing more damage than they already have.
Gov. Hugs and his ultra-conservative legislature has no comparable plans to do what Golden Staters are planning to do help their state to maybe save the world.
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