Former California Gov. Jerry Brown announced Monday the launch of a climate-focused think tank in partnership with China’s top climate official, Xie Zhenhua.
The California-China Climate Institute will promote climate policy while Trump downplays the risks, Brown told Politico ahead of the announcement. It will be housed at Berkeley’s School of Law and College of Natural Resources.
Establishing the institute creates a type of “holding action in the face of Trump’s continued assault, but also a catalytic function of stimulation,” the former Democratic governor and virulent Trump critic said. “We’re not defunct yet, but we’re going to create some ideas that I’m hoping the practical men will be influenced by.”
Brown met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in 2017, as well as with Xie and other academics at China’s Tsinghua University. He told reporters that the institute will allow the United States to keep the lines of communication open with China, the world’s largest polluter and second largest economy.
China promised to “peak” emissions around 2030, decrease carbon dioxide emissions per unit of economic output and use more green energy. U.S. emissions hit a near-seven decade low in 2017, with the U.S. power sector cutting emissions by roughly 28 percent since 2005, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency.
“He thinks of himself as kind of a potentate, and if the auto companies don’t follow the whim of the potentate, they can be tortured by the forces of justice,” Brown said of Trump’s decision to target car companies. “So that’s an abuse of power in addition to being a bad idea.”(RELATED: The Global Climate Summit Is Over. Here’s What They Agreed To Do)
Brown’s announcement comes a day after the president made a surprise appearance at the UN’s meeting on climate change Monday morning, before leaving to hold his own meeting on religious freedom, although he only stayed for about 10 minutes to hear Indian Prime Minister Modi and German Chancellor Merkel speak.
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