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'We Need To Make A Change:' Gov. Jerry Brown Warns Of Climate Risks As He Prepares To Leave Office

SACRAMENTO (CBSLA) —  California Gov. Jerry Brown warns state leadership must take action to avoid the negative impacts of climate change as he prepares to leave office, insisting Southern California could "burn up" within the next 15 years.

After 16 years in the governor's office during his lifetime, Brown is preparing to step down and hand the reins to Governor-elect Gavin Newsom. In a one-on-one interview with CBS2/KCAL9's Dave Bryan, the politician insisted tackling the issue of climate change and challenging the Trump administration on its position are among the biggest challenges his successor will face.

Failure to do so, he contends, could result in environmental impacts that will rapidly change the landscape of Southern California.

"He's a powerful force," Brown said in reference to President Trump. "But on the matter of climate change and what's causing the fires, we need to make a change. Southern California is going to burn up. And we're not talking 50 years. We're talking five, 10, 15 years."

Brown said he considers among his most important achievements was saving California from a massive deficit which he inherited when he began his third term.

"We took a state that was ungovernable – it looked like it was totally out of control. It was floundering financially – $27 billion in the red. And now we're $27 billion in the black," he said.

Brown's most controversial project, the bullet train, is still a work-in-progress. The project has been cursed with large cost overruns and mismanagement. Brown, however, remains optimistic, even though Newsom has only supported the first segment of the bullet train so far.

Newsom will soon be moving into the Governor's mansion. He will be sworn into office as California's 40th governor on Monday.

Meanwhile, Brown is preparing to head to his ranch in Northern California.

"I'll know if I miss it how how much after I leave," he said.

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