California and Sweden ink deal on climate collaboration

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California and Sweden ink deal on climate collaboration

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a Clean California event in San Francisco, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a Clean California event in San Francisco, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The State of California and the Kingdom of Sweden renewed a longstanding climate partnership on Tuesday, reemphasizing and broadening their collaborative commitment to a sustainable future.

“California is not a small, isolated state,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said at a ceremony in the morning. “It’s the size of 21 state populations combined. So we have to have a global outlook.”

In the presence of Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, Newsom and Johan Forssell, Sweden’s minister for international development cooperation and foreign trade, signed a letter of cooperation aimed at combatting climate change.

The letter extends an initial 2017 agreement between California and Sweden, which laid the foundations for collaborative efforts on reducing transportation emissions and expanding renewable energy infrastructure.

“So much has changed since 2017,” Newsom said. “So little was understood, as it relates to the issue of climate and policy in 2017, compared to where we are today.”

The governor recalled the early days of his administration, when he visited the Northern California areas near Paradise, Calif., that had disappeared in wildfire flames in the fall of 2018.

“At the same time, we were going through historic drought,” Newsom said. “We have to be mindful of our responsibility, our role and relationship in terms of addressing these issues.”

Creating partnerships with global governments — of which California has many — promotes the sharing of best practices, while recognizing the state’s inadequacies, the governor added.

Forssell, the Swedish minister, emphasized the mutual benefits that come from engaging with California, noting that about 140 Swedish companies operate in the state today and create more than 44,000 jobs. 

California is also one of the biggest importers of Swedish goods while exporting about $700 million worth of products to the Scandinavian country each year, Forssell added.

“These numbers are impressive, but Gov. Newsom and I, we agree that we could and also should do more to improve these figures even more,” Forssell said. “We are front runners in the green transition, but also world leaders in innovation and the digital transformation.”

Asked how the new commitment would differ from the 2017 version, Newsom explained that the initial agreement established a framework of basic engagement, generally focusing on air quality and the clean energy transition.

The new partnership, he said, goes beyond those discussions and serves to promote the development of solar and wind infrastructure, as well as other areas of innovation and investment.

Forging long-term global partnerships is critical to California, particularly as the individuals at the helm of the state “come and go,” according to Newsom.

“We want to maintain that continuity of leadership at a sub-national level,” the governor added.

Tags Gavin Newsom

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