China, California strengthen clean energy ties after U.S. Paris pullout

Updated 2017-06-07 17:30:10 Xinhua

California is looking to expand cooperation with China in clean energy, especially in the fields of battery technology and zero-emission vehicles, said California Governor Jerry Brown Tuesday.

"China has many battery plants, and that brings down the costs of batteries. That would help California achieve the penetration of zero-emission vehicles," Brown told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing eighth Clean Energy Ministerial and the Second Mission Innovation Ministerial in Beijing.

California will work with Chinese government officials and businesses to reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels, Brown said.

It also has goals that are consistent with, or even more aggressive than the Paris agreement on climate change, and achievement of such goals require collaboration with China, he said.

"We can only meet those [goals] if the technology continues improving, and to a significant degree, various businesses and entities in China will be part of that technological innovation. And for that I'm very grateful," Brown said.

On Tuesday, Brown signed an agreement on behalf of California with China's Ministry of Science and Technology, expanding cooperation on the advancement of low-carbon, renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies such as zero-emission vehicles, energy storage, grid modernization and low-carbon urban development, according to a statement released on the governor's office website.

In the past few days, Brown also signed clean energy agreements with China's Sichuan and Jiangsu provinces, respectively, hoping to bolster regional climate partnerships with China.

Under the agreements, California and Jiangsu will expand collaboration on greenhouse gas emission and air pollution reduction programs, including emissions trading systems. The pact with Sichuan will provide incubator space and market access for California clean energy and technology companies in the province, according to the statement.

Brown's visit to China came shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement, a landmark global pact to fight climate change.

Brown said that while the decision will slow down the economic transition of the United States, he expected the country to rejoin the global effort to combat climate change.

While the United States stepped back from its commitment, China has stayed firm.

In response to Trump's decision, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China would remain committed to upholding and promoting global governance on climate change and take an active part in the multilateral process.

Besides cooperation with China in clean technology, Brown also expressed his interest in China's Belt and Road Initiative, and said California was open to cooperation opportunities in fields including water, electricity, and railways.

While recognizing China's progress in combating climate change, Brown called for more global concerted efforts on the issue.

"We have a long way to go, but we are a lot further than we would have thought five years ago, and we'll accelerate. We'll accelerate in large part because China and United States, and California in particular, are collaborating," he said.

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