Governor Brown heading to China to promote climate policies

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, May 16, 2017

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is going to China early next month to drum up support for climate and clean energy policies as well as general trade cooperation.

The weeklong trip will see Brown attend an international clean energy conference in Beijing, the Clean Energy Ministerial, and visit two other economic powerhouses: Chengdu, in the province of Sichuan, and Nanjing, in Jiangsu province.

Brown will also host another clean energy forum in Beijing under the auspices of his Under2 Coalition, a group of governments nonbindingly committed to reducing emissions to under 2 tons per capita by 2050.

Both Sichuan and Jiangsu provinces are members of Brown’s coalition, which has been steadily expanding and now includes 170 jurisdictions encompassing more than 1 billion people.

Brown has a history of meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his subordinates. He met with Xi first in 2012, then again in 2013 and 2015, all in the United States. In 2013, he signed an agreement with China’s National Development and Reform Commission to share information on low-carbon policies, including emissions-trading programs. The agreement was renewed in 2015.

California climate policy experts have been working with China for some time now and are expecting Xi to follow through on his Obama-era pledge to launch a carbon market.

“We should expect to see more action this year,” said Chris Busch, research director with advisory firm Energy Innovation, who was in Beijing in March with Stanford University economist Larry Goulder. “They’re looking at this as an opportunity for international leadership. They are seizing the role of international climate superpower, picking up a ball that the U.S. is dropping, earning goodwill and prestige in the process.”