Gavin Newsom Commits California to ‘Cooperate’ with China on Climate Crisis

Chinese state media on Sunday praised California Governor Gavin Newsom for a climate change agreement between his state and the city of Shanghai, signed during Newsom’s visit to China.

“Chinese experts” applauded the potential for “cooperation” between the U.S. and China – on Communist China’s terms, of course – demonstrated by Newsom’s visit.

China’s state-run Global Times alternated between treating California as a “country” in its own right, and diminishing the very compliant Newsom to the status of a mere city mayor, as during its account of Newsom’s meeting with Mayor Gong Zheng of Shanghai – the “friendship city” counterpart to San Francisco (which Newsom previously served as mayor):

California’s economy ranks first among all US states, and we warmly welcome more Californian enterprises to participate in the China International Import Expo, and look forward to practical cooperation between the two places focusing on information technology, biomedicine, intelligent manufacturing and other fields, and supporting and encouraging enterprises to invest in each other’s businesses to realize common development, Gong noted.

We hope that the two places will deepen mutual learning in the areas of environmental protection, green energy, harbor emission reduction, offshore wind energy and other areas of green and low-carbon development, so as to promote higher-quality and more sustainable development, Gong continued.

Newsom said that California and Shanghai have many similarities, with each specializing in areas such as biopharmaceuticals, information technology, artificial intelligence and higher education, and sharing similar ambitions and visions for advancing a green and low-carbon transition.

China is not advancing any “low-carbon transitions” – it remains the world’s largest polluter by a wide margin, and its gigantic use of carbon-emitting coal power is still increasing. China issued permits for another 52 gigawatts of coal power in just the first half of 2023.

The tyrants of Beijing have noticed that Western climate activists are easily dazzled by promises to build solar and wind power plants, which do not magically erase the emissions from coal plants. Newsom’s policies have created a massive energy crisis in California, while his friends in authoritarian China grimly shovel as much coal as they need to fuel their massive industrial complex, keeping the climate change movement quiet by talking about green energy and spending some of their huge trade income on showpiece solar projects.

California Governor Gavin Newsom (C) arrives to the meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on October 25, 2023 in Beijing, China. (VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

China is counting on the West becoming ever more dependent on solar panels and batteries, industries Beijing dominates with an iron fist.

The Global Times repeated the Chinese Communist Party’s hopes that Newsom would pull the Biden administration further left, and further in Beijing’s policy direction, by “visiting a number of leading Chinese cities in the field of new energy” and bringing his lessons home to American politicians and businesspeople. 

“Newsom’s visit to a number of Chinese companies is a sign that some U.S. politicians are noticing the advantages of developing a healthy relationship with China. In the face of the global climate problem, benign win-win cooperation between the two countries produces much greater positive benefits than the U.S. zero-sum game,” Beijing Academy of Social Sciences associated research fellow Wang Peng told the Global Times.

The Associated Press

In this photo provided by the Office of the Governor of California, Gov. Gavin Newsom plays basketball with children at a school in Beijing, Friday Oct. 27, 2023. (Office of the Governor of California via AP)

Another of the Global Times’ stable of experts, senior research fellow Li Yong of the China Association of International Trade, hinted that Beijing expects Newsom to return home and extol the virtues of a more China-friendly approach to American policymakers.

“Uncertainty of the US government’s policy toward China is a major concern for US companies investing in China. I believe without restrictions and interventions from the US government, more American companies will come to China as the Chinese market is stable and predictable,” Li said.

Li named “new energy” as a field China believes it can use to reassert its industrial dominance by luring back foreign businesses that withdrew due to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, the faltering Chinese economy, and China’s crackdown on foreign businesses that might investigate the phony economic numbers pumped out by the regime in Beijing.

Newsom said last week that the message from Beijing he intends to convey to American political and business leaders is that “divorce is not an option.”

“We’ve got to turn down the heat. We’ve got to manage our strategic differences. We’ve got to reconcile our strategic red lines,” he said, laying none of the blame for increased tensions on his Chinese hosts.

Gavin Newsom, governor of the U.S. state of California, visits the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 26, 2023. (Photo by Xing Guangli/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Gavin Newsom, governor of the U.S. state of California, surveys the Great Wall of China (Photo by Xing Guangli/Xinhua via Getty Images)

China’s achievement in turning a major Democrat Party figure into an evangelist for its worldview is astounding, considering that China just ravaged the world with an incredibly destructive plague, remains the world’s top cybersecurity threat, and has been caught opening “police stations” on foreign soil to keep dissidents in line. While Newsom was in China, the Chinese were busy ramming Philippine ships and protecting Hamas terrorists, but the California governor insisted he could see no evil in Xi Jinping’s autocracy.

Politico on Monday declared Newsom’s trip to China a resounding success that “set the table” for President Joe Biden to meet with China’s dictator and made Newsom look like a “global figure.” 

This encomium was delivered even though Politico acknowledged the criticisms leveled at Newsom during his trip to China – and tacitly admitted he had no response to any of them:

Newsom’s trip was heavily criticized by GOP members of Congress and pundits who accused him of cozying up to the communist government at a time when Chinese dominance of certain tech sectors and supply chains is widely perceived as a national security risk. He got flack from the right and the left for not more vocally criticizing China’s long list of human rights violations and lack of democracy. Other critics mocked his stopover in Israel as a photo-op. But Newsom made his trip to China knowing there would be detractors. He didn’t seem to mind and leaned into his globalist view on Chinese relations.

Somehow none of the left-wing U.S. publications tossing bouquets at Newsom remembered to mention that American reporters were completely locked out of covering Newsom’s “surprise meeting” with Xi Jinping. The press also failed to follow up on Newsom’s office claiming he discussed China’s human rights violations with unspecified officials.


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