California Gov. Newsom Plans Climate Collaboration Trip to China

California Gov. Newsom Plans Climate Collaboration Trip to China

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to reporters during a visit to a water treatment plant in Antioch, Calif., on Aug. 11, 2022. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

9/13/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

Following a visit from a delegation of Chinese officials last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is headed to China in October to strengthen a climate partnership, he stated during an interview with Politico on Sept. 12.
“We get it in the state of California, but we’re responsible now to not just understand the impacts, but also to address the solutions,” he said in the interview. “That’s why I’ll be going to China in a few weeks. To build on the work we’ve done in China on climate, and I don’t think there’s anything more essential.”
Declaring the issue a matter that’s threatening humanity, Mr. Newsom stressed the importance of acting with international partners.
“The importance, the imperative of maintaining a relationship on climate with China is about the fate and future of the planet,” he told Politico. “It’s too important. It’s another example where California needs to lead, and I think that steady leadership matters.”
Noting the origins of historic legislation in the Golden State, including the Air Resources Act signed by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1967 to regulate tailpipe emissions—the nation’s first such law—Mr. Newsom stressed the need for California to work together with other partners.
“We forged a bipartisan alliance of governors around the nation,” he said. “And we’re working with sub-nationals around the globe to sign agreements, so that we could be the tent pole—so that we can address the world’s anxiety.”
The governor noted that such work follows on the progress made by Gov. Jerry Brown—who led efforts to establish similar agreements with local and regional governments in 2015.
Mr. Brown traveled to China and met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in 2017 to discuss climate partnerships after then-President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accords.
Officials from Hainan Province—the smallest in geographic terms and the southernmost in China—led by Vice Gov. Chen Huaiyu, joined Mr. Newsom for a ceremony on Aug. 3 to sign a memorandum of understanding regarding shared goals to reduce carbon and regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
Delegates from California and China's Hainan Province sign an international climate agreement in Sacramento, Calif., on Aug. 3, 2023. (Courtesy of Office of Governor Gavin Newsom)

Delegates from California and China's Hainan Province sign an international climate agreement in Sacramento, Calif., on Aug. 3, 2023. (Courtesy of Office of Governor Gavin Newsom)

“We’re glad to partner with California as we both take meaningful steps to fight the global climate crisis,” Mr. Chen said in a joint statement with the governor on Aug. 3. “We share the desire to raise the bar for climate solutions like cleaning our air, advancing zero-emission vehicles, and embracing clean energy.”
California has regional agreements with Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, and similar international memorandums were signed by delegates from California with Canada, New Zealand, and Japan in 2022.
When asked if the upcoming trip would include a meeting with Mr. Xi, Mr. Newsom said that he was unsure and laughed off the remark.
“That remains to be determined. We’re doing subnational work in the absence of any other leadership,” he said during the 45-minute-long interview. “We’ve got a lot of work that we’ll be doing, and we’ve already got an amazing agenda.”
Mr. Newsom acknowledged that some form of communication took place with the White House about the trip; he also rattled off a long list of statistics that he said are proof of the Biden administration’s success.
“You better believe I coordinated with the White House,” he said.
Officials from within the Biden administration also recently traveled to China with agendas related to climate change.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and John Kerry, the special presidential envoy for climate, both visited China in July, although no climate agreements were reached.
While collaborative discussions have taken place in the past, all communication with the regime in Beijing ceased after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) visited Taiwan in August 2022, at a time when military activity around the area was creating political tension. Talks resumed in November 2022.
Mr. Newsom stressed the need for open dialogue and productive communication with China.
“Divorce is not an option,” he said.
President Joe Biden (L) and California Gov. Gavin Newsom listen to a speaker as the president waits to deliver remarks on his administration's environmental efforts at the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center and Preserve in Palo Alto, Calif., on June 19, 2023. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden (L) and California Gov. Gavin Newsom listen to a speaker as the president waits to deliver remarks on his administration's environmental efforts at the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center and Preserve in Palo Alto, Calif., on June 19, 2023. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

Members of Mr. Newsom’s administration, including climate adviser Lauren Sanchez, Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, and California Air Resources Board Chair Liane Randolph, made a five-day trip to China at the end of August to collaborate on policy and technological advances.
The group met with Xie Zhenhua, China’s climate envoy, to further develop agreements established through diplomatic ties in 2013 that led to the 2019 formation of the California–China Climate Institute, a think tank created in partnership with the University of California–Berkeley.
In response to opening remarks made by the moderator declaring Sacramento a “global capital,” Mr. Newsom agreed, pointing to the vast innovation and economic activity across the state, which he suggested dictate the need to act as a global leader, albeit with cooperation from others.
“We play an outsized role as soon-to-be the fourth-largest economy in the world,” he said. “However, we can’t do it alone.”
A spokesperson for the governor’s office declined to comment to The Epoch Times.
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Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

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Travis Gillmore is an avid reader and journalism connoisseur based in California covering finance, politics, the State Capitol, and breaking news for The Epoch Times.

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