Continuing to act presidential without actually running for the job, Governor Gavin Newsom is in China this week, discussing the state's partnership with the country on climate initiatives.
Newsom's schedule includes visits to Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai, and the provinces of Guangdong and Jiangsu. And as the Associated Press reports, "He’ll visit the first Chinese city to deploy an all-electric bus fleet, tour an offshore wind facility and see a wetlands preserve," and, "He’ll sign agreements with leaders of Chinese provinces to set mutual commitments on a host of climate goals."
On his first stop in Hong Kong Monday, Newsom and Professor Peng Gong of the University of Hong Kong announced the launch of a new climate conference hosted by the university, set to kick off next year. As Peng said, per the South China Morning Post, the China-California Bay-to-Bay climate forum will "facilitate policy and research exchange between California’s San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Bay Area of China."
Newsom isn't the first California governor to forge relations with China regarding climate issues. Both his predecessors, Governor Jerry Brown and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, made similar trips to the country. However, as the AP notes, Newsom's trip comes at a much more fraught moment, "with rising tensions between the United States and China over trade, human rights, the future of Taiwan and international conflicts."
Newsom's trip is also happening just two weeks before Chinese leaders will head to San Francisco for the big APEC summit.
As Forbes notes, China has had natural connections with California, being directly across the Pacific Ocean, and 32% of Chinese immigrants to the U.S. reside in California.
Newsom is also expected to visit a Tesla factory in China, and will be discussing how to combat xenophobia in the U.S.
David Victor, a professor and co-director of the Deep Decarbonization Initiative at the University of California, San Diego, tells the AP that state-level negotiations and discussions like this are a great avenue for climate progress with China. "The states really are where anything substantive is going to happen,” Victor tells the AP. He adds that "there’s no political constituency for opening the door and having a deeper relationship" with China at the national level.
Newsom just returned from a brief trip to Israel, where he met with victims of the attacks by Hamas — including a California woman who was shot multiple times. As the Chronicle reports, Newsom said he was shown a video in which a person was beheaded by militants with a backhoe.
And he said he was hoping his administration could "help backchannel" an arrangement for the release of a hostage with Bay Area ties, Berkeley-born Hersh Goldberg-Polin. Goldberg-Polin, 23, was among the young people who attended a music festival in southern Israel that was raided by Hamas, and he was kidnapped. His parents later learned that his arm had been blown by a grenade from the elbow down.
"They don’t know if their son is alive," Newsom said of the young man's parents.
Top image: California Gov. Gavin Newsom talks to reporters in the spin room following the FOX Business Republican Primary Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on September 27, 2023 in Simi Valley, California. Seven presidential hopefuls squared off in the second Republican primary debate as former U.S. President Donald Trump, currently facing indictments in four locations, declined again to participate. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)