California Just Signed A New Climate Change Agreement With China


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

Governor Brown talks with Chinese Science and Technology Minister Wan Gang ahead of the Clean Energy Ministerial international forum in Beijing this week. Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty images

The rebellion is in full swing, and it seems the Paris agreement was the catalyst.

First came the Climate Alliance, a bipartisan group of Governors determined to uphold the pact despite the actions of the Executive Branch. Then came “We Are Still In,” a coalition of US states, businesses, and cities – representing one-third of the American population – that told the UN that they are still abiding by Paris.


Now, Governor Jerry Brown of California, one of the co-chairs of the Climate Alliance, has taken this one shocking step further. During his current tour of China, and shortly before meeting with President Xi Jinping, he signed an agreement with China that would see the rising superpower and the Golden State work together on cutting their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over time.

From renewable energy technologies to zero-emission vehicles, from low carbon infrastructures to electricity efficiency savings, both China and California will work closely together. A working group of top-level officials from both sides will continually plot ways to cooperate on climate measures and to zero in on initiatives that will help both countries cut their carbon footprints.

China has already shown over the last couple of years that it is serious when it comes to climate change mitigation. Although far from perfect, the world’s most prolific GHG emitter is investing heavily in wind, solar, and nuclear power and its coal production has reached a plateau. Ambitious, enormous clean energy projects by state-owned corporations are underway across the globe.

In this respect, California – a progressive pioneer in clean energy since the 1980s, and home to nearly 40 million people, more than most countries – is China’s natural ally on the subject. The two may disagree about many other things, but on their frustration with the President, and their work on climate change, they have mutual goals.

California and China are both investing heavily in wind energy. Chris Rubino/Shutterstock


Upon signing the agreement early today with Wan Gang, the Chinese minister for science and technology, Brown reminded the world that the power of states should not be underestimated.

“California is the leading economic state in America and we are also the pioneering state on clean technology, cap and trade, electric vehicles and batteries, but we can’t do it alone,” Brown said before a Chinese delegation.

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry was also at the meeting in Beijing. Despite quietly hoping that the President would stay in the Paris agreement, he’s happily going along with Trump’s decision to withdraw. This surprise announcement by Governor Brown must have come as quite a shock to him.


This is nothing short of a powerful rebuke to Trump, and Brown knows it. It’s increasingly looking like it’s not America alone on the world stage – it’s the President.

[H/T: The Hill]


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