Continuing in his mission to combat climate change after leaving political office, onetime presidential candidate and former California governor Jerry Brown is making good on a promise he made while he was still governor.
During President Trump's first six months in office, in June 2017, Brown signed a pact with China's Ministry of Science and Technology to cooperate on climate research and invest in low-carbon energy sources — a situation in which California was acting as its own nation-state, making its own climate deals with one of the globe's biggest economic forces. As Politico reports Monday, Brown just announced a joint California-China Climate Institute in partnership with China's top climate official, Xie Zhenhua, which will operate as a think tank out of UC Berkeley.
Brown has been openly criticizing Trump on Twitter in his moves to undermine California's car emissions and fuel-efficiency standards, despite the fact that carmakers have all been willing to make cars that meet them. Brown referred to Trump's recent move to nullify the state's rules as "bureaucratic thuggery" and "unforgivable." Last week, Brown tweeted at Trump, "your toxic tweets are insufferable, but your pillaging of our clean air is criminal."
Shocking! Trump’s police threaten carmakers for following California’s clean air law. This smacks of Stalinism and bureaucratic thuggery at its worst.— Jerry Brown (@JerryBrownGov) September 6, 2019
Congress, stop this perversion of America’s legal system.https://t.co/rJBDY8Voz4
Really, Donald? We need to turn the lights out on this guy pronto!https://t.co/2Gtv5BikGp— Jerry Brown (@JerryBrownGov) September 4, 2019
"The climate threat doesn’t respect borders and it doesn’t pause for politics. Now is the time for action from leaders everywhere — for humanity and our common future," Brown said in a statement Monday about the think tank. "With this Institute, California and China are pushing forward together."
Speaking to Politico, Brown further added, "We’re totally committed to the kinds of open communication that are closing down virtually everywhere else. California, the University of California, China and Beijing together are not chopped liver. We’re somebody. And we’re going to make something happen."
Xie Zhenhua also issued a statement on the project, saying, "Climate change is a common threat faced by the human society. I deeply appreciate Governor Brown’s great contribution and leadership to addressing climate change during his tenure as governor. I hope the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development of Tsinghua University can continue deep collaboration with Governor Brown’s team."
Brown became a visiting professor at UC Berkeley earlier this year, thus the reason to house this new institute there, at the School of Law and College of Natural Resources.
"Our faculty and researchers each day take on the peril of our changing climate and seek to develop new technologies and policies that will reduce greenhouse gasses across continents," says UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ. "This institute will play a key role in spreading that work around the world."
Many of the current slate of Democratic candidates for the presidency have brought up the fact that the U.S. alone can not adequately address climate action without cooperation from China, which has long been seen as one of the planet's biggest polluters.
At the annual Climate Week events at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Governor Gavin Newsom praised Brown's efforts, saying, "The leadership emanating out of California is also a point of pride."
Previously: California Cuts Its Own Climate Deals With China
Photo: Jay Godwin/Wikimedia