SAN FRANCISCO -- Riding the green wave of a newly implemented cap-and-trade carbon emissions system and a half-billion dollars per year for green jobs, Gov. Jerry Brown exhorted green builders Friday to urge the rest of the nation to "get with it."
"I want to reinforce everything you're doing and tell you that in California, we take it seriously -- we've been doing it for a long time," Brown told a few thousand attendees at the closing session of the Greenbuild Conference and Expo at the Moscone Center.
And, perhaps feeling his oats following his electoral victory with Proposition 30, his tax-hike ballot measure to fund education, Brown jabbed at those who say California is a failed state.
He said he wouldn't say what party such "declinists" tend to associate with, but "I can tell you they're losing power from coast to coast," he said, earning applause from the audience. And those who hung the nickname "Governor Moonbeam" -- "not a term of endearment" -- on him during his earlier gubernatorial terms "aren't around anymore, but I am."
California on Wednesday launched its new system for limiting greenhouse gas emissions by putting a price on carbon, as the state's Air Resources Board began auctioning permits to create a marketplace for such emissions. Businesses must either cut their emissions or buy permits from other companies for each extra ton of pollution discharged each year.
And California voters last week approved
Brown on Friday noted the common Greek root of the words "ecology" and "economy," but said ecology is about "deep principles, deep patterns, the structure of reality itself" -- the economy exists within ecology, not vice versa.
"There is no ability to repeal the laws of nature," he said, and mankind must stop its polluting and wasteful ways or else suffer "irreversible, catastrophic consequences."
The state and nation must be aggressive about setting goals, such as having zero-net-energy residential buildings by 2020 and commercial buildings by 2030.
"California can only go so far -- we can be a little bit in front," he said, but it's up to forward-thinkers like those at the conference to push the rest of the nation toward a sustainable future.
"Time is not on our side" as greenhouse gasses keep amassing in the atmosphere, he said, adding that if the world doesn't clean up its act, it could reach a point where humans have to be "living on some other planet that's more hospitable."