1. Gov. Jerry Brown on stage at fundraiser for Sacramento Press Club
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Gov. Jerry Brown, (D) California:
"Emissions are rising in China, are rising in Germany and probably will start rising again in America. So the world leadership class is sound asleep and the threat of nuclear annihilation and climate disruption on a permanent basis looms. And therefore it is time for new leaders to rise up and make the case and mobilize the people for what needs to be done. But what needs to be done is unprecedented, and therein lies the dilemma where we are today."
3. Brown talks during Q&A at fundraising lunch
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Gov. Jerry Brown, (D) California:
"I think there are a lot of solutions that have to be pursued. They all cost money. They're all going to be difficult politically. They're probably slow to come. And on top of all that we still have to do everything we can to reduce carbon emissions because the threats are mounting. And you're going to see more fires. I believe in the next five to ten years, not in 2050 but in 2025 and 2030. California in some sense is burning up."
5. Brown on stage with journalists
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Gov. Jerry Brown, (D) California:
"I think people really need to personally figure out how they can handle a fire that is unlikely but possible. And then of course from a government point of view, we need a proper zoning and the state should make the dangers very clear. I don't think that the governments lay out for people the stark warning: you may you may die in this particular environment."
7. Framed campaign poster from early Jerry Brown campaign
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Gov. Jerry Brown, (D) California:
"And the Democrats are a big tent with many different points of view. Having said all that, I think there will be a tendency to pass too many laws and spend too much money. And I would say the governor is going to have to correct that but he won't be able to correct it all because in order to govern he's got to please some of these groups enough of the time still be viable as a political leader."
9. Brown in interview at governor's mansion
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Gov. Jerry Brown, (D) California:
"Look it's not the skin color. It's who's the right person with the right set of qualities to lead the nation. And that can be a man or woman, it can be someone of other background other than what we've seen for most of our history. But at the end of the day whoever the person is he has to be a unifying figure. We don't need any more divisiveness."
California Gov. Jerry Brown says world leaders are "sound asleep" as the threat of nuclear annihilation and climate disruption loom, worsening wildfires and other natural disasters.
Brown spoke about the climate crisis, California's catastrophic wildfires, the 2020 presidential campaign and Democratic control of state politics during an interview with the Associated Press at the governor's mansion in Sacramento.
The Democrat helped his party become dominant in California politics during his eight years leading the nation's most populous state, and less than a month before leaving office, he is predicting it will be difficult for his successor to control Democrats' hunger for more spending and rules.
Democrats hold all statewide offices and expanded their supermajority in the Legislature last month, allowing them to approve tax hikes and virtually any law without Republican support.
In the interview, Brown, 80, called for more blunt discussions about the danger of wildfires to force officials and residents to act, pushed back against critics who say he's too friendly to oil companies, and chided world leaders for failing to tackle climate change with urgency.
He leaves office Jan. 7 after wrapping up a record four terms, first from 1975 to 1983 and again since 2011.
The governor's comments on Democratic priorities reflect the more frugal attitude he brought to Sacramento. He entered office with a $27 billion deficit and leaves a nearly $15 billion rainy day fund and a surplus.
Brown is leaving office on the heels of the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century. Flames tore through the town of Paradise last month, killing at least 86 people and destroying 14,000 homes. He's blamed climate change for more destructive blazes in recent years and warned things will worsen.
The governor called the need to limit building in areas at high risk for wildfires "obvious" but said it's "politically painful" to implement when people want to rebuild their homes and developers see opportunities.
People who choose to live in high-risk areas need to plan escape routes, build cellars and manage vegetation, he said. And the state must provide more information about the true danger of wildfires, he said.
Wildfires offer Brown an opportunity to call for swifter action against climate change, which is making California drier and more prone to flames. He's urged action beyond California, working with the U.N., creating a global coalition to reduce climate emissions and holding meetings in China and Russia.