At China’s Great Wall, Momentum Builds for Climate Action

BEIJING – Governor Gavin Newsom continued his weeklong trip to China Thursday with a visit to the Great Wall, meeting with leaders of five Chinese provinces and the U.S. Ambassador to China, and reinvigorating a key climate partnership with Beijing.

Governor Newsom started his day meeting with China’s Minister of Ecology and Environment (MEE) Huang Runqiu. Last year, California expanded its partnership with China on climate action when the two governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance cooperation to protect the environment, reduce carbon emissions and air pollution, and promote clean energy development. During today’s meeting, the Governor and Minister discussed next steps and adopted a formal plan for the four-year partnership – a major milestone in California’s climate work with China.

Downloadable high-res photos are available here.

At the site of the 2014 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit just miles away from the Great Wall, Governor Newsom met with leaders from the Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Hainan, Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu and Sichuan. Altogether, the five provinces represent nearly a quarter of China’s population.

What’s true in America is true in China: states and provinces get the job done. We can’t afford to go it alone in tackling the climate crisis – the partnership of these five provinces representing nearly a quarter of China’s population is pivotal to the fate of the world.

Not only is our partnership at the subnational level essential to moving the climate needle, it can help our countries find common ground when we need it the most.”

Governor Gavin Newsom

Dubbed the “Great Wall Climate Dialogue,” the Governor and his Chinese counterparts discussed ways to accelerate climate action at the subnational level. Specifically, the leaders shared strategies for clean energy deployment, electrifying transportation and tackling climate change while growing the economy. California officials also joined virtually, engaging with academics, philanthropic partners, and advocacy leaders who are critical to the California-China climate partnership. The conversation comes at a pivotal time ahead of this year’s APEC Summit in San Francisco, where many of the world’s major economies will gather.

Later, Governor Newsom traveled to the Great Wall where he met U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns. The two toured the Great Wall and discussed the importance of America’s relationship with China, how subnational partnership can help ease national tensions, and areas of cooperation between the two countries, including climate action, economic development, and tourism.

The Governor was then joined by Ambassador Burns and leaders from the Great Wall Climate Dialogue for a friendship toast at an observation deck overlooking the Great Wall – symbolizing the need to move beyond the walls of the past to the bridges of the 21st Century.

Governor Newsom ended the day with Beijing Party Secretary Yin Li where California and Beijing signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) focused on air quality, climate mitigation and climate adaptation. The text of the MOU is here.

Signed under blue skies, the MOU extends an existing partnership in which California – an international leader in air quality – has worked closely over the last 15 years with Beijing to share lessons from reducing pollution in our state pivotal to helping the city clean their air.