NICOLA Sturgeon is expected to sign a joint agreement with the Governor of California this week on tackling climate change.

The First Minister will pledge to work with Democrat Jerry Brown in a move that will be seen as the pair taking a symbolic stand against President Trump’s anti-environment policies.

In a wide-ranging trip, she will also speak at a women’s summit in New York that will be attended by Hillary Clinton. Sturgeon will also speak at the United Nations on the issue of support for women in conflict.

It is understood that no meetings with officials in the Trump administration are scheduled. However, Sturgeon's key meeting on climate change is likely to be seen as a pointed rebuttal of Trump and his policies.

The US accounts for 36% of inward investment projects to Scotland, and America has long been considered to be a valued export partner.

Sturgeon’s trade trip will attempt to drum up business for Scotland, but she will also attempt to assert her progressive credentials.

A Scottish Government source talked up the significance of Monday’s meeting with Brown, who is one of the most senior elected Democrats, saying:

“The First Minister is expected to sign a joint agreement with the Governor of California that Scotland and California will work together on climate change. It would be an agreement to share technology, best practice, and to keep the issue of Climate Change at the front of the political agenda.”

Sturgeon’s administration recently outlined a new target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 66% by 2032.

In the same time-frame, the Government also wants a fully-decarbonised electricity sector and 80% of domestic heat to come from low-carbon technologies.

In January, Governor Brown launched an outspoken attack on President Trump and his denial of the science on climate change.

“The recent election and inauguration of a new president has shown deep divisions across America,” he said. “While no one knows what the new leader will actually do, there are signs that are disturbing. We’ve seen the bold assertion of ‘alternative facts,’ whatever those are. We’ve heard the blatant attacks on science.”

He added: “Our state is known the world over for actions we’ve taken to encourage renewable energy and combat climate change. Whatever they do in Washington, they can’t change the facts, and these are the facts: the climate is changing. The temperatures are rising — and so are the oceans. Natural habitats everywhere are under stress.”

Trump recently signed an executive order that intends to chip away at his predecessor’s clean power plan in a bid to help the coal industry.

Trump, who has described climate change as a hoax, directed the Environmental Protection Agency to rewrite a set of proposals that would have closed coal-fired plants.

While in California, Sturgeon is also expected to appear at a panel event for Scottish universities, which will also be attended by President Obama’s former Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

The First Minister’s itinerary also includes a slot at the Women in the World gathering in New York. Other attendees include Scarlett Johansson, Clinton - who lost the presidential contest to Trump - Chinese billionaire Zhang Xin and Trudeau. Meetings at the United Nations are also planned as part of the trip. A Government insider said there were no plans at present for a meeting with Clinton.

Ahead of the visit, the First Minister said: “Scotland has a longstanding relationship with the United States which spans family, friendship and business and this government is committed to continuing to strengthen these ties.

“We have a strong record in attracting international investment and Scotland continues to be the top destination in the UK for foreign direct investment outside of London. We have also seen a steady rise in visitors from North America to Scotland in recent years and a growing interest from the US market in Scottish products.”