SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KTVU) - Governor Jerry Brown has returned from weeks of world travel crusading against climate change, only to find demonstrators in his own backyard.
"Talk is cheap, we need real action by the governor," said activist Adam Scow of the group Food and Water Watch.
Scow was among a dozen protestors outside the Metreon in San Francisco Wednesday evening.
Inside, Gov. Brown spoke to a select audience, who paid $2,250 per ticket for dinner and his remarks.
"Climate change is not optional, it's mandatory," Brown started off.
"It's global, it's diffuse, and nobody's in charge, nobody's in charge of the global threat," Brown declared.
The event, hosted by the New York Times, brings policymakers, entrepreneurs, and tech experts together to tackle climate change.
Thursday will offer a daylong lineup including Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer.
Brown's comments, in conversation with columnist Thomas L.. Friedman, kicked- off the ClimateTECH conference.
Brown told the audience it would be easier to replace, than convert, those in power in Washington, who regard global warming a hoax.
"With them, it's like trying to talk about abortion in the Vatican, it isn't going to work," he said.
But the threat, he declared, is real and grounded in science.
"At 125 or 130 degrees you can't live. And current models predict that going to happen several times a year. So unless you have air conditioning you will die." Outside the venue, Brown's critics weren't mincing words either.
"People need to take a hard look at his actions, not his words," said Scow, "because this is where people are believing spin."
Environmental groups say Brown refuses to ban fracking, and that under his watch, refineries are still expanding, and oil and gas drilling is increasing, despite dangers to health, habitat and groundwater.
"The oil and gas industry is the biggest lobbyist, spends the most money of any industry in California, " said Scow, "and Governor Brown and other politicians in Sacramento simply will not take them on." Brown has bristled at the criticism.
Earlier this month, at a United Nations Conference in Bonn, Germany, he exhorted the audience, "we need to do better, we need to get off oil and gas", but moments later, was interrupted by hecklers in the audience who shouted "put fossil fuels in the ground."
Brown's retort surprised many: "I agree with you - in the ground. And we need to put you in the ground so we can get on with the show here."
There were about a dozen Californians who traveled to Bonn, determined to get Brown's attention.
"He was asked if he wanted to apologize for saying that, but he said it was a joke," Daniel Ioario told KTVU.
Loraio was among those who disrupted Brown in Bonn, and was protesting again in San Francisco.
"To us, this is no joke, people getting cancer and getting asthma," he said. Loario is a Castro Valley machinist who also volunteers for the group Idle No More- SF Bay.
"Brown is not a climate hero, " he declared, " but he's against Trump so anyone who's against Trump is somehow now our friend, but I say the enemy of our enemy is not necessarily our friend."
Brown did not acknowledge the protestors, and stayed on point, his perspective global. "We're making progress, but we're running out of time," he reiterated, blaming the recent catastrophic firestorms in Northern California on heat, humidity and wind related to climate change.
"This is the new normal. California is burning up and the fire season is not a couple of months in the summer, it's virtually year round."