California governor Newsom to visit China next week to discuss climate action

(Reuters) – California governor Gavin Newsom will visit China next week to discuss climate cooperation, promote bilateral economic development and tourism and encourage cultural exchanges, his office said in a statement on Thursday.

The week-long trip will include visits to Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu and Guangdong, the statement said.

“California and China hold the keys to solving the climate crisis,” Newsom said. “As two of the world’s largest economies, our partnership is essential to delivering climate action for our communities and beyond.”

Newsom is expected to sign a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Guangdong province on climate issues, and he will also meet with regional leaders to discuss the shift towards electric vehicles and public transport. He will also sign additional MOUs in Beijing aimed at advancing climate cooperation between the two sides.

California has played a major role in maintaining climate ties between China and the United States, the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas emitters.

During the presidency of Donald Trump, who pulled the United States out of the 2015 Paris agreement and all but shut down climate talks, leaders in California continued to meet with Chinese counterparts, including climate envoy Xie Zhenhua.

In 2019, California also set up the California-China Climate Institute, led by former governor Jerry Brown and partnered with Beijing’s Tsinghua University, to conduct joint research on climate policies and solutions.

Newsom also signed an MOU with China’s environment ministry last year to strengthen cooperation.

China and the United States relaunched top-level bilateral climate talks earlier this year after a hiatus triggered by the visit of former House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, the democratically governed island that China claims.

China climate envoy Xie and his U.S. counterpart John Kerry met in Beijing in July and have held several rounds of talks since in a bid to map out areas of agreement ahead of the COP28 climate talks in Dubai starting at the end of November.

(Reporting by David Stanway in Singapore; Editing by Christopher Cushing)