California Governor Gavin Newsom Highlights Lessons from China in Climate Cooperation

California Governor Gavin Newsom emphasized the importance of international collaboration and the valuable lessons California can learn from China during a phone call with local news outlets this week. His remarks came following a week-long tour to China, the world’s second-largest economy.

In a debrief on his recent trip to China, Newsom noted the significant changes that have transpired in the country since his first visit nearly two decades ago when he served as the Mayor of San Francisco, as reported by CalMatters, a nonpartisan and nonprofit news organization based in the state.

During the phone call, Newsom expressed his astonishment at the scale and scope of China’s efforts to combat climate change and its commitment to renewable energy. He mentioned that during his exchanges with Chinese companies and officials, he found himself asking more questions than answering them.

“What is remarkable is the scale and scope of what you’re seeing in China,” Newsom stated. “The export of ideas is shifting a bit now.”

He shared an anecdote from his delegation’s tour of a wind turbine factory in China’s Jiangsu province, where the owner of the facility showed him a video of the Altamont Pass wind farm in Northern California, one of the earliest wind farms in the United States. According to Newsom, the Chinese businessman was inspired by the Altamont Pass wind farm to enter the turbine business, illustrating California’s global leadership in renewable energy and its longstanding partnership with China to combat climate change.

Moreover, Newsom emphasized that China had surged ahead of the world in areas such as offshore wind energy and electric vehicle adoption, which are crucial to California’s ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades.

Newsom’s office released a statement outlining the three primary objectives of his trip to China: advancing climate action and cooperation, promoting economic development and tourism, and strengthening cultural ties. During his visit, California signed five Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the provinces of Guangdong and Jiangsu, and the municipalities of Beijing and Shanghai. These MOUs are set to advance California and China’s collaborative efforts on climate policy and pave the way for national discussions and partnerships.

In addition to his focus on offshore wind energy and electric vehicles, Newsom expressed his eagerness to learn from China’s advancements in regenerative and sustainable agriculture, endangered species protection, and wetlands preservation. These lessons will be essential as California strives to preserve at least 30 percent of its land and coastal waters by 2030, in alignment with international biodiversity conservation efforts.

Newsom pledged that California would continue its efforts to enhance cooperation with China to address the challenges posed by climate change. He emphasized that neither California nor the United States could tackle the climate crisis alone and stressed the importance of partnerships with China and the global community.

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