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California Governor Stumps for Chinese Investment

  • Shannon Van Sant

China's Premier Li Keqiang (R) gestures as he talks to California Governor Jerry Brown during a meeting at the Zhongnanhai Leadership Compound in Beijing, April 11, 2013.

China's Premier Li Keqiang (R) gestures as he talks to California Governor Jerry Brown during a meeting at the Zhongnanhai Leadership Compound in Beijing, April 11, 2013.

California governor Jerry Brown is in China this week, seeking Chinese investment in high-speed rail, renewable energy and technologies like electric vehicles.

During the first leg of his trip to China, Brown spoke at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University, where he advocated making the United States and China partners in developing technologies to reduce greenhouse gases.

"China has been instrumental in driving down the costs, and making available that technology. So there is a real connection," he said.

During his trip Brown met with Prime Minister Li Keqiang and China’s minister of environmental protection, Zhou Shengxian. Brown and Zhou signed a nonbinding agreement to share information about regulations and policies to reduce pollution - a key concern in Beijing, where authorities advise people to stay indoors when air pollution levels peak.

California's biggest city, Los Angeles, has successfully reduced its smog problem through vehicle emission standards, incentives for clean energy and other policies. Last year California held its first auction of carbon credits under the state’s greenhouse gas reduction law. The law forces big polluting industries to buy credits to release carbon dioxide, methane and related gases.

Brown also hopes to create 20,000 new megawatts of renewable electricity by 2020.

"Electric vehicles, we’re looking at fuel cell vehicles. And also biofuels. And a lot of those areas where the technology needs to be advanced but we need a whole new infrastructure," said Mike Hart, CEO of Sierra Energy Corp., a green energy company.

To build that infrastructure California is seeking help from China, where state backed industries have made gains in reducing the cost of green technologies such as solar panels and electric buses mass.

Brown says his trip is an appeal for increased trade from China, and green technology is just one of California’s industries he is highlighting.

"We are looking for investments into California of any kind. And we’re looking for sales from California into China of any kind. So we’re looking for partnerships," he said.

Representatives from California-based environmental consulting firms and California-based environmental scientists were also at Brown’s speech in Beijing. They say their work is increasingly focused on China, where soaring air pollution levels has created a market for solutions to the problems.

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