Green:Net: Brown Says 'Don't Look in Government' for Innovation

Jerry Brown, California’s attorney general and former mayor of Oakland, is back on the campaign trail, hoping to once again lead the state as governor. At Green:Net today, Brown said you can’t turn to government to drive innovation in green technology, but that it needs to work together with entrepreneurs to foster innovation.

“If you want to find innovation, don’t look in government. Even at its best, its goal is to consolidate ideas and new ventures that are started elsewhere,” Brown said. “There is a lifetime between what is done outside government and then what is done in government.”

While the government itself can’t be expected to foster innovation, Brown said that it needs to be accommodating to creative forces in the state. “The venture capital community is alive and well. We have to align the creativity of Silicon Valley and the greentech industry with government policy and regime that spurs job growth,” Brown said.

Brown pointed to his experience as governor during the economic recession and energy crisis in the 1970s as an example of his ability to manage California during the greentech revolution today. Pointing to policies he pushed then to promote wind and solar energy, as well as those to spur energy and appliance efficiency, Brown said Californians have saved $50 billion because of investments in efficiency.

In more concrete terms, Brown reiterated his support for Assembly Bill 32, the 2006 act that calls for a 30 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. That comes in contrast to opponent Meg Whitman, who has called for a one-year moratorium on certain parts of the bill.

“That stop-and-start is exactly the type of thing that creates investment uncertainty, and that could deal a crippling blow to some of the startups that are doing well,” Brown said. “We’re in the midst of a very important set of changes, and AB 32 creates an important framework and we need to protect that at all costs.”

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