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With Trump 'AWOL,' Calif. governor heads to China, Germany for climate talks

In the wake of President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown is taking up the mantle of chief U.S. advocate for action on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions as the leader of the world's sixth-largest economy.

Shortly after Trump made his decision, the governor announced that he will travel to China on June 2 to "strengthen California's long-standing, climate, clean energy and economic ties with the nation." While in the country, he plans to visit Sichuan and Jiangsu provinces, which are members of the Under2 Coalition, a group of 170 cities, states and countries that have pledged to slash emissions 80% to 95% below 1990 levels by 2050 in a bid to limit the rise in global average temperatures to 2 degrees C or less.

California and the German state of Baden-Württemberg co-founded the Under2 Coalition in 2015 ahead of COP21 in Paris. Eighteen U.S. jurisdictions, representing about 89 million people, or 28% of the U.S. population, have joined the Under2 Coalition, according to Brown's office.

Brown will then fly to Europe to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, or COP 23.

"Donald Trump has absolutely chosen the wrong course," Brown said in a June 1 statement. "He's wrong on the facts. America's economy is boosted by following the Paris Agreement. He's wrong on the science. Totally wrong. California will resist this misguided and insane course of action. Trump is AWOL but California is on the field, ready for battle."

The governor's comments came as California lawmakers advanced a flurry of clean energy and environmental measures billed as "Trump insurance," including legislation that would set a goal of reaching 100% renewable energy by 2045. It would also accelerate the state's current 50% renewables portfolio standard by four years, to 2026, and set a new 60% requirement for 2030.

"Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement confirms that Washington is retreating from being a global leader," Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León, the bill's author, said in a June 1 statement, echoing comments made at recent press conferences in Sacramento and Anaheim. "California already has some of the most ambitious climate targets in the world, and our economy dwarfs all but a handful of nations. This is our chance not just to lead the world in fighting climate change and cleaning the air we breathe, but to strengthen our middle class for decades to come with quality clean energy jobs that can support families and lift communities across our state."