June 7, 1:00 p.m.: California Governor Jerry Brown’s mission to fight climate change has taken him to China this week, but he’s not committing to support more ambitious renewable energy goals back home.
The governor was hosting an international forum on clean energy, and former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres congratulated him onstage for what she thought was a new state law mandating all electricity come from renewable sources by 2050. It’s actually a bill passed by Senate Democrats. Brown, off-mic, corrected her, leading to this exchange:
Figueres said, "But it will be. Okay, well you don’t comment, but maybe I can comment in admiration."
The measure would also move up emission targets Brown signed last year. He hasn’t rejected it, but is signaling caution.
"I think that’s good, but I don’t want to minimize now our 2030 goals are quite daunting," said Brown. "How do we get to 265 million tons of greenhouse gases. We’re at 430 or thereabouts."
Clean energy experts are divided about whether going to 100 percent renewable energy by mid-century will be technologically or economically feasible.
The agreements are non-binding, but they describe a pathway for the two countries to raise new clean technology businesses.
Take the agreement Gov. Brown signed Wednesday evening to much fanfare with the mayor of Beijing. It calls for the two governments to look for mutually-beneficial clean technology projects to fund. Businesses that sprout from that could gestate in Beijing’s Z-Park area—the Chinese equivalent of Silicon Valley—because under the agreement Beijing will also provide space for an incubator.
Meanwhile, the University of California and Tsinghua University signed another, non-binding agreement to create an investment fund for those projects.
June 7, 6:50 a.m.: A coalition of states and regions that has vowed to fight climate change together met Wednesday at an international conference in China. They’re organized by Governor Jerry Brown, who delivered the keynote address.
"This is a heroic undertaking that you are a part of," said Brown, "And I want to say welcome to the Under2 Coalition."
That name—the Under2 Coalition—is a nod to keeping global temperature rise under two degrees Celsius. These regional governments also agree to share information about their climate change policies.
Karen Shippey represents the Western Cape province of South Africa, a new member.
"What we haven’t managed to do is set very tangible goals, and that’s one of the things we believe this coalition can assist us with," said Shippey.
Governor Brown and the state of Batten Württemberg, Germany started the organization two years ago.