In a move illustrating the immediately consequences of Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed an agreement with China to work to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement effectively sidesteps Trump as China, the number one emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, and California, the sixth-largest economy in the world, will invest in programs to cut carbon emissions.
“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 said. “We need a very close partnership with China, with your businesses, with your provinces, with your universities.”
The pact is only the first of what will undoubtedly be an international pivot towards China to dominate the burgeoning industry of renewables. Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Union’s commissioner for climate, had previously tweeted that Trump’s “announcement has galvanized us rather than weakened us, and this vacuum will be filled by new broad committed leadership,” signifying China’s impending leadership in the arena.
Brown’s office explained that the agreement would “expand cooperation between China and California on renewable energy, zero-emission vehicles and low-carbon urban development.”
Since Trump’s unfortunate announcement, Brown, along with New York governor Andrew Cuomo and Washington governor Jay Inslee, have established the U.S. Climate Alliance, in which members have pledged to adhere to the principles of the Paris Agreement. Nine other states – Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia – and Puerto Rico have since joined the alliance.
Despite Trump’s claim that the Paris Agreement would pose an unfair burden on American businesses and workers, his decision to withdraw has instead been the real cause for consternation. All that Trump did was give a fading coal industry a leg to stand on, all the while ceding American leadership in the fastest-growing sector on the planet.
Is this what Trump meant by “America First?”
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.