Governor Brown kicks off environmental summit in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- He's become the country's de-facto leader on climate change and Wednesday night, Governor Jerry Brown helped kick off a high-profile environmental summit in San Francisco.

"I can't think of anyone better to kick off this dinner," said Thomas Friedman, an op/ed columnist for the New York Times.

Friedman interviewed Governor Jerry Brown before a packed room at the Metreon in San Francisco. This is the first New York Times Climate Tech Summit, and to many in the crowd, Brown is a hero, who's been taking on the President on climate change. The governor says California is currently at nearly 50 percent renewable energy, and 100 percent by 2040 is not out of the question.

"California is actively pursuing an energy policy that we can sustain in the face of federal opposition," said Brown.

But to the environmental activists who protested outside -- Brown is a hypocrite. Mainly, because of his refusal to ban fracking, the controversial form of oil extraction.

"He's talking out of both sides of his mouth," said Adam Scow of Food & Water Watch. "The funny thing is everybody is for clean energy and renewable energy, but Governor Brown has not yet shown the courage and resolve to take on the fossil fuel industry."

Fracking didn't come up when Brown was on stage. Instead, the focus was on the future. The governor will host world leaders for a global warming summit next year. He also wants to come up with a forest management plan.

"We're going to have to find a way to take out a lot of that kindling, a lot of that fuel that is causing us such trouble," said Brown.

Brown only has a little more than a year as governor -- time he says that will be devoted to mobilizing as much support as he can to help fight climate change.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.