During an agriculture tour of Northern California, Chinese scientists visit the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Intermountain Research and Extension Center in Tulelake. [Image: Siskiyou Daily News Photo/Danielle Jester]

California and Chinese Scientists Grow Together on Climate


In late June, Northern California welcomed a delegation of Chinese scientists. The University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources hosted scientists from the Chinese Extension Alliance Delegation—a coalition of Chinese and American agricultural universities—with the goal of sharing climate resilient farming techniques.

China and California experience climate change in similar ways. Chinese farmers, like their Californian counterparts, face increased threats of drought, pests, and wildfire. From June 17 to June 22, 2018, the visitors learned climate adaptive farming strategies during tours of University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) centers in 5 California counties. Through educational exchange programs like the UCCE, universities from both countries hope to collaborate to enhance food security and water conservation in their communities.

Commencing their trip at the Intermountain Research and Extension Center in Tulelake, the delegation explored research around field irrigation, disease management, and soil health. After enjoying the livestock show at the Shasta District Fair with 4-H youth and their families, the scientists talked with UCCE researchers about local efforts to combat wildfires and improve water quality. Touring areas recently affected by fires in Sonoma County, they observed the risks of wildfires first-hand. During conversations with the group, UCCE staff in Sonoma County discussed regional natural resources, food access, wine grapes, fire research and community outreach.

California agriculture has a long and robust history of trade relations with China and educational exchanges help maintain these connections. This visit is one of many examples of California and Chinese universities working towards shared solutions to climate change. In March, Stanford University partnered with the Chinese Academy of Sciences to foster inclusive, sustainable growth in China.

Such efforts align with California’s broader friendship with China. Following Governor Jerry Brown's visit to China last year, California and China committed to regional climate pacts helping both sides meet ambitious sustainable development goals. California continues to take a leading role in collaborating with China on environmental protection, and educational initiatives provide a foundation for future cooperation.

Rivvy Eisenberg is a Research Intern with the East-West Center in Washington and a Master’s candidate in International Environmental Policy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.