Capitol Alert

‘We’re embarrassed’ by Trump’s climate hoax remark, Jerry Brown tells Chinese

California Gov. Jerry Brown told Chinese environmental officials Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s dismissal of climate change as a hoax invented by their country was “probably the most absurd thing that has ever been said on the topic.”

“It makes the case against climate change science so weak, so ridiculous, that it actually helps those who want to do something about climate change,” he said.

“So, we’re embarrassed by the statement, but we also respond, and redouble our efforts,” the Democratic governor added.

Brown spoke after Xie Zhenhua, China’s top negotiator of the Paris Agreement, at a meeting tied to the U.N. climate talks in Bonn, Germany. Xie announced at the session that China’s carbon market, designed with the help of California regulators, was awaiting additional approvals before its launch.

Brown told the officials, including the European Union’s Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, that America is mobilizing its energy to deal with climate change – with, or without Trump. He also implored the Chinese government and entrepreneurs to help drive down the price of clean vehicles and batteries, just like they did with solar cells.

“You make them cheap, you make them safe, California will buy probably more batteries than any place else in the world,” he said.

Brown cited a new report by more than 7,000 scientists issuing a dire warning about climate change, including some who did so going back to 1992.

“The common threat of an unlivable climate because of carbon pollution is the common threat that binds America and Europe and China and India and Africa,” he said. “If we rise to take on that common threat we will come closer together. We have to raise our awareness of the threat. And as we raise our awareness all the countries will converge around the proper solutions.”

“China has got to lead the way,” he said. “Temporarily Washington is on holiday.”

After giving his remarks, Brown sat down next to Xie, tapping his arm and revealing he wants California to collaborate further with China on their carbon markets. “We’ll talk further,” Brown said.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

Related stories from Sacramento Bee