People, Environment

California, China Sign Climate Deal, Sidestep Trump

California, China Sign Climate Deal, Sidestep TrumpCalifornia, China Sign Climate Deal, Sidestep Trump

With US President Donald Trump pulling the US out of the Paris climate accord, China and California signed an agreement on Tuesday to work together on reducing emissions, as the state’s governor warned that “disaster still looms” without urgent action.

California Governor Jerry Brown told AP at an international clean energy conference in Beijing that Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris agreement will ultimately only prove to be a temporary setback, ABC News reported.

For now, he said, China, European countries and individual US states will fill the gap left by the federal government’s move to abdicate leadership on the issue.

“Nobody can stay on the sidelines. We can’t afford any dropouts in the tremendous human challenge to make the transition to a sustainable future,” Brown said. “Disaster still looms and we’ve got to make the turn.”

Brown later held a closed-door meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, during which the two pledged to expand trade between California and China with an emphasis on green technologies that could help address climate change.

According to the California governor, Trump’s announcement last week that he wants to pull out of the Paris accord did not come up.

“Xi spoke in very positive terms,” Brown told reporters after the meeting. “I don’t think there’s any desire to get into verbal battles with President Trump.”

Trump’s decision drew heavy criticism within the US and internationally, including in China, which swiftly recommitted itself to the agreement forged with the administration of former US President Barack Obama. Trump argued that the Paris agreement favors emerging economies such as China’s and India’s at the expense of US workers.

Tuesday’s agreement between California and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology effectively sidestepped Trump’s move, bringing about alignment on an issue of rising global importance between the world’s second-largest economy—China—and California, whose economy is the largest of any US state and the sixth largest in the world.

Brown signed similar collaboration agreements over the past several days with leaders in two Chinese provinces, Jiangsu and Sichuan.

Like the Paris accord, the deals are all nonbinding. They call for investments in low-carbon energy sources, cooperation on climate research and the commercialization of cleaner technologies. The agreements do not establish new emission reduction goals.

California, with some of the strictest climate controls in the nation, has been at the forefront of the renewable energy sector.

China in recent years overtook the US as the world leader in renewable power development. But it has also struggled to integrate its sprawling wind and solar facilities into an electricity grid still dominated by coal-fueled power plants.

At the same time, Chinese leaders face growing public pressure at home to reduce the health-damaging smog that blankets many urban areas.

China is by far the world’s largest user of coal, which accounts for almost two-thirds of its energy use and has made it the No. 1 emitter of climate-changing greenhouse gases.


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