Former California Gov. Jerry Brown was in Washington a couple of weeks ago to testify to the House Oversight Committee that Republicans are “flat Earth” science deniers who don’t understand the “life-and-death” stakes of California’s effort to require automakers to increase the average mileage of the vehicles they sell from 37 miles per gallon in 2020 to about 50 miles per gallon in 2025.

“The blood is on your soul here,” he testified.

Brown blamed California’s worsening wildfires on climate change without mentioning that in 2016, he personally vetoed a bill that would have required the state to identify areas at high risk for wildfires, and would have required state utility regulators and forestry officials to develop enhanced plans to prevent fires caused by power lines and other utility equipment.

Senate Bill 1463 by state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, had passed both the Senate and the Assembly unanimously.

Another thing Brown didn’t mention was a report by Consumer Watchdog titled, “Brown’s Dirty Hands,” which looks at the “close proximity” of his administration’s actions on behalf of energy companies to millions of dollars in political donations from those companies to the former governor’s campaigns and favored causes.

If Brown wants to chase down whose blood is on whose soul, he really should run for president. Or become an exorcist.

One is more likely than the other. When Brown left office in December 2018, the Sacramento Bee reported that he had $15 million in his campaign account that he might use to play in ballot measure campaigns.

But that’s a needlessly limited ambition for someone whose credits include preventing the Apocalypse by raising the price of gasoline.

Even if he doesn’t get the nomination, he can win the California primary and then use his leverage at the Democratic National Convention to force the party to embrace his goal of bringing California’s energy prices to the whole country.

Spreading the grief nationwide is one way to make California more competitive with all the states currently absorbing our growing tide of middle-income refugees, not to mention the high-income former Californians who refused to live up to their responsibility to pay all the state’s bills while being blamed for all the state’s problems.

Those ingrates.

Speaking to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Brown prophesized, “The combustion car is going the way of the dodo bird, and you’ve got to either get with it or get out of the way.”

People who were in school in the 1970s might remember a similar prophecy, delivered with similar scowling certainty, that the United States was going to convert to the metric system, like it or not, because the rest of the world was already on it.

Here’s a brief history of how that worked out.

It didn’t.

Americans have a history of not caring at all what the rest of the world is doing. It’s in our nature to evaluate the facts in front of us and make individual decisions. When enough people individually conclude that something makes sense, it happens. And if they don’t, it doesn’t happen.

This much freedom is enormously frustrating to the kind of people who think government should do all the research, announce the findings from “the science,” and then enforce its decisions on the population.

Take electric cars, for instance. They mostly run on fossil fuels mixed with your tax dollars, with the additive of higher electricity rates to subsidize the installation of charging infrastructure.

One purpose of ratcheting up the mileage requirements, also known as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, is to provide a market for electric vehicle “credits.” Companies that sell muscle cars and pick-up trucks can meet their mileage obligation by purchasing credits from companies that exceed the requirements for fuel economy because they build electric cars. Tesla may earn more from selling credits than cars.

No matter how much the government pushes and charges — which coincidentally is what you may have to do with an electric car to get where you’re going — the vast majority of car buyers continue to choose “combustion” as their preferred mode of vehicle power.

We’ll keep watch on that dodo bird prediction, though. If muscle cars are endangered, they might qualify for federal and state protection.

Originally published in the Los Angeles Daily News