Martin Espinoza, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday took to a stage in Santa Rosa before a crowd of leading North Bay environmentalists to tout activism and government policies that have made California a global leader in the green economy.
“California is a climate of hope. If you don’t like the way the world looks when you’re standing up, stand on your head, because remarkable things are happening at the local level,” Newsom said.
The former San Francisco mayor is a leading contender among Democrats running to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown next year. He gave the keynote address at Sonoma County Conservation Action’s “Grassroots Gala,” an annual event that honors local environmental leaders.
His remarks came after a tumultuous couple of weeks for the United States on the global stage, punctuated by President Donald Trump’s announcement he would pull the country, the world’s largest historic emitter of climate warming gases, out of the landmark Paris agreement on climate change.
Newsom pushed back on Trump’s contention that pivoting toward a fossil fuel-free world would irretrievably harm the U.S. economy.
“What is so wrong about de-carbonizing your economy? What’s so wrong about what California’s done? Seven years, 2.7 million jobs, 2.9 percent GDP (growth),” he said. “You remember that Goldilocks budget that Trump announced two weeks ago? It’s predicated on 3 percent growth and everyone says that’s not achievable — I say hold on, come out to California. It’s absolutely achievable.”
For many in the room, Newsom’s comments reflected the emergence of a new generation of environmental leaders pushing a movement that seeks alliances with industry. The growth and success of the renewable energy sector, they say, shows the environmental movement can both save the planet and create jobs.