MEXICO CITY – Gov. Jerry Brown, calling for “heroic efforts” to combat climate change, agreed with Mexican officials Monday to work together on policies to address air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The agreement, though non-binding, comes as the Democratic governor moves to expand his diplomatic efforts on the environment. Dozens of reporters ran upstairs at Mexico’s foreign affairs ministry to set up cameras for the signing ceremony, while Brown, a longtime advocate for environmental causes, heralded his state as a burgeoning source of pressure on other governments to address climate change.
“Even though California is a mere sub-national entity, it is equivalent to the eighth largest country in the world,” Brown said at a news conference before the event. “And we intend to operate based on that … clout.”
Brown met privately Monday with Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto and appeared at a joint news conference with José Antonio Meade Kuribreña, Mexico’s foreign affairs secretary, before signing the climate agreement with a lower-level administration official.
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The agreement calls for California and Mexico to “cooperate and coordinate efforts” on climate change, including sharing research and “developing and implementing carbon pricing systems.” The agreement, which is similar to memoranda of understanding Brown has signed with officials in China, Canada and other U.S. states, includes many potential areas of cooperation, but no legal force.
Such agreements are nevertheless considered meaningful diplomatically. Environmental policies enacted in California, with its sizable economy, have served as a model for other states and the federal government for decades, including fuel efficiency standards for automobiles and benchmarks for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Canadian province of Quebec belongs to California’s cap-and-trade market, which requires power plants and other polluters to reduce emissions or buy allowances, and Oregon, Washington and British Columbia have expressed interest.
Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.