The Democratic governor touted the state's aggressive energy-saving programs, saying they already generate billions of dollars in savings and more than a million jobs as a result of clean-energy efforts.
"While others delay and deny, the Obama administration is confronting climate change head-on with these new standards," Brown said in a statement Monday.
He welcomed the White House as a partner saying, "Bold, sustained action will be required at every level and this is a major step forward."
Under Obama's proposal, California will have to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 23 percent by 2030. The state already has one of the most ambitious renewable energy standards in the country.
California's Renewable Portfolio Standards program requires a third of the energy supplied by utilities and power providers to come from renewable sources by 2020.
The Legislature also approved California's landmark global warming law in 2006. It aims to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, in large part by reducing industrial emissions.
That law already has shaken up the state's industrial sector, costing it more than $1.5 billion in pollution permit fees.
Brown has described California as being at the "epicenter" of global warming and other climate change, with the state experiencing longer fire seasons, rising sea levels and droughts that threaten agriculture.