California governor traveling to Russia to discuss climate

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s governor is traveling to Russia next week to discuss collaborating with Pacific nations on climate change at an economic forum hosted by the Russian government and featuring a talk by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s Thursday announcement of his pending trip came on the same day the United States forced Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco amid escalating diplomatic tensions.

Brown’s trip, though, will focus on his quest to elevate California’s role in the global fight against climate change, particularly as President Donald Trump moves away from U.S. commitments to fight rising temperatures.

Brown traveled to China earlier this year to discuss climate policy and will serve as a special adviser for state’s and regions at the upcoming UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

He’ll arrive Tuesday in Vladivostok, Russia, a city along the Sea of Japan near the country’s borders with China and North Korea, for the two-day Eastern Economic Forum.

The forum was created in 2015 with a decree from Russian Putin aimed at promoting “the accelerated development of Eastern Russia and expand international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Putin is expected to speak on a Thursday panel alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Brown has no scheduled private meetings with any of them, his spokesman Evan Westrup said.

Brown’s goal is to discuss further collaboration on fighting climate change with Pacific nations. He will deliver opening remarks and sit on a panel to discuss how the United States, Russia, China and Japan can work together on climate. He’s also scheduled to speak at the Far Eastern Federal University and at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference on higher education.

“This Pacific forum on trade isn’t just an occasion to promote investment, it’s an opportunity to strengthen our commitment to decarbonizing the economy,” Brown said in a statement. “Every government and every business is responsible for making this radical turn.”

Brown will leave California on Sunday and briefly stop in Nome, Alaska, to meet with climate researchers. He is expected to return to California on Sept. 8.

Business interests typically pay for Brown’s overseas travel by donating to the California State Protocol Foundation.

California’s first lady, Anne Gust Brown, three staff members and Brown’s security detail…

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