News

Gov. Newsom Embarrasses California in Meeting Dictator Xi in China

Gov. Newsom Embarrasses California in Meeting Dictator Xi in China

Governor of California Gavin Newsom attends a press conference in Beijing on Oct. 25, 2023. (Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images)

John Seiler

John Seiler

10/27/2023

Updated: 10/27/2023

Commentary
The highlight of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s China junket this week was his meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. According to a press release by Mr. Newsom’s office, “Governor Newsom was the first governor to be in China in more than four years, and the first to meet with Mr. Xi since former Governor Brown in 2017.”
The meeting with Mr. Xi produced a document with a Soviet-sounding title, “Declaration of Enhanced Subnational Climate Action and Cooperation Between the State of California and the People’s Republic of China.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (L) meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct 25, 2023. (Courtesy of the Office of the Governor of California)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (L) meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct 25, 2023. (Courtesy of the Office of the Governor of California)

But it all was a farce. As I noted in my report on the first two days of the trip, “Newsom Junket Appeases Communist China.” This is a photo op to advance Mr. Newsom’s presidential ambitions.
The readout added: “Throughout his meetings, Governor Newsom discussed how California and China can continue working together to advance climate action, promote economic development and tourism, and strengthen cultural ties. The Governor reiterated California’s commitment to serving as a reliable partner on the climate crisis, and how critical China remains in the world’s efforts to reduce pollution. He emphasized the continued need for open lines of communication and extended California’s warm welcome for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco next month.”
“Warm welcome”—as in global warming?

What About the Coal?

The governor’s press release from the meeting actually did bring up China’s huge use of coal, which I have covered many times in The Epoch Times, as in “China Plays Newsom on Climate Accord” from August.
According to the release: “China accounts for almost a third of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions and approximately half of that comes from their power sector—the country still adds new coal plants every year. The Governor shared learnings from California’s energy transition and improved grid reliability and encouraged officials to deploy battery storage technology. Yesterday, Governor Newsom announced that since 2019, California has increased its battery storage resources by 757% from 770 megawatts (MW) to 6,600 MWs today and is on track to have 8,500 MWs of storage online by the end of the year.”
Note: Nothing on getting China to stop building coal plants.
Battery storage boxes stand adjacent to the AES Alamitos Battery Energy Storage System in Long Beach, Calif., on Sept. 16, 2022. (Patrick T Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

Battery storage boxes stand adjacent to the AES Alamitos Battery Energy Storage System in Long Beach, Calif., on Sept. 16, 2022. (Patrick T Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

But guess where California’s eco-batteries come from? A July 19, 2023 report by Morgan Stanley found: “The US currently imports 90% of its battery volumes from China, and we forecast domestic additions of 400GWh with respect to integrated cell production capacity reducing dependence by 80% across the value chain. While the US IRA [Inflation Recovery Act] has pledged US$31bn in subsidies to localise the value chain, our bottom-up estimate of component capacity indicates the US will remain dependent on China and Asia for separator capacity, as investment in this area has been lacking. Overall we estimate only 150GWh (20%) of cell capacity will be fully integrated with 750GWh (85%) of capacity supported by key domestic cathode material processing.”

Guangzhou Coal

According to the announcement from Mr. Newsom’s office, he went to the province of Guangzhou, “[W]here he visited the world’s first zero-emission city bus fleet and California signed a new climate partnership with the Guangdong Province.”
So, is Guangzhou a model of eco-cleanness? No. In May, Zhang Xiaoli of China Dialogue reported: “China’s biggest provincial economy looks to be giving coal power the green light. Data gathered by the author indicates that last year 46.1 gigawatts of coal power capacity was in development in Guangdong. That’s more than in any other province and is roughly equivalent to the existing coal power capacity of South Africa, Indonesia or Germany.
“Guangdong has sat at the top of the provincial GDP rankings for 34 years—reaching 12 trillion yuan (US$1.74 trillion) last year. As a national manufacturing centre, it is also out in front in terms of power consumption. Annual per-head consumption is over 6 megawatt-hours, ranking alongside developed nations such as Germany. Most of that power comes from coal, but is also reliant on large electricity imports from other provinces.”

Communist China’s Greatest Salesman

Do you get the sense carbon-zero in California means China is going to run everything? Electric cars, electric buses, storage batteries—all made in China, or in America by Chinese companies.
So, here’s the plan, Californians. Mr. Newsom banned new gas-powered cars starting in 2035. So you’ll have to buy a $160,000 car like the one he tested in Shenzen, made by giant BYD, which is backed by the Chinese Communist Party. Or take the bus. And BYD makes the electric buses, too, at its plant in Lancaster, California.
The trip did make Mr. Newsom look presidential, meeting Mr. Xi the way President Richard Nixon did Mao Zedong in 1972. But back then, the United States was by far the greater power whose technology China craved, and whose friendship China needed at the time of the Sino-Soviet split.
Chinese communist leader Chairman Mao Zedong (L) greets US President Richard Nixon, at his house in Beijing on Feb. 21, 1972. (AFP via Getty Images)

Chinese communist leader Chairman Mao Zedong (L) greets US President Richard Nixon, at his house in Beijing on Feb. 21, 1972. (AFP via Getty Images)

Today, it’s post-Soviet Russia that has moved close to post-Maoist, but still communist, China. And China now is a massive technological rival to the United States. So it was unseemly for Mr. Newsom to beg for Chinese green technology—hypocritically made in plants powered by coal energy.
Maybe it won’t matter to Mr. Newsom’s presidential plans, as the mainstream media—unlike The Epoch Times—will not amplify that hypocrisy. But his trip showed Mr. Newsom to be communist China’s greatest salesman.
Copy
facebooktwitterlinkedintelegram
John Seiler

John Seiler

Author

John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. Mr. Seiler has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com and his email is writejohnseiler@gmail.com

Author's Selected Articles
California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.