California and Norway Commit to Climate Partnership

California and Norway Commit to Climate Partnership

Norway's Minister of Trade Jan Christian Vestre and Gov. Gavin Newsom answer questions after signing a climate agreement in Larkspur, Calif., on April 16, 2024. (Travis Gillmore/The Epoch Times)

Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

4/17/2024

Updated: 4/17/2024

LARKSPUR, Calif.—With utility prices skyrocketing and regulators blaming the state’s climate agenda for increasing rates, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an agreement with Norway to further collaborate on shared climate goals.
The governor acknowledged the challenge of meeting lofty climate objectives while easing the burden on ratepayers.
“We want to continue our efforts in energy efficiency, and we want to continue to advance our transition,” Mr. Newsom told The Epoch Times. “But we have to be more mindful, I think, than we even have in the past on the stacking of costs at a precious and important time.”
He said the state is looking to find ways to offset costs to Californians.
“We’re trying to stress test other environmental initiatives, community solar, in that respect,” Mr. Newsom said. “We’re deeply mindful, and I’m deeply focused on it.”
A delegation from the Scandinavian nation—including Crown Prince Haakon and Minister of Trade Jan Christian Vestre—met with the governor April 16 at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal in the North Bay County of Marin to sign a memorandum of understanding between the two governments.
While he did not offer remarks at the event, Crown Prince Haakon is familiar with the Bay Area, having graduated in 1999 from the University of Berkeley with an undergraduate degree in political science.
According to the newly signed document, the goal of the partnership is to “strengthen and coordinate efforts” and to promote development and innovation through an increased sharing of information and technologies.
Business leaders from California and Norway joined the group to discuss opportunities and potential partnerships.
“[Such arrangements] exemplify the depth of our trade and commercial ties and our shared commitment to spurring innovation,” Dee Dee Myers, senior adviser to the governor and director of the state’s Office of Business and Economic Development, said during opening remarks. “The kind of innovation, technological development, and private investment that is going to continue to change the world and to achieve the goals that are so dear to both of us.”
Representing the Norwegian delegation, the minister of trade noted the deep ties between the two governments and highlighted his country’s efforts to develop zero-emission ferries while commending California’s role in advancing high level technologies.
“Norway’s excellent relations with the U.S., and particularly with California, go way back,” Mr. Vestre said. “But today we are taking it a step further, teaming up to accelerate the pace of the green transition.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks before signing a climate agreement with Norway in Larkspur, Calif., on April 16, 2024. (Travis Gillmore/The Epoch Times)

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks before signing a climate agreement with Norway in Larkspur, Calif., on April 16, 2024. (Travis Gillmore/The Epoch Times)

He said the power of unification will benefit both parties and the world.
“This [agreement] will formalize our cooperation in several areas where we share the same goals, where our policies and ambitions for net-zero solutions overlap and where our industries and expertise—our opportunities and needs—complement each other,” Mr. Vestre said. “We must use the tools available, and come up with new, efficient tools, as well, and cooperation is perhaps the most powerful, the strongest tool we have.”
Noting the rapid pace of advancement in recent years, he said the future is bright, with the best yet to come.
“A few years ago, a lot of the things we are discussing now, and a lot of the things in the [agreement] were science fiction,” Mr. Vestre said. “It’s not anymore.”
One focus of the new agreement is the development of offshore wind projects, with Norway looking to allocate 30 gigawatts (GW) of such power by 2040 while California has a stated goal of between two and five GW by 2030 and 25 GW by 2045. One GW can power about 750,000 homes for one year.
The governor said the partnership will prove successful because of a commitment to sharing knowledge—noting that California thrives because of its depth of intellectual capital.
“We love to say about California that the future happens here first,” Mr. Newsom said. “We are America’s coming attraction.”
With a goal of inspiring change across the nation and the world, he said the state will continue its aspirational charge despite critics suggesting the climate agenda is potentially detrimental to the economy.
“We are proud of that leadership, and we will not cede that,” Mr. Newsom said. “Regardless of the prevailing winds nationally, California is firm in advancing its environmental strategies and environmental leadership.”
The new agreement can foster more creativity and accelerate technological developments by bringing together political and business leaders from across the world, he said.
“This memorandum of understanding advances the environmental stewardship, but this joint statement advances that core fundamental principle of pluralism,” Mr. Newsom said. “We are a universal state; we practice pluralism.”
Similar recent agreements include one earlier this year with Sweden, six with China and one with Australia in 2023, and more with Canada, New Zealand, Japan and the Netherlands in 2022. Additionally, Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia agreed to recommit the region to shared climate goals in 2022.
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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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