China is now looking to California – not Trump – to help lead the fight against climate change

Gov. Jerry Brown met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday in a rare diplomatic coup that catapults California into quasi-national status as a negotiator with China following the decision last week by President Trump to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord.

Their encounter underlined the extent to which Trump, as he pursues an “America first” foreign policy, is being sidelined on the world stage. Xi spent nearly an hour talking to Brown, one of the administration’s loudest, most powerful critics on the environment.

They discussed global warming and green technology in the Great Hall of the People, a granite-columned building on Tiananmen Square reserved for high-level dignitaries, political gatherings and ceremonial occasions.

“It’s highly significant that the governor of California can meet with the president of China and talk about the foremost issue of our time,” Brown said, sounding especially jovial on the third day of his weeklong China tour. “It’s very clear he welcomes an increased role on the part of California.”

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