Written in US state of California signs accord with China for green technology development:

The agreement comes less than one week after US President Donald Trump said the US was leaving the Paris climate accord. California governor Jerry Brown agreed to develop more green technology.

I don't understand why California would sign an agreement with China specifically on the matter, when they have already joined the US Climate Alliance?

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    Not everyone shares our great and wise presidents point of view. As the States in the USA have their own rights and market independence they are free to pursue their own goals (within the confides of federal law). Many of them feel global warming or man-made climate change is real and wish to help with the efforts to alleviate it and though it may take away from fossil jobs it adds green energy jobs and adds competition with new technology in the international market. That being said signing paper adds confidence to the market
    – SCFi
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 10:34
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    @SCFi I understand that thoroughly, but what does California gain from signing an accord with China specifically when they've already registered to agree to stick to the Paris accord with the US Climate alliance? Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 10:36
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    The climate alliance is internally facing as a form of saying "We don't agree and will continue to pursue despite your objections". California is the largest economy in the US and invests millions into it's green power technology. The deal signing with China, the largest polluter, allows for market confidence and what I can only speculate is the hope to sell their green technology to China down the road. Also great for political brownie points. But leaving this as a comment as I don't have a hard reading of the agreement
    – SCFi
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 10:44
  • @SCFi Your comment makes perfect sense, I can imagine none is legally binding as much as the Paris accord wasn't either (?) and it would be great for the Californian officials regarding re-elections (I would assume, if climate change is favoured by the constituents) Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 10:45
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    It helps to understand that California has an economy roughly the same size as France. As such, CA can impose regulations on companies that wish to do business there. These often end up applying to the entire US. For example, go to any hardware store in the US and plumbing fittings will usually have a sticker about how CA has determined it contains harmful chemicals. For a while, you'd be hard-pressed to buy a couch US without fire-retardant chemicals because of CA regulations. There isn't another US state that can impose it's will on the others like this.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 17:05

2 Answers 2


The "We Are Still In" campaign is more of a statement than an agreement for concrete action or cooperation. From the press release that they issued, it's basically to "declare that we (they) will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement":

The statement calls “The Trump administration’s announcement [one that] undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change [and a move which is] out of step with what is happening in the United States.” The signers all understand that the Paris Agreement is a blueprint for job creation, stability and global prosperity and that accelerating the United States’ clean energy transition is an opportunity - not a liability - to create jobs, spur innovation, promote trade and ensure American competitiveness. By declaring that “we are still in,” the signatories are putting the best interests of their constituents, customers, students and communities first while assuring the rest of the world that American leadership on climate change extends well beyond the federal government.

However, the agreement that California signed with China is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which expands cooperation and establishes a partnership with China. It will also establish a joint team of Chinese and Californian officials to come up with ways for cooperation and to invest in programs that would cut carbon emissions.

This is an excerpt of the MoU regarding its objective:

The objective of this Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) is to support the Participants in advancing innovation and development of, and investment in, low-carbon energy resources and clean technologies. Cooperation between the Participants will be based on a mutual understanding of shared issues and concerns of the governments and citizens of California and the People’s Republic of China as they relate to research, innovation, and commercialization of clean technologies.

The full MoU is available in a press release from Governor Brown's office.

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    Makes total sense now and it also makes it official on California's part, I would also assume (which is out of the scope of this question and a valid comment above from @SCFi) that they're also doing it for the support of the constituents for political brownie points. By the way, I added a reference to MoU for those who don't know what one is. (Feel free to roll it back, if you wish). Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 11:45
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    As an outsider, I wonder how Americans feel about China's track record of green technology cooperation. The $0.5bn American Superconductor case for example remains unresolved in Chinese courts after 6 years and I would have thought this kind of move just adds fuel to the fire. Protectionist republicans won't want to see higher technology moving overseas considering China has clear intentions to make manufacturing these technologies elsewhere uncompetitive. (rare earth export restrictions, a broad range of import restrictions and other controversial protectionist policies) Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 17:18
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    @user3125280 sounds like a good question of it's own
    – SCFi
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 17:21

The action makes sense - California is a hotbed of advanced technology design, China is well known for low cost manufacturing. All they have done is agree to jointly develop green tech.

The only thing that doesn't make sense is associating this with Trump repudiating the Paris Accord, which was not a treaty, just a general agreement with no legal binding.

If Jerry Brown wants to portray that as his brave stance to defy Trump... California also excels at selling illusions: Hollywood.

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