California governor Newsom heads to China for climate-focused meetings

By Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The governor of California – the largest U.S. state economy and one of the top economies in the world – will travel to China next week for meetings with national and provincial leaders to discuss climate action and other key partnerships.

Gavin Newsom’s trip comes after a series of China visits by top Biden administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, special envoy on climate John Kerry and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

The week long visit will include stops in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, as well as Guandong and Jiangsu provinces, where he is expected to sign memoranda of understanding to cooperate on climate initiatives.

“As two of the world’s largest economies, our partnership is essential to delivering climate action for our communities and beyond,” Newsom said in a statement on Wednesday.

Newsom has been building up a national profile as a voice for stringent climate action, most recently gaining applause at the United Nation’s Climate Ambition Summit last month for a speech railing against oil companies’ climate policy obstruction.

California has gained international attention for two recent policies that could have implications for global trading partners: a ban on the sale of new gas engine vehicles by 2035 and strict climate disclosure rules for companies operating in California.

Newsom will discuss clean energy transition and methane reduction in Beijing. These were central topics discussed between Kerry and his counterparts during his July visit.

China, the world’s largest methane emitter, has yet to release details of its planned methane reduction strategy despite encouragement from Kerry’s team to do so.

The governor also plans to tour Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory, which produces the largest number of electric vehicles in the world.

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici, editing by Deborah Kyvrikosaios)