Chinese president Xi, California governor pledge action on climate change

The leaders discussed the environment just five days after the Trump administration said the U.S. will leave the 2015 Paris agreement.
By Doug G. Ware  |  June 6, 2017 at 5:34 PM
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June 6 (UPI) -- California Gov. Jerry Brown met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Tuesday, where the two leaders discussed their forward-looking agenda against climate change in light of President Donald Trump's new pledge to withdraw from an international pact.

Brown met Xi for nearly an hour on Tuesday -- day three of his 10-day tour of China, during which the governor hopes to develop ideas to fight what he called "the foremost issue of our time."

"We can't do it alone," Brown said during the meeting. "I have proposed that California will cut its greenhouse gases 40 percent below 1990 levels and that we will have 50 percent of our electricity from renewables."

Brown said he and Xi discussed environment-friendly innovations, ways to advance green technologies and how they factor into international trade.

"We need a very close partnership with China -- with your businesses, with your provinces, with your universities," he told Xi.

"Since the two countries established diplomatic ties, China-U.S. relations have weathered various tests and always moved forward," Xi said Tuesday.

China, the country with the world's largest carbon footprint, was among nearly 200 nations to sign the landmark Paris climate change agreement -- a 2015 global cooperative to establish significant emissions reductions and develop alternative strategies to mitigate global warming. The United States, under President Barack Obama's ambitious climate change agenda, spearheaded the measure -- but Trump controversially announced last week that he intends to withdraw from the accord, citing economic concerns.

Brown has been highly critical of Trump's decision to abandon the agreement.

"Donald Trump has absolutely chosen the wrong course," he said in a statement Thursday. "He's wrong on the facts ... he's wrong on the science. Totally wrong."

Tuesday's meeting indicates that China views California, one of the United States' most environmentally conscious states, as a valuable ally in the matter. Brown and Xi have discussed climate change on multiple previous occasions, and at Tuesday's meet agreed to "continue working to expand bilateral cooperation between California and China."

Earlier, Brown met with Chinese science and tech minister Wan Gang and inked an agreement that builds on subnational pacts reached this week between Beijing and Sichuan and Jiangsu provinces. The deal expands cooperation and deepens the China-California environmental partnership.

"The objective ... is to support the participants in advancing innovation and development of, and investment in, low-carbon energy resources and clean technologies," the five-year agreement states.

Brown also spoke at the Clean Air Ministerial in Beijing on Tuesday, which was the busiest day of his trip. He will attend three events in the Chinese capital Wednesday, and will deliver keynote remarks at Tsinghua University on Thursday before returning to California.

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