California, Sichuan Sign Clean Energy Pact and Sister-State Agreement

07/24/2017 12:16 pm ET
California Governor Brown and Sichuan Governor Yin Li sign a new sister-state agreement. [Image: Official website of Governor
California Governor Brown and Sichuan Governor Yin Li sign a new sister-state agreement. [Image: Official website of Governor Brown]

By Xinxin Zhang, Research Intern, East-West Center in Washington. Xinxin is a graduate student in public policy at the University of Chicago.

Note: this article originally appeared in the East-West Center’s Asia Matters for America/America Matters for Asia initiative on July 17, 2017.

California Governor Jerry Brown and his counterpart in China’s Sichuan Province, Yin Li, signed a new clean energy pact and sister-state agreement in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, aiming to expand collaboration on low-carbon technologies, environmental protection, and clean energy development.

According to the new pact, the two governments will work together to establish a California-Sichuan Clean Tech Innovation Center in Chengdu’s Tianfu New Area to boost clean energy innovation, develop a California-China Clean Technology Partnership Fund to offer financial support, and provide incubators and market access for Californian clean energy and technology companies in Sichuan.

In 2015, the two parties signed a friendship agreement at the US-China Governors Forum in Seattle. However, under this year’s new sister-state agreement, they will broaden cooperation on education, tourism, and cultural exchanges, establishing a more sustainable cooperative economic relationship.

Following the US withdrawal from the Paris Accord, California Governor Brown, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo formed the United States Climate Alliance to convene US states committed to achieving the US goal of reducing emissions 26-28% from 2005 levels. 10 new states joined the coalition later. Under this alliance, Governor Brown was eager to work with Sichuan to promote clean energy vehicles in light of the broad market in Sichuan.

With a population of 83 million, Sichuan is the 4th most populous Chinese province and occupies most of the Sichuan Basin in southwest China. The capital, Chengdu, ranks as one of the most polluted cities in China. Officials in Sichuan are seeking collaboration with California to combat air pollution and to boost economic development.

Sichuan and California have complementary advantages in the fields of clean energy and environmental protection. “As I see many problems in the world, many tensions and disruptions, I see a growing importance of partnerships such as the one we are building.” Brown told Sichuan Communist Party Secretary Wang Dongming during the sister-state agreement meeting.

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