Just days after California Governor Jerry Brown ended his week-long California-China Climate Mission, the Governor signed and issued a joint statement on climate cooperation between the state and Germany.
Meeting in San Francisco, California Governor Jerry Brown met with German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Barbara Hendricks, to solidify existing cooperation between the two governments and further California’s global leadership on climate change. This comes on the heels of not only Governor Brown’s dismissal of US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, but also a week-long trip to China where Governor Brown signed several agreements with states and the Chinese Government to strengthen ties and boost cooperation on the development of green technology.
“Donald Trump has absolutely chosen the wrong course,” Governor Brown said in response to Trump’s decision earlier this month. “Trump is AWOL but California is on the field, ready for battle.” Meanwhile, in China, Governor Brown said that “California is the leading economic state in America and we are also the pioneering state on clean technology, cap and trade, electric vehicles and batteries, but we can’t do it alone.”
So it is no surprise, especially in the wake of the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, that California has solidified its ties with Germany. In the Joint Statement on Climate Action signed between Governor Brown and Minister Hendricks (PDF), the two note that “The withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement underscores the important role that non-state actors, and particularly subnational actors, play in achieving the overall objective and goals of that Agreement.”
The two governments already have a strong record of working together on climate action, including the creation of the Under2 Coalition (created in 2015 by California and the German state of Baden-Württemberg) that now includes 175 jurisdictions across six continents which collectively represent 35 countries, 1.2 billion people, and $28.8 trillion in GDP.
“China and Germany — two of the most powerful countries in the world — are working with California and with other states to deal with climate change,” said Governor Brown. “The current withdrawal from the Paris Accord by the Washington administration is being overcome and countermanded by people throughout the whole world.”
“The United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement underscores the significance of subnational actors in particular in our joint efforts to achieve the overall objective and goals,” added Minister Hendricks. “Together with California, Germany will provide strong leadership for the Under2 Coalition in the COP23 in Bonn this November.”
California, acting as the sixth largest economy in the world, has long taken the mantle of leadership away from the US Government — both Democratic and Republican — and led the way for other US states and cities. California is by no means the only US state or city to act on climate change, or on Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the country from the Paris accords. The day after Trump’s announcement, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto issued an Executive Order committing the city to the Paris Climate Accords, but California definitely sets the tone for many to follow. For example, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was one of the co-founders of the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, or the Climate Mayors, which immediately took a stance against Trump’s Paris accords withdrawal. In fact, within days of Trump’s grandiose announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, the number of Climate Mayors skyrocketed from 61 pre-announcement, to 211.
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