California, Chinese university set up climate change institute in wake of Trump withdrawal


A newly created institute between the state of California and China’s Tsinghua University is planning to push ahead on climate change policies in spite of United States President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement last week.

Key points:

  • California, Chinese university set up climate change institute.
  • US Energy Secretary Rick Perry hopes China becomes “real leader”.
  • Institute to take on a bigger role after Trump withdrawal form Paris agreement.

The two parties will establish the US-China Climate Change Institute to cooperate on technology, research, and reduce emissions in the battle against global warming, the two sides announced.

Mr Trump’s decision prompted concerns that joint initiatives by China and the US, the world’s two biggest sources of climate warming greenhouse gases, would come under threat, prompting global criticism.

But California has promised to step up cooperation, announcing it would work with China’s science ministry to develop and commercialise know-how on carbon capture, storage and other clean energy technologies.

A quarter of California’s energy is currently renewable; the goal over the next decade and a half is to get that figure to 50 per cent.

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the US and China had “extraordinary opportunities” to work together on clean energy.

In a meeting with Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, Mr Perry cited liquefied natural gas, nuclear energy and carbon capture as areas where the two countries could cooperate.

“Those are three areas that I think we have extraordinary opportunities to be partners to work on clean energy issues,” Mr Perry said.

US hopes China will become ‘real leader’

Mr Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 climate agreement negotiated sparked speculation that he is creating a leadership void that could be filled by China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gasses.

Mr Perry said he hoped China will step forward to be a “real leader” on climate issues, while rejecting criticism that the United States is backing down earlier in the week.

“I hope China will step in and attempt to take the mantle away. It would be a good challenge for them,” he said.

In their opening remarks before reporters were ushered out of the meeting, neither Mr Perry nor Mr Zhang mentioned Mr Trump’s decision.

The Paris agreement had largely been seen as a triumph of co-operation between the US and China, the world’s two biggest economies and energy consumers who are often at odds on issues such as regional security and human rights.

Nor did Mr Perry mention renewables such as solar and wind power, in which China is a global leader.

California Governor Jerry Brown, who also attended the Beijing conference, told reporters that Mr Trump’s move would ultimately prove only a temporary setback because China, European countries and individual US states will fill the gap left by the administration’s move to abdicate leadership on the issue.


The state of California and China’s Tsinghua University will establish a U.S.-China Climate Change Institute to cooperate on technology and research in the battle against global warming, they announced on Thursday.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and David Stanway



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