California defies Trump with Chinese tech pact

ShutterstockDan Holm
California Gov. Jerry Brown addresses an audience in Hollywood, California, in 2014.

California has signed an agreement to work more closely with China on accelerating the deployment of clean technologies and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, just days after President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the international Paris Agreement.

The state's governor, Jerry Brown, met Tuesday with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing to discuss deeper U.S.-China cooperation on developments such as clean energy, carbon capture and storage, and environmental protection.

The two administrations signed a non-binding pact in support of their joint green goals, offering further evidence that some U.S. states intend to accelerate decarbonization efforts despite the White House's opposition to climate policies.

Specifically, the agreement expands cooperation on the advancement of low-carbon, renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies such as zero-emission vehicles, energy storage, grid modernization and low-carbon urban development.

"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 during the meeting. "I have proposed that California will cut its greenhouse gases 40 percent below 1990 levels and that we'll have 50 percent of our electricity from renewables. To keep that goal, we need a very close partnership with China, with your businesses, with your provinces, with your universities."

Prior to the meeting, Brown also told Reuters he planned to discuss the potential for linking California's carbon trading market with China's emerging carbon market.

A host of U.S. states, cities and businesses have sought to step up their commitment to climate action in the wake of Trump's announcement that the United States will quit the Paris Agreement, although the U.S. Constitution prohibits individual states from joining formal international treaties.

David Ige, governor of Hawaii, signed two bills into law this week that align the state with the "commitments and goals" of the Paris Agreement. The laws enacted will "expand strategies and mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide," according to ABC News.

Meanwhile, China quickly has sought to fill the climate leadership role left by the United States since Trump's announcement, and last week established a new alliance with the EU aimed at accelerating the two parties' efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

The latest developments came as Politico reported Trump had floated the idea of meeting some of the cost of his controversial Mexican border walls by installed solar panels.

This story first appeared on: