Striking a posture of defiance against US President Donald Trump, the governor of the state of California has used a visit to China to pledge his commitment to the Paris Accord on climate change and to sign a cooperation deal with China on developing low-carbon cities and green technology.
The five-day visit by Jerry Brown, a Democrat, came just days after Trump declared on 1 June that the US would pull out of the Paris Accord, which broadly commits 195 countries to try and keep the global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
"The world, through the Paris Accord, has made the commitment to make the turn to a decarbonised future. Good, we’re for that," Brown said in a speech closing out his trip at Tsinghua University in Beijing on 8 June.
"Now, maybe some people in Washington aren’t so sure about that, but California is sure. We believe in the Paris Accord and we are going to stick to our commitments. And we’re going to persuade other states and do everything we can to get the whole United States of America fully supporting all the efforts needed to decarbonise America’s economy – and, in fact, the world’s economy."
Two days earlier Brown met with China’s President Xi Jinping for 45 minutes and signed an agreement with China’s Minister of Science and Technology to deepen cooperation on low-carbon urban development and green technology.
The memorandum of understanding committed the two parties to set up the California-China Clean Technology Partnership to promote zero emission vehicles, low-carbon cities, and clean energy technologies such as solar, wind, energy storage and new-style grids.
Leader of a state judged to be the sixth largest economy in the world, Brown has become a figurehead in in the "Under2 Coalition", an international pact among cities, states and countries committed to honouring the Paris Accord.
The coalition claims to include 175 jurisdictions on six continents collectively representing more than 35 countries, 1.2 billion people and $28.8 trillion GDP. Eighteen US jurisdictions have joined the coalition, representing 89 million people and 28 percent of the US population, according to Brown’s office.
Image: California Governor Jerry Brown, left, with China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing on 6 June 2017 (Office of the Governor of California)