Dispatches From China

Follow CapRadio's Ben Bradford as he covers Gov. Jerry Brown's week-long trip to China. The governor is there to strengthen ties with the country in the fight against climate change.

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Gov. Brown Heads Back To California After China Visit

Governor Brown meets with Beijing Mayor Chen Jining.


California Gov. Jerry Brown is back in California, after five whirlwind days in China. The trip ended much as it began.

Brown walked through a lush garden and tranquil pond at Beijing city hall to once again sit with a government official.

"Well, I’m very glad to be here," says Brown. "I was a mayor myself, the city of Oakland."

Brown and Beijing mayor Chen Jining pledged in generalities to work together.

Then it was off to Tsinghua University for a remarkably frank discussion with Chinese environment officials and scientists. It contained direct criticism of President Trump’s climate change stance, which more formal meetings have avoided. 

Government researcher Dadi Zhou, communicated through a translator.

"Mr. Trump is just fueling such doubts and lack of trust in scientific evidence," said Zhou.

The visit also included talks of Calif. and the university creating a new joint institute for climate studies.

"I’m counting on you and all the smart people at this university," said Brown. "I didn’t study science, I studied Latin and Greek, and that’s not going to help solve our climate change problem."

Over the course of the trip, the governor signed multiple non-binding agreements to collaborate with China on clean technology, including pursuit of joint investment funds and an incubator for cleantech businesses.

State Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols will be one of the officials responsible for hammering out details.

"My dream is that in a few years we’ll see big companies that are bi-national or multi-national," said Nichols.

She lists as a potential product, electric vehicles—

"That can be manufactured in both countries, sold in both countries and where the size of that market is going to be enough to bring down the cost," says Nichols.

Gov. Brown says the trip had another overarching goal:

"What I wanted and which I accomplished is to further build the alliance for dealing with climate change."

The results are to be determined, but this week’s trip to China and the governor’s meeting with its president showed he has an international audience receptive to the effort.

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