While meeting with China’s president no less
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California’s politicians aren’t known for being shy when it comes to addressing progressive policies, and Governor Jerry Brown is no different. On Wednesday, while visiting China for a clean energy conference, Governor Brown did not mince words, telling NBC News he fears U.S. Congress members are “going back to some medieval period” by refusing to act on climate change.
Following Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, Chinese officials issued a statement last Friday condemning Trump for making a grave mistake. With Trump going against the international momentum to fight climate change, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Brown instead to discuss alternative options moving forward. In a meeting held at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, a ceremonial space usually reserved for the world’s most powerful leaders, Brown and Xi discussed how they could collaborate on policies to fight global warming.
Sure, it’s not typical for a state official to conduct the sole meeting with another country’s president at a climate conference, but these are not typical times. According to the The New York Times, Brown told journalists, “California’s leading, China’s leading. It’s true I didn’t come to Washington, I came to Beijing. Well, someday I’m going to go to Washington, but not this week.” According to NBC, Brown said Washington is exercising a “willful blindness” in regard to global warming.
Though this isn’t the first time Brown suggested state and city officials move forward on energy reform while Washington catches up. Before Trump officially announced his decision, Brown made it known he’d be pressing ahead regardless. This preemptive decision also might explain how 12 states and more than 200 U.S. cities formed the United States Climate Alliance so quickly after Trump’s announcement. With California being an economic powerhouse and innovation leader, it stands to make up for Washington’s lack of urgency when it comes to climate chance.
“I’m more energized and activated than ever,” Brown told reporters toward the end of his trip. “And I think that we’re actually making more progress.”