California-China Climate Institute Stresses Importance of Subnational Cooperation at Events with Leaders from China’s Largest Province

December 10, 2020

BERKELEY, CA --  Working to enhance and expand climate cooperation between the United States and China at the subnational level, the California-China Climate Institute joined leaders from across Guangdong Province, China’s most populous and economically prosperous region, at two virtual events, the Understanding China Conference 2020 (Guangzhou) last month and the Shenzhen International Low Carbon City Forum earlier this month. 

“We all have a mutual interest, because we face a mutual threat. Climate change is not merely a national interest for China or the United States,” said former California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., chair of the California-China Climate Institute in remarks at the Shenzhen International Low Carbon City Forum. “What is required of us is not a mere national response, but a global response -- a collective cooperation to deal with a problem that faces us all. And in doing that, we must work not only at the national level, but also at the state level.”

Both events included Brown and Ministry of Ecology and Environment Special Adviser on Climate Change Affairs Xie Zhenhua, who leads the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development at Tsinghua University -- a key partner of the Institute. The theme of this year’s Shenzhen International Low Carbon City Forum, held from December 6-8, 2020, was: “Combating COVID-19: Green Recovery, Green Governance, Global Action.” The “Understanding China Conference 2020,” which took place on November 21, 2020, featured nearly two dozen issue experts from the U.S. and China and focused on identifying new opportunities for subnational climate partnership. 

These events also included participants from Guangdong Province, Shenzhen and Guangzhou Municipalities, China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the California Air Resources Board, UC Berkeley, Tsinghua University, the London School of Economics, Energy Foundation China, the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, the Chinese Academy of Science and many more.

In addition to offering views on the future of U.S.-China relations, participants discussed collaboration around: mid-century net-neutrality goals, and the interim measures needed to achieve them; shared strategies to address and adapt to sea level rise, droughts, and wildfires; carbon peaking and carbon neutrality plans in the private sector, including company-to-company exchanges; low-carbon city projects, like carbon capture and storage; and other provincial and local-level climate initiatives.

These events come as Brown calls for the incoming administration to “seize the moment” and find a common pathway for greater climate action and collaboration with China in the new year.

The California-China Climate Institute was launched in September 2019 and is a University of California-wide initiative housed jointly at UC Berkeley’s School of Law – through its Center for Law, Energy & the Environment – and the Rausser College of Natural Resources. It is chaired by Brown in partnership with Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs, and the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development at Tsinghua University – one of China’s preeminent research institutions. The Institute also works closely with other University of California campuses, departments and leaders. Through joint research, training and dialogue, this Institute aims to inform policymakers, foster cooperation and partnership, and drive climate solutions at all levels.