California and China strengthen partnership on climate change

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California and China are strengthening their existing relationship on low carbon development. Governor Brown joined China’s top climate official, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua, to sign a first-of-its-kind agreement on climate change between the NDRC and a subnational entity. The NDRC oversees China’s efforts to address climate change and much of the government’s economic strategy.

The memorandum of understanding between the two entities will build on more than a year and a half of significant diplomatic and business exchanges between California and China, including the Governor’s Trade and Investment Mission to China, the opening of the California-China Office of Trade and Investment in Shanghai and a meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping.

Together, participants are focusing on mitigating carbon emissions, controlling greenhouse gasses, and developing low carbon technology. They will also form a task force to ensure that development goes smoothly.

The MOU will remain in effect for two years and is notable given the size of California’s economy and that government’s work on climate change efforts where others at the federal level have failed. The agreement could serve as a model for other states in terms of cross-jurisdictional collaboration and movement on climate change.

“The fact that the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China is entering into an agreement with one of the fifty states reflects the important position of California not only in the economy, but in science, technology and climate change initiatives,” said Governor Brown in a statement. “I see the partnership between China, between provinces in China, and the state of California as a catalyst and as a lever to change policies in the United States and ultimately change policies throughout the world.”