Pac coast gets it together on climate action
The Pacific Coast Collaborative—comprising British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington—issued the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy late last month, representing an historic government and regional commitment–it covers the world’s fifth largest economy–to a comprehensive and far-reaching strategic alignment to combat climate change and promote clean energy.
Oh and by the way, President Obama issued a new Executive Order designed to encourage Americans to incorporate climate change awareness into their activities and plans, a few days later. His action this week followed up the White House’s Climate Action plan, released in June. (Check here for the White House climate action infographic.)
California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and British Columbia’s Premier Christy Clark, signed the PCC plan.
Under the plan, the leaders agreed the four jurisdictions will account for the costs of carbon pollution and that, where appropriate and feasible, link programs to create consistency and predictability across the region of 53 million people. The leaders also committed to “adopting and maintaining low carbon fuel standards in each jurisdiction.” Further, they committed to “meaningful coordination and linkage between states and provinces across North America.”
“This Action Plan represents the best of what Pacific Coast governments are already doing, and calls on each of us to do more—together—to create jobs by leading in the clean energy economy, and to meet our moral obligation to future generations,” said Gov. Inslee. “Each of the governments here is already taking bold steps on climate change; by joining forces, we will accomplish even more,” Inslee said.
The region covered by the Action Plan has a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion—effectively the world’s fifth largest economy. So going all-in on efforts to implement a clean energy economy for the regions feels like a very big deal.
“Oregon supports the Action Plan because we are already seeing how our commitment to clean energy is changing the face and fortune of our state, accounting for $5 billion in economic activity and 58,000 jobs,” said Gov. Kitzhaber. “The debate is over. The scientific community no longer disputes that climate change is happening and human-caused. But regardless of where you stand on this question, there’s another good reason to act: transitioning to a clean economy creates jobs,” he said.
Under the Action Plan, California and British Columbia will maintain their existing carbon pricing programs along with their respective clean fuel standards, while Oregon and Washington have committed to moving forward on a suite of similar policies. The leaders further agreed to harmonize their 2050 greenhouse gas emission targets and develop mid-term targets where needed to set a path toward long-term reductions.
“California isn’t waiting for the rest of the world before it takes action on climate change,” said Gov. Brown. “Today, California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia are all joining together to reduce greenhouse gases,” Brown said.
The leaders pledged to cooperate with governments and sub-national governments around the world to press for a global agreement on climate change in 2015.
The Pacific Coast Collaborative was established to address the “unique and shared circumstances of the Pacific coastal areas and jurisdictions in North America by providing a framework for co-operative action, a forum for leadership and the sharing of information on best practices, and a common voice on issues facing coastal and Pacific jurisdictions.”
Historic? Perhaps, but let’s see the follow-through.
Image: HomePageStrip from the PCC website.