United States governors and businessmen are stepping in to fill the gap which US President Donald Trump intends to leave after pulling the country out of the Paris climate accord.
In Beijing, California Governor Jerry Brown and Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang on Tuesday have signed a memorandum of understanding on research, innovation, and investment to advance cooperation on low-carbon development and clean energy resources.
The government of California and China's Ministry of Science and Technology would work together on developing and commercialising know-how on carbon capture and storage, clean energy, as well as advanced information technology that could help cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to a Tuesday statement.
California and China will cooperate on clean technology, emissions trading and other "climate-positive" opportunities, Brown said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a clean energy forum in Beijing, Brown said the threat of climate change could be more devastating than that of fascism during World War II, and that China was capable of driving world standards for automobile emissions.
Brown said the failure of leadership from the US was "only temporary," adding science and the market would be required to get past it.
— Gov. Brown Press Ofc (@GovPressOffice) June 5, 2017
In an earlier speech, Brown criticised those still "resisting reality" and said, "the world is not doing enough."
"We are on the road to a very negative and disastrous future unless we increase the tempo of change," he said.
Brown called Trump’s move to abandon 2015 Paris agreement "insane."
Joint pledges by China and the US ahead of the Paris talks helped create the momentum required to secure a global agreement and included a promise by China to establish a nationwide emissions trading exchange by this year.
Brown said last week that he would discuss linking China's carbon trading platforms with California's, the biggest in the US.
Pledge to continue with Paris climate goals
Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor on Monday submitted a statement to the UN as over 1,000 US governors, mayors, businesses, universities and others will continue to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
Bloomberg, who is the UN Secretary-General's special envoy for Cities and Climate Change, submitted the "We Are Still In" declaration to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa.
— Patricia Espinosa C. (@PEspinosaC) June 5, 2017
“Today, on behalf of an unprecedented collection of US cities, states, businesses and other organisations, I am communicating to the United Nations and the global community that American society remains committed to achieving the emission reductions we pledged to make in Paris in 2015," Bloomberg said in a statement.
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) June 5, 2017
He also launched a process to work with local governments and non-state entities to formally quantify the combined – and overlapping –emissions reduction pledges, which will be known as "America's Pledge," and submitted the report to the UN.
At least 13 Democratic and Republican governors, 19 state attorneys general, over 200 mayors, and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and small businesses are among signatories to the new initiative.
To fill the void, "America's Pledge" will be submitted to the UNFCCC as a "Societal NDC."
"The UNFCCC welcomes the determination and commitment from such a wealth and array of cities, states, businesses and other groups in the United States to fast forward climate action and emissions reductions in support of the Paris Climate Change Agreement," said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa.
The coalition will align a number of different efforts to show US support for the Paris agreement, including a commitment of over 260 corporations.
Kellogg, Pepsi Co, and Walmart are among those corporations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in line with the latest science.
The 13 governors have also pledged to continue to honour the Paris pledges.
"It will be up to the American people to step forward and in Virginia, we are doing just that," said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.
The formal process to withdraw from the Paris agreement takes four years, but Trump said the US will not honour the pledge submitted by the Obama administration.