California signs deal with China to combat climate change

California signs deal with China to combat climate change

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed an agreement to work with China to lower greenhouse gas emissions Tuesday, just days after President Trump pulled the United States out of an international climate change agreement.

The agreement, though nonbinding, aims to expand cooperation between China and California on renewable energy, zero-emission vehicles and low-carbon urban development, Brown’s office said. It will establish a joint working group of Chinese and Californian officials to come up with ways to work together, and to invest in programs that would cut carbon emissions.

Brown signed the pact with Wan Gang, China’s minister of science and technology, before meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“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 Tuesday. “We need a very close partnership with China, with your businesses, with your provinces, with your universities.”

Brown is in the middle of a weeklong trip to China, where he has signed similar agreements with leaders from Sichuan and Jiangsu provinces. Brown will headline the Under2 Clean Energy Forum on Wednesday in Beijing, a gathering of 170 cities, states and nations working to keep the global average temperature increase under two degrees Celsius.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the former Texas governor, is also attending the meeting in Beijing. Perry said Tuesday the Trump administration will pursue an “all of the above” energy strategy, according to the Associated Press.

Brown was sharply critical of Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, reached last year by all but two other nations. Brown, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) established the U.S. Climate Alliance to push states to adhere to the goals of the Paris agreement, even after Trump’s decision.

“The president has already said climate change is a hoax, which is the exact opposite of virtually all scientific and worldwide opinion,” Brown said. “I don’t believe fighting reality is a good strategy.”

On Monday, the three Democrats said nine other states and Puerto Rico had joined their pledge to uphold the accord. Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia all agreed to reduce carbon emissions to between 26 percent and 28 percent below 2005 levels, while meeting targets of the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era rule the Trump administration has revoked.

Seven of the nine states are led by Democratic governors. Vermont and Massachusetts are led by Republicans.

“Our administration looks forward to continued, bipartisan collaboration with other states to protect the environment, grow the economy and deliver a brighter future to the next generation,” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said in a statement.

“Growing our economy and protecting our environment by supporting clearer anymore affordable energy and transportation choices can go together,” Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) said. “If our national government isn’t willing to lead in this area, the states are prepared to step up and lead.”

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