Former California Gov. Jerry Brown said the Biden administration is moving in the right direction on climate change, but the country must also work with its global counterparts to mitigate the crisis and come to what he called "planetary realism."
Brown, a climate activist and executive chairman of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a nonprofit science organization that focuses on global security issues, said in an interview with the Washington Examiner that the president is on course to reverse former President Donald Trump's climate policy rollbacks.
"Trump was completely fact-challenged, and determined to go against mostly every nation in the world by Trump’s climate denial and his efforts," Brown said on Wednesday. "There’s dozens of initiatives that Trump took that Biden can reverse. That’s the most important, immediate step."
President Biden will be able to mandate several courses of action through executive orders, including tightening fuel economy standards, buying more electric cars, and demanding usage of more renewable electricity such as solar and wind, Brown said.
The United States has to work with the world on fixing the problems created by climate change, Brown added.
"This is almost like we’re suffering an attack from Mars — some extraterrestrial species," the former governor said. "We have to come together in what I call planetary realism."
Biden has already taken steps to make climate change a priority in his administration. On his first day in office, the president reenlisted the U.S. in the Paris Climate Accord, an international agreement that unilaterally aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. He also canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline project, a promise he made on the campaign trail.
Biden signed a number of executive orders Wednesday related to the climate, including a ban on some energy drilling. The president's orders aim to freeze new oil and gas leases on public lands and double offshore wind-produced energy within the next decade.
Brown said the U.S. must also lead the world and encourage adversaries such as China and Russia to fight the crisis. Citing his own state, Brown says California has spearheaded the nation on being proactive on climate change, but even with its priorities in place, it's not enough to have a single commitment.
"California is doing more than any other state, but we are not doing nearly enough," Brown said. "The mountain we have to climb is very tall. We need investment, we need our Republicans, we need our scientists, and we need to cooperate with those who we oppose on many other issues like China."
Climate Envoy John Kerry said on Wednesday that the administration is making sure there is continued job creation as it phases out fossil fuel industries domestically.
"Unfortunately, workers have been fed a false narrative," Kerry said. "They've been fed the notion that somehow dealing with climate is coming at their expense. No, it's not."
When it comes to jobs, Brown said there has to be federal help for communities that might be initially hit by broader climate policies, but the end result will be more job creation in a green economy.
"When you curtail coal and oil then gas over the next several decades, it will cause jobs to change," Brown said. "We’re going to have a net increase in jobs if it's done right. But those who are penalized, I think the federal government will have to help them with transitional funding, with job training in new businesses, and new activities in areas that are affected by closing down fossil fuel places."