California Attorney General Jerry Brown gave members of
the California League of Cities convention yesterday in the state capital the threat of lawsuits if the state's 400+ cities don’t account for the greenhouse-gas
producing activities related to their planning processes.
The former California governor and mayor of Oakland earlier this year in his new role as self-proclaimed "top cop," sued one hyper-growth California county for not calculating the impact of its extensive development plans on greenhouse gas production.
Brown used the state's groundbreaking 2006 AB
32 global warming mitigation legislation as precedent in a now-settled lawsuit against San Bernardino County. His office is compelling the
county to inventory its total greenhouse gas emissions and to come up with a
greenhouse gas reduction action plan for reducing emissions tied to new
development, through a long-existing regulation known as the California
Environmental Quality Act.
"We've got to adopt feasible measures to reduce greenhouse gasses through public processes--every city and county in California can do it," Brown told the gathering of hundreds of mayors and city managers. "I want to join with you to help. If you don't, I'll sue you. You have your roadmap, your threat, and the carrot of good things you'll achieve and bad things you'll avoid, so let's do it!"
The “bad things” he referred to that could be avoided included more smog and forest fires because of higher temperatures and broken levees because of increased flooding risks attributed to global climate change.
Brown, in his gruff San Francisco "Out-the-Mission" accent (which to this native Chicagoan always sounds more Chi-Town than anything), lauded Republican Gov. Schwarzenegger and the state's General Assembly for its far-reaching global climate change emission reduction targets.
"What California has done in adopting AB 32 is more
comprehensive than the greenhouse gas reduction goals in any state and in some
ways is more complete than anything accomplished by any nation."
Brown alluded to the California Environmental Quality Act being signed back in 1970 by then Governor Ronald Reagan and how last year Gov. Schwarzenegger signed AB 32 into law.
"A Republican signed the most far-reaching, invasive measure to make your life more difficult and now I'm the top cop to chase down people who emit greenhouse gasses," the long-time Democrat said, with a hint of irony.
The crowd of city officials, representing every political stripe, guffawed and cheered the former-seminary-student-turned career politician.