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Gov. Jerry Brown says states should act if Trump steps out of climate deal

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SACRAMENTO —Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday called on states to forge an alliance to support the Paris climate deal following reports that President Trump plans to withdraw the United States from the landmark international accord. The Paris accord is a 2015 agreement made between nearly 200 nations that…
SACRAMENTO —Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday called on states to forge an alliance to support the Paris climate deal following reports that President Trump plans to withdraw the United States from the landmark international accord.
Although individual states cannot sign the Paris accord, Brown said state leaders should step up to demonstrate the nation’s support if Trump pulls out of the coordinated response to global warming.
“This doesn’ t look so good, ” Brown told The Chronicle on Wednesday, just days before he heads to China to meet with climate leaders. “I can’ t believe that in the face of science, (Trump) can say black is white.”
The California Democrat’s reaction came hours after a White House official said the president was expected to pull out of the deal, and after Trump tweeted Wednesday that he will announce his decision on the Paris accord over the next few days.
The Paris accord is a 2015 agreement made between nearly 200 nations that committed each country to lowering greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the effects of climate change. The deal was seen as a historic breakthrough when it was signed after decades of international efforts fell short.
“America wake up. You aren’ t going to get gas guzzlers no matter what Donald Trump says, ” Brown said. “You aren’ t going to get coal to increase, no matter what Donald Trump says in West Virginia. We have to get with the program. And the program is renewable energy, decarbonizing, and research and development in a way that makes America more sustainable not less.”
Brown has emerged as a leader in the fight against climate change by urging local governments throughout the world to agree to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. About 170 governments in 33 countries have signed the so-called “Under 2 MOU, ” which sets more ambitious goals than the Paris accord.
The governor leaves this week for China to attend an international climate summit. He is scheduled to visit Chengdu, Nanjing and Beijing to push climate and clean energy policies. China is the world’s largest emitter of carbon, while the United States is second.
China, Brown said, is leading the way on climate change policies after taking over the solar and wind power industries.
Brown said that a Trump move to pull the U. S. out of the Paris accord would galvanize activists and push California to double down on its own climate strategies.
“It’s a very big deal, ” Brown said. “It’s imperative that other parts of America take action. We can’ t take action alone.”
The president’s desire to exit the voluntary agreement is not surprising; he pledged to do so during his campaign. Republicans in the U. S. Senate, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, sent a letter to Trump urging him to live up to his campaign promise and exit the climate accord. Democrats in Congress sent Trump a letter saying such an exit would hurt America’s credibility.
The United Nations Twitter account quoted Secretary General Antonio Guterres saying “Climate change is undeniable. Climate Change is unstoppable. Climate solutions provide opportunities that are unmatchable.”
“California needs to step in to fill the void of American leadership if the president is going to give up on fighting climate change, ” said state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.
Trump’s potential withdrawal comes after a recent visit overseas where he met with Pope Francis, a strong advocate in the fight against climate change. Vatican officials urged Trump not to leave the Paris climate accord.
Melody Gutierrez is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: mgutierrez@sfchronicle.com. Twitter: @MelodyGutierrez

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