California, New York form climate alliance after Trump withdraws from Paris accord

SAN FRANCISCO -- Around the country, governors and mayors are saying that if President Trump won't lead the way on protecting the environment, they will. 

"Wake up. This is happening, this is real!" California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown says he would tell Washington after Mr. Trump opted to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.

CBS News caught up with Brown as he was boarding a flight to Beijing to attend a clean energy summit. He's going as the leader of the sixth richest economy in the world  -- the state of California.

"When Mr. Trump does something so outrageous to the science and to the reality to climate change we can't stand idly by. This is serious stuff," Brown says. 

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California Gov. Jerry Brown joined with Washington, New York, Canada and Mexico to form the U.S. Climate Alliance to honor the commitment of the Paris accord. 

CBS News

When Mr. Trump pulled out of the climate accord, Brown immediately formed the U.S. Climate Alliance with Washington state, New York, Mexico and Canada to honor the commitment of the agreement. Those three states make up a fifth of the U.S. population and 11 percent of the U.S. emissions.  
 
California has adopted the nation's toughest car emissions standards, then pushed solar and electric cars.  

Brown disagrees when Mr. Trump says going in that direction is pulling the U.S. backwards and putting Americans at a disadvantage.

"Mr. Trump is wrong on the facts, wrong on the science, wrong on the economy," Brown says. 

California has seen a boom in green jobs. Andrew Thurrey was a plumber before working in the solar industry.

 "I have a pretty good middle-class life right now," Thurrey says. "I was able to buy a home. I believe that would have been hard doing my other profession."
 
Solar now accounts for 373,000 jobs in the country – five times the number of coal industry jobs. California has accounted for one out of every six new jobs since 2012.

"Eventually, the Trump administration will have to come around. He cannot deviate from the entire world in the way he's trying to right now," Brown says.

Individual states cannot sign the Paris Agreement,  but they can commit to the same standards. During Brown's trip to China, he plans to push for even more cooperation on clean energy policies.