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Phil Matier: Gov. Brown Says California At 'Epicenter of Climate Change'

SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) _ Gov. Jerry Brown says California is at "the epicenter" of the effects of a warming planet as the state experiences longer fire seasons and more destructive wildland blazes.

The Democratic governor spoke Monday at a conference about climate change. His address comes as scientists warn that a hotter climate will lead to more frequent and intense wildfires throughout the West and after scientists confirmed that the huge West Antarctic ice sheet is beginning to collapse.

Brown said Californians drive about 1 billion miles a day, so the switch to a culture that is less dependent on burning fossil fuels will take political will, investment and support from all Americans.

About a dozen environmentalists protested outside the auditorium where Brown spoke, urging him to end hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas.

According to a new report from UC Davis, California's drought could cost the Central Valley farm industry more than a billion dollars and lead to thousands of farm workers losing their jobs.

The question remains: What can California do about it? KCBS, KPIX and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier said Brown has been hitting this issue hard for some time now and has been considered the darling of the environmental crowd on a national level.

Phil Matier: Gov. Brown Says California At 'Epicenter of Climate Change'

Matier said California already has cleaner gas than others, which is why we pay more, and new laws are on the books that are going to require that 33 percent of California's energy use is renewable.

However, the governor hasn't taken on a real hard position on fracking. "He's blending politics and economics. He wants that oil and those jobs," Matier said.

One point he made in his speech was how a high-speed bullet train (California's High-Speed Rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles) is part of the answer to getting so many of the cars of the roads and highways.

Matier said this is one of the projects he's pushing, which is part of the reason why we're hearing so much about it from him lately. "We'll be hearing more to come," he said.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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