Building Climate Partnerships in China

woman and man at signing ceremony

Leaders from the California-China Climate Institute (CCCI) helped plan and support Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent trip to China, which included a meeting with President Xi Jinping — the first visit there by a Golden State governor since 2017. 

Institute Director Fan Dai (left, with Newsom) collaborated closely with the national and provincial governments to create opportunities for discussions and developing climate-focused partnerships within China, which is responsible for almost a third of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. 

Chaired by former Gov. Jerry Brown, CCCI is a collaboration between Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy, & the Environment and UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources. It’s become a key space for climate experts in both California and China to partner and exchange ideas as each attempts to navigate the climate crisis. 

California already had Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment and Hainan Province. CCCI serves as the secretariat for those agreements, organizing policy training sessions where experts and professors from California are invited to lecture Chinese policymakers about crucial issues such as climate change, energy decarbonization, and methane mitigation.

During the trip, Newsom signed another MOU with Chairman Zheng Shanjie of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s central macroeconomic central planning agency, to bolster efforts to accelerate a transition to clean energy and achieve carbon neutrality. He inked similar agreements with Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai and Beijing. 

CCCI also co-hosted the Great Wall Climate Dialogue — attended by Newsom and top state officials alongside senior leaders from China’s environmental ministry and Guangdong, Hainan, Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu, and Sichuan provinces — and supported the development of the “Declaration of Enhanced Subnational Climate Action and Cooperation Between the State of California and the People’s Republic of China,” the first declaration of its kind between China and a subnational government. 

The institute is also hosting and fostering climate-focused exchanges between California and Chinese officials during Minister Xie Zhenhua’s visit to the state and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in San Francisco from November 11-17. 

“Governor Newsom’s trip is exactly what’s needed right now and the institute was proud to help make it happen,” Brown says.