How far can California push the nation — and the world? Jerry Brown's climate summit may provide the answer

Even as California forged its own path for years to battle global warming, pressing forward whether Washington agreed or not, skeptics have persistently scolded that it is just a state — it can’t set policy for the nation, much less the world.

If California ever had a moment to prove them wrong, it is now. At the international climate summit Gov. Jerry Brown will kick off Wednesday in San Francisco, the state is playing a role none ever has, pushing the rest of the country to join other nations in enforcing a landmark agreement on climate change that President Trump has quit.

Put simply, the three-day environmental summit will test whether California can bring the country to a place Congress and the White House won’t.

“This is a very odd challenge we have,” Brown said in an interview in his office. “It is coming at us from all over the planet. Everyone is contributing and everyone has got to do something to combat it. It is a totally unique world challenge, never before faced. There is nothing like this.”

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