Jerry Brown, the governor of California, huddled on Sunday night with European, Brazilian and small-island leaders — gathered here for the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, which formally begins on Tuesday — and pledged to work with them on climate change. On Monday he met with António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, to discuss the future of the Paris agreement.
In another era, meetings like these might have been the exclusive domain of the State Department. But with the Trump administration vowing to leave the Paris agreement on climate change — affirmed on Monday by Gary D. Cohn, the chief White House economic adviser, at a meeting with allied ministers — Democratic state governors are taking an increasingly conspicuous role on the international stage, forming something of an informal negotiating team.
It is the first time that governors have taken such a prominent role on climate change at the annual General Assembly. Analysts said it would be the first real test of whether governors can persuade world leaders that efforts by American states might be able to take the place, at least in part, of federal government action.
The goal, the governors say, is to assure other countries that they, along with and hundreds of cities and businesses, remain committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and meeting the goals of the Paris accord.
He rejected the idea that the governors represent a shadow diplomatic corps. “I don’t think it’s a shadow,” he said. “We’re in the sunlight. We’re shining the bright light of success.”