UCLA Law Joins UC-Wide Initiative with China to Spur Climate Action

September 23, 2019
Alex Wang, professor at UCLA School of Law

As the dangers of climate change grow and global political tensions rise, UCLA, in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley and other UC campuses, former California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and China's top climate change official Xie Zhenhua, today launched a groundbreaking new initiative — the California-China Climate Institute — to spur further climate action through joint research, training and dialogue.

Alex Wang, professor at UCLA School of Law and a member of the school's Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, will serve as co-chair of the Institute's academic advisory committee. The Institute is a multi-campus project housed at UC Berkeley with collaboration from UCLA, UC Davis, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and others.

"The climate threat doesn't respect borders and it doesn't pause for politics. Now is the time for action from leaders everywhere — for humanity and our common future," said Jerry Brown, chair of the California-China Climate Institute, who was appointed a visiting professor at UC Berkeley in July. "With this Institute, California and China are pushing forward together."

Brown announced the new transpacific initiative with China's Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs Xie Zhenhua, who leads the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development at Tsinghua University — one of China's preeminent research institutions — which will partner with the California-China Climate Institute.

"Climate change is a common threat faced by the human society. I deeply appreciate Governor Brown's great contribution and leadership to addressing climate change during his tenure as governor. I hope the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development of Tsinghua University can continue deep collaboration with Governor Brown's team," said Xie Zhenhua.

The Institute will advance research on low-carbon transportation and zero emission vehicles; carbon pricing; climate adaptation and resilience; sustainable land use and climate-smart agriculture; carbon capture and storage; and long-term climate goal-setting and policy enforcement.

"China and California are the second and fifth largest economies in the world and their actions on climate change send an important signal to the world about what is possible with concerted effort," said Wang. "In California, there is a growing recognition that China has become a source of climate change policy innovation and not just a recipient of global 'best practice.' Research and exchange on climate policy through this new institute will help both California and China expand on their ambitious climate programs."

The California-China Climate Institute will identify and share best practices and key lessons; scale innovative climate solutions; and help inform top policy and decision makers in California and China — and beyond.

The California-China Climate Institute's expansive research will be complemented by a high-level training program that will create new opportunities for dozens of Chinese and Californian researchers and scientists, technical experts and policymakers to learn from their counterparts — and advance critical policies and programs to curb carbon emissions.

This will be achieved through close collaboration between the California-China Climate Institute, the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development at Tsinghua University, China's national and provincial governments and California's top government agencies including, the California Public Utilities Commission, California Natural Resources Agency, California Energy Commission, California Air Resources Board, California Independent System Operator, Air Quality Management Districts and others.

"Leading universities should play a leading role in tackling the global challenge of climate change. Tsinghua University has top talent in climate change and established the 'Global Alliance of Universities on Climate' together with 12 world-leading universities, including the University of California, Berkeley," said Tsinghua University president Yong Qiu. "We believe that by working together, we can make our due contribution to global climate governance."

Finally, the California-China Climate Institute will organize a series of subnational climate dialogues between top government, business and climate leaders from throughout the United States and China to foster understanding and collaboration with respect to climate policy, investment and finance. These efforts build on the first high-level United States-China subnational climate dialogue held during the Global Climate Action Summit last September in San Francisco hosted by the state of California and Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

Brown committed to establishing this institute after meeting with China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing and hosting a dialogue with Xie Zhenhua and more than two dozen Californian and Chinese policymakers, researchers and business leaders at Tsinghua University in 2017. This followed Brown's call for greater climate action and collaboration at Tsinghua University during an earlier trip to China as governor in 2013.

For additional information on the California-China Climate Institute, visit: https://ccci.berkeley.edu.

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