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Disparate views on greenhouse gas emissions

It's a likely bet that John Watson and Jerry Brown aren't regular dinner partners or paired up together in charity golf tournaments.

In fact, Watson, who is the ranking executive of the California-based Chevron Corporation, and Brown, who as governor heads the state, seem at loggerheads in just about everything in which they share a common interest.

That means environmental matters, where disagreement between Watson and Brown could hardly be more apparent.

Gov. Brown was recently a prominent speaker at a global environmental summit in Paris, where he pleaded with global leaders to follow California's lead on curbing toxic air emissions.

As noted in a recent Bloomberg article on conflicting views concerning energy and pollution policies, Brown argued "that inaction on greenhouse gas emissions would lead to global disaster."

Watson notably disagrees with Brown's agenda for reducing those emissions, saying that the governor's plan inappropriately targets companies inside the United States, especially California employers.

In fact, Watson calls Brown's support of stringent state laws mandating reduced omissions "noise," saying that it is misdirected and that the proper focus should more centrally target truly problematic actors, such as companies in China.

"The low-hanging fruit is around the world," Watson recently stated, while pointing out that California is responsible for just a trifling 1 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions globally.

California law mandates an emission standard that will return current pollution levels back to where they were in 1990 by 2020. Watson counters that coercive government policies aren't nearly as effective in controlling pollution as are industry improvements already being made by enhancements to combustion engines and ongoing developments in hydraulic fracturing.

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