The wilderness fire was “a real wake-up call” to reduce the carbon pollution “that is in many respects driving all of this,” he said.
“It’s a new normal,” he said. “California is burning.”
Brown had political reasons for his declaration.
He had just challenged Republican presidential candidates to state their agendas on global warming. He was embroiled in a fight with the oil industry over legislation to slash gasoline use in California. And he is seeking to make a mark on international negotiations on climate change that culminate in Paris in December.
University of Colorado climate change specialist Roger Pielke said Brown is engaging in “noble-cause corruption.”
Pielke said it is easier to make a political case for change using immediate and local threats, rather than those on a global scale, especially given the subtleties of climate change research, which features probabilities subject to wide margins of error and contradiction by other findings.
“That is the nature of politics,” Pielke said, “but sometimes the science really has to matter.”
Richard Halsey, who founded the Chaparral Institute in San Diego.
Otherwise, he said, “the houses will keep burning down and people will keep dying.”
“I don’t believe the climate change discussion is helpful,” Halsey said.