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California and China team up on clean technology in defiance of US withdrawal from Paris Agreement

California has announced it will work with China to double down on “climate-positive” opportunities in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s decision last week to pull the country out of the Paris Agreement.

It said it would cooperate with China on clean technology and emissions trading in addition to other measures in a bid to fill the gap left after withdrawing from the agreement.

The government of California and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology would work together on developing and commercialising know-how on carbon capture and storage, clean energy, as well as advanced information technology that could help cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to a Tuesday statement.

President Trump announced last week that he would pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, a move branded as “insane” by California governor Jerry Brown (pictured above), who is visiting China this week. 

He argued that withdrawing from the treaty would stave off an economic crisis and protect American jobs despite widespread criticism, even from bodies such as the World Coal Association.

The decision to withdraw was seen to have handed the political and diplomatic initiative to China, which has continued to pledge its unqualified support for the Paris accord.

Brown told reporters on the sidelines of a clean energy forum in Beijing on Tuesday that the failure of leadership from the United States was “only temporary” and said science and the market would be required to get past it.

In an earlier speech, Brown criticised those still “resisting reality”.

“The world is not doing enough,” he said. “We are on the road to a very negative and disastrous future unless we increase the tempo of change.”

Joint pledges by China and the United States ahead of the Paris talks helped create the momentum required to secure a global agreement, and included a promise by China to establish a nationwide emissions trading exchange by this year.

Brown said last week that he would discuss linking China’s carbon trading platforms with California’s, the biggest in the United States.

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