California-China Cooperation on Climate Change

California Partners with China to Advance Clean & Efficient Energy Resources

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Join Robert B. Weisenmiller (Chair of the California Energy Commission) and Matt Rodriquez (Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency) as they discuss a unique partnership between California and China that addresses climate change, air quality, and the role of clean energy and energy efficiency in reducing greenhouse gases and harmful air pollutants. Moderated by Annie Notthoff,  Director of NRDC’s California Advocacy, San Francisco and Sacramento, Government Affairs Program.  Bill Kissinger and Steve Black of Bingham McCutchen LLP will host the event.

This Roundtable, a collaboration of the China-US Energy Efficiency Alliance, the California Energy Commission, and the California Environmental Protection Agency, will bring together representatives from the clean technology and energy industries, local governments and civil society. This is a great opportunity to network and learn about the California-China partnership and what it means for clean technology businesses and communities in California.

The event will kick off with a wine & cheese reception where you will have the opportunity to network with experts from government, industry, academia, non-profits and others interested climate change, energy efficiency and China.  Click here for the registration page.

Date: Thursday, June 5th    5:30 – 7:30pm

Location:  San Francisco, Embarcadero Center. Venue information and directions provided after tickets are purchased.

Cost: $40
Discounts for Students and Non-profits. Members of the China-US EE Alliance (Partners) contact us for complimentary tickets.



California’s leadership addressing climate change and air pollution through innovative policies, advanced technologies and effective programs, is demonstrating to the world that having a strong economy and a more sustainable energy system are not mutually exclusive. Currently, China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, accounting for one-quarter of global fossil fuel CO2 emissions in 2010. It is also one of California’s largest over-seas trading partners. Thus, China presents a growing opportunity for California’s growing environmental industry and clean technology sector to export their goods and services.

Recognizing China’s crucial role in the global economy and in reducing the global risks of climate change, as well as the increasing impact of Chinese air pollution on California, Governor Edmund G. Brown led a Trade Mission to China in April 2013 to expand trade and investment as well as facilitate opportunities to collaborate on combating climate change and improving air quality. During the Trade Mission, Governor Brown signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Chinese National Ministry of Environmental Protection and the provinces of Jiangsu and Guangdong. Secretary Matt Rodriquez, California Environmental Protection Agency, also signed MOUs with the Beijing Ministry of Environmental Protection and Guangdong province. All of these MOUs create a solid working foundation for California state agencies, businesses, civil society, and academia to collaborate on trade and investment initiatives while simultaneously addressing air pollution and climate change.  Click here to read the MOUs 

Following the Trade Mission, Governor Brown signed an MOU on September 13, 2013 with China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to cooperate on low carbon strategies and encourage trade and investment in clean energy technologies.

Implementation of these MOUs has already begun. The Energy Commission is working with state agencies, particularly the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, the California Environmental Protection Agency and external partners to develop and expand energy efficiency, renewable energy and zero-emission vehicle initiatives between California and China. The Air Resources Board is working with China’s NDRC to support implementation of the seven Chinese carbon market pilot programs to internalize the cost of greenhouse gas emissions and encourage businesses to invest in zero- or low-carbon activities. The California Environmental Protection Agency and the Air Resources Board are also working together with China on improving Chinese air quality, particularly on the issue of PM 2.5—one of the leading causes of concern in China today.

Organizations & Speaker Biographies

The China-US Energy Efficiency Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting human health and the global environment by working with China to harness energy efficiency as a preferred energy resource. It was established in 2004, in order to promote energy efficiency in China by mobilizing key experts from the private and public sectors to share experiences and best practices from California and elsewhere in the US and to collaborate with Chinese decision-makers to adapt this knowledge to local circumstances. The Alliance’s distinctive public-private partnership includes experts from utilities and other businesses, government agencies, research organizations, and non-profit groups. As an official Strategic Partner of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Alliance works to increase access to Chinese markets for American businesses that focus on energy efficiency.

The California Energy Commission is the state’s primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974, the Energy Commission has six basic responsibilities; forecasting future energy needs, promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state’s appliance and building efficiency standards, supporting energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development and demonstration programs, developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation, licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger and planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.

  • Robert B. Weisenmiller was appointed by Governor Brown in Jan 2011 and appointed Chair in February. He fills the Engineer/Scientist position on the five-member Commission. Chair Weisenmiller brings more than 30 years energy experience to the Energy Commission including expertise in electricity and gas markets and California regulatory policies. Click here for full bio. 

The California Environmental Protection Agency is charged with developing, implementing and enforcing the state’s environmental protection laws that ensure clean air, clean water, clean soil, safe pesticides and waste recycling and reduction. Each its departments are at the forefront of environmental science, using cutting-edge research to shape the state’s environmental laws.

  • Matt Rodriquez was appointed Secretary for the California Environmental Protection by Governor Brown Jr. in July 2011. As Secretary, Matt oversees the activities of the California Air Resources Board, the Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Department of Pesticide Regulation, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and the State Water Resources Control Board. As a member of the Governor’s cabinet, he advises the Governor on environmental policy. He comes to the Agency with more than 24 years of environmental experience with the California Department of Justice. Click here for full bio.

Bingham McCutchen LLP offers a broad range of market-leading practices focused on global financial services firms and Fortune 100 companies. The firm has 14 offices spanning the U.S., Europe and Asia, including New York, London, Frankfurt, Beijing, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Bingham’s energy, environment and natural resources lawyers are recognized for their knowledge and experience with the development, implementation and real-world application of environmental and energy laws at the federal, state and local level.  Their award-winning practice includes citations for excellence from Chambers USA, US News and World Report and Best Lawyers, and Legal 500 U.S. Bingham has the breadth and depth to handle nearly any challenge, including project permitting, high-stakes environmental litigation, compliance, counseling and transactional support.

About the Moderator

Annie Notthoff is the California Advocacy Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in San Francisco where she has worked since 1982. She directs a broad range of initiatives to promote public health and environmental protection.  In 2010 she was a leader of the successful bipartisan campaign to defeat Prop 23 and defend California’s landmark climate law, AB 32.  She has led NRDC’s efforts to get many of California’s nationally significant environmental laws enacted including: the Marine Life Protection Act (AB 993 in 1999), the Clean Car bill (AB 1493 in 2002),  Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32 in 2006), climate and land use (SB 375 in 2008) and a package of water policy reforms in 2009.   Before assuming the director position, Annie’s work at NRDC focused on coastal and marine management issues. She is currently a board member of the State Coastal Conservancy and is a member of the board of the California League of Conservation Voters. She has held appointed positions on the California State Oil Spill Technical Advisory Committee, the San Francisco Harbor Safety Committee and the CALFED Bay Delta Advisory Council.

Click here for Roundtable registration page.

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