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California And China Sign Climate Deal, Excluding Trump

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Five days after President Donald Trump denied the devastating impacts of climate change and pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, Gov. Jerry Brown of California was in Beijing to sign a climate deal to mitigate America's absence.

According to the Guardian, Brown and Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to unite efforts to reduce emissions, increase trade across the Pacific with an emphasis on "green" technologies, and work together to reach the goals set out in the Paris Climate Accord. In a meeting with reporters in Beijing, Brown said that Trump's decision to back away from the Paris agreement would be temporary, ultimately.

To fill America's former leadership position, other players will step up to help the planet reach it's goals. China, European countries, and specific states including California and New York will step up.

"Nobody can stay on the sidelines. We can't afford any dropouts in the tremendous human challenge to make the transition to a sustainable future," Brown told reporters in Beijing. "Disaster still looms and we've got to make the turn."

According to the Independent, even North Korea has weighed in on the president's decision, calling the move "the height of egotism and moral vacuum seeking only their own well being at the cost of the entire planet."

The Hill reports that, though the agreement is non-binding, it will establish a joint task force of Californian and Chinese officials to determine ways the two climate leaders can work and invest cooperatively in programs to cut carbon emissions. Officially, the pact was signed with Wan Gang, China's minister of Science and Technology.

"California is the leading economic state in America and we are also the pioneering state on clean technology, cap and trade, electric vehicles and batteries, but we can't do it alone," Brown told reporters on June 6. "We need a very close partnership with China, with your businesses, with your provinces, with your universities."

The climate pact comes in the midst of Brown's week-long trip to China. Brown has signed similar cooperative agreements with leaders across China on this trip, and headlined the Under2 Clean Energy Forum on June 7.

Former Texas Governor and current Energy Secretary Rick Perry also attended the meeting, but the Trump administration has failed to put forward any concrete actions in the wake of Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the climate accord. Brown excoriated the administration's non-action.

"The president has already said climate change is a hoax, which is the exact opposite of virtually all scientific and worldwide opinion… I don't believe fighting reality is a good strategy."

Sources: Associated Press via the Guardian, Independent, The Hill / Photo Credit: California Air Resources Board/Flickr

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