Photo Release: China Day 5: Governor Brown Closes California-China Climate Mission with Call to Action: “It’s Not a Time for Inertia, It’s a Time for Radical Change”


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Governor to Meet with Germany’s Top Environmental Official Tomorrow in California

BEIJING – After five days of bilateral climate meetings, agreements and events in Chengdu, Nanjing and Beijing, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today closed out his trip to China with keynote remarks – and a call to action on climate – at Tsinghua University and a meeting with the Mayor of China’s capital city, Beijing.

Governor Brown also announced that on the heels of his trip to China, he will meet with Germany’s Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Barbara Hendricks, to discuss further bilateral partnership and action on climate change tomorrow in San Francisco.

“I came here to China not because I think we’re doing everything we can, but because I felt that China is a very important ally in the fight to combat climate change and that we have to do everything in our power,” said Governor Brown in his remarks at Tsinghua University. “This is not a time for complacency. It’s not a time for inertia. It’s a time for radical change in how we power the modern economy.”

After delivering remarks, Governor Brown and China’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, Xie Zhenhua, hosted a dialogue between more than two dozen Californian and Chinese policymakers, students and business leaders.

The Governor also announced that the state of California and Tsinghua University intend to establish a joint initiative called the U.S.-China Climate Change Institute. The Institute will focus on connecting government leaders, researchers, scientists, technical experts and students in California and China to drive climate solutions and action, particularly at the subnational level.

Earlier today, Governor Brown met with Beijing Mayor Chen Jining – who previously served as China’s Minister of Environmental Protection – to discuss local action in China and California to deploy more zero-emission vehicles, drive clean technology investment and decarbonize the economy.

Today marks the culmination of five days of talks, agreements and events in Beijing, Nanjing and Chengdu focused on strengthening California’s climate and clean energy ties with China. In addition to today’s meetings with China’s Special Envoy on Climate Change and the Mayor of Beijing, Governor Brown met with President Xi Jinping; the leaders of Sichuan, Jiangsu and Hebei provinces; and China’s Minister of Science and Technology and Minister of Commerce.

During the trip, Governor Brown also struck climate agreements with China’s national government through the Ministry of Science and Technology in Beijing, with Sichuan Province during his trip to Chengdu and with Jiangsu Province while visiting Nanjing. In addition, the California Energy Commission signed a clean technology pact with Haidian District and the Regents of the University of California and Tsinghua Holdings, a subsidiary of Tsinghua University, announced a partnership to develop the California-China Clean Technology Funds.

Additionally, Governor Brown convened dozens of regional and business leaders from around the world for the Under2 Clean Energy Forum, where former United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres was named Global Ambassador for the Under2 Coalition and five new coalition members were announced. The Governor also participated in events associated with the Clean Energy Ministerial, an annual meeting of national energy ministers and other high-level delegates from nearly two dozen countries.

Governor Brown’s complete remarks at Tsinghua University are below:

Thank you very much. I appreciate the University for hosting this important dialogue, and I do think I will keep my comments brief so that we can have an actual dialogue with so many of the students and others that are here. I think we know the general, overall picture, why we’re here. And I’m just very glad that I’m able to come back to Tsinghua University – I was here just a few years ago on my last trip to China.

This collaboration between this University and the University of California – very important. And the creating of this U.S.-China Climate Change Institute by this University, by China and by the California state government, that is a very powerful idea and I’m looking forward to its actual creation and implementation. There’s a lot of work to do.

In fact, this is my main point here: There’s a lot of talk about climate change, but I think we have to keep in the forefront of our mind that the threat that humanity faces is so great that our response to date is not adequate, and we should not get too comfortable in our position. This is not a time for complacency. It’s not a time for inertia. It’s a time for radical change in how we power the modern economy.

As we all know, modernity is carbon. The development of coal and oil and natural gas has fundamentally provided the basis for our current society, civilization, progress. I didn’t get here on a solar plane. I didn’t get here in a solar car. I got here in an oil plane and an oil car, and that’s what it is. We are deeply embedded and addicted to carbon and to all its various forms. So, to change that is nothing less than profoundly radical.

The world, through the Paris Accord, has made the commitment to make the turn to a decarbonized future. Good, we’re for that. Now, maybe some people in Washington aren’t so sure about that, but, California is sure. We believe in the Paris Accord and we are going to stick to our commitments. And we’re going to persuade other states and do everything we can to get the whole United States of America fully supporting all the efforts needed to decarbonize America’s economy – and, in fact, the world’s economy.

It’s not going to happen overnight, we know that. But we have to get going and we have to do even more than we’re doing. So, we have to understand the problem, we have to understand the solutions and then we have to build the political will to get it done. This dialogue is another step in that long process.

We’ve had fruitful collaboration in the past. The carbon trading scheme that California has embraced has been shared with some of the provinces here in China, as a pilot test. And now, as we just heard, a national carbon trading scheme is about to be launched in China. That shows that our collaboration has very practical consequences, and that’s all to the good.

I came here to China not because I think we’re doing everything we can, but because I felt that China is a very important ally in the fight to combat climate change and that we have to do everything in our power – my power, your power. All the leaders – intellectual and governmental – have to exert themselves to the maximum degree to do what is necessary. To develop the regulations, to do the research, to get the technology implemented through the marketplace – there are just so many things to be done.

I think at the intellectual level, there is much fruitful collaboration between Tsinghua, the University of California and the State of California. I very much look forward to that and I believe that this dialogue just underscores how important our collaboration is.

The climate is not waiting: The ice is melting; species are going extinct; the habitat is being destroyed; the sea is rising – we don’t have any time to wait. That’s why I’m not going to talk anymore – we’ve got to get going. So, let’s get this dialogue moving, let’s fight climate change. Thank you very much.

Photo captions:

1.) Governor Brown delivers remarks at Tsinghua University.
2.) Governor Brown and Special Envoy on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua.
3.) Governor Brown and Special Envoy on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua host dialogue at Tsinghua University.
4.) Governor Brown meets with Beijing Mayor Chen Jining.

Photo credit: Aaron Berkovich. For high resolution copies of these photos, please contact Danella Debel, Office of the Governor at