Gov. Jerry Brown landed in China on Saturday to seek a broader role in shaping the world’s climate change policies as America retrenches.
His arrival is timely. President Trump on Thursday pulled the U.S. out of the Paris accord, a hard-fought pact negotiated by China and the U.S. under President Obama to battle global warming worldwide. China has vowed to stay in it.
Brown brought a fraction of the nearly 100 officials who accompanied him on his trip four years ago, when he rode China’s high-speed rail and set up a trade office in Shanghai. This time, his five-night mission is more focused: to reaffirm a global obligation to green growth as America’s de facto envoy on climate change.
A gritty layer of smog met Brown as he landed in Chengdu, the teaming capital city of Sichuan, a southwestern province famed for its mouth-numbing peppercorns and pandas.
He’ll travel on Monday to Nanjing in coastal Jiangsu province, which shares a sister relationship with California.
These regions, which are making strides in clean energy development, were the first two Chinese provinces to sign onto an international climate change pact Brown helped create, known as the Under2 Coalition.
The agreement includes more than 100 cities, states, provinces and countries who have committed to limit the increase in global temperatures below 2 degrees — the point when glaciers melt, seas rise and scientists warn of irrevocable consequences.
Brown also will promote clean energy investment in his meetings with regional and national officials, and attend a conference on Tuesday of global energy ministers. He’ll co-host a forum on Wednesday with Sichuan officials and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology that brings together coalition members to plot carbon-cutting efforts.
“China is moving forward in a very serious way,” he told The Times just before his departure. “And so is California.”