Politics

California Hands China Propaganda Win with Rogue Climate Deal

Six tons of CO2 emitted on Gov. Jerry Brown's trip to Beijing to strike global-warming pact

Tucker Carlson took Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) to task this week for flying to China to negotiate a climate change accord on behalf of California. Gov. Brown was so agitated after President Trump withdrew from the Paris climate agreement that he told news outlets, “It’s against the facts. It’s against reality itself … People will die, habitats will be destroyed, the seas will rise, insects will spread.” He left out how the waters would turn to blood, the frogs and locusts would come, the fiery hail would rain down.

Gov. Brown has long held that man is spewing a noxious poison called carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere and that Armageddon is right around the corner. This might be the prevailing wisdom among climate alarmists, but facts don’t back up their outlandish claims about increased sea level rise, storm intensity or frequency, hurricane activity, droughts, or floods. And increased levels of CO2 have caused a “greening” of the planet, as even NASA has recognized in recent satellite mapping.

Gov. Brown and a contingent of roughly 30 business leaders of California’s Bay Area Council flew to China recently for a clean energy conference. Once there, Gov. Brown signed an agreement with the Chinese government in which the two — one a state, one a country — agreed to work on reducing emissions. “The Chinese laughed, but Gov. Brown didn’t hear it,” Carlson added. “So, is California its own nation now?”

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Carlson doubted the legality of Gov. Brown’s actions, noting he “grew up in California when it was a state” and that it was unconstitutional for a state to take on those powers relegated to the federal government. KGO radio’s Ethan Bearman seemed to agree with Carlson on the underlying facts of Brown’s trip. But he emphasized that the agreement signed with President Xi Jinping was non-binding yet still legal. Bergman may be earnest in making such a point. But one has to wonder if he would consider buying a car, for example, after being told it was a “non-binding” sale, but legal?

Bearman portrayed the trip as being one in which California would be exporting its green technology to China. He noted, “California has spent billions of dollars using my money as a taxpayer…To create these industries and grow them into large businesses. Look at Tesla.” Ironically, the U.S. has lost billions of dollars in recent years when China has stolen proprietary technology and refused to comply with patent laws.

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Bearman still believes California can leverage its green know-how by sharing it with China. Intellectual property concerns aside, it’s significant that California is a state — and thus can’t enter into any agreements with a foreign country. That didn’t stop Gov. Brown from signing his own climate change agreement, however — and one that doesn’t actually require China or California to reach any CO2 reduction targets. Similar to the non-binding Paris Accord, California’s agreement cites big numbers and urges hefty reductions in fossil fuels. But it poses no meaningful consequences for global climate.

“You’re basically creating your own foreign policy,” Carlson responded. “You’re so high on your own macrobiotic fumes you’ve lost sight of [that].” Bearman resounded that cities and states have been doing this for decades, and there’s nothing new. Essentially, the agreement is non-binding, and thus doesn’t violate the Constitution.

In a humorous retort, Carlson asked if California planned to create its own uniforms in order to “take over Camp Pendleton and declare war on Mexico.” He also pointed to the massive subsidization that has boosted renewable energy projects: “A lot of that green technology was subsidized by federal dollars. And as Obama said: you didn’t build that, the rest of us did.”

Carlson added: “So you’re taking an investment from the other 49 states and making money on it and then claiming moral credit for it? Worse, you’re wagging your finger at the rest of us and saying we’re better than you.” Bearman agreed, but dismissed the subsidy issue since California “leads” and doesn’t wait to get things done.

California also “leads” in both poverty and middle-class flight from the state, Carlson quipped. “But if you truly believe CO2 is a poison,” he went on, “Why would you sign an agreement with the world’s largest polluter, China, that allows them to pollute for another generation?” Carlson was referring to the Paris accord from which Mr. Trump formally withdrew last week. Carlson said Gov. Brown was giving the world’s largest polluter a pass and political cover by engaging in these “non-binding” negotiations.

At one point Carlson asked if Gov. Brown has “some weird agenda we don’t know about.” Bearman insisted the negotiations were “an improvement over the Paris accord,” which he admitted wasn’t tough enough on China and India.

Bearman called Brown’s decision a way for “California to leverage its economy with China’s through the sharing of technologies, a sharing of information, and an opening of markets to one another.” Ideally, this might somehow address the one-third of Bay Area pollution that comes from China, according to a recent study.

Such considerations hardly affected Gov. Brown’s decision to fly a nearly 14,000-mile round trip for his China mission, a jaunt that emitted nearly six tons of CO2. Factor in the 30 businessmen who joined Gov. Brown, and California might want to plant a lot of trees (or buy some government-subsidized Teslas) as recompense. The governor’s office refused to say how much the trip cost, since it was paid for by the nonprofit California State Protocol Foundation, which doesn’t disclose its donors.

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Carlson observed that “sucking up to [China] and giving them a propaganda coup was probably not the same as getting them to stop polluting.” Indeed, the Chinese featured Gov. Brown and President Xi’s 45-minute meeting on all its major media outlets. News outlets across the U.S. also covered the meeting. The takeaway message suggested that California simply doesn’t follow America’s lead.

Gov. Brown likely enjoys the urgency accorded the global warming issue, though. He was also a player in the December 2015 meetings in Paris that helped cement the overall climate agreement. He also belongs to the “Under2 Coalition,” a group of largely Democrat-ruled states and provinces committed to addressing climate change. And so, with Bearman serving as Brown’s proxy for such ideologically driven campaigning, it’s clear that California’s elite are enjoying their star turn in the global warming debate.

Thomas Richard is a freelance writer living outside of Boston, Massachusetts. He’s also the managing editor of the site Climate Change Dispatch.

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