West Coast Economies Join Forces to Combat Climate Change

 GLOBE-Net, October 28, 2013–The leaders of British Columbia, Oregon, Washington and California, representing a region of 53 million people, signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy today committing their governments to a comprehensive and far-reaching strategic alignment to reduce greenhouse gases and promote clean energy.

Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia participated via TelePresence from Victoria in the conference at Cisco SF with California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and BC Environment Minister Honourable Mary Polak.

“Taking action to address climate change in our own capitals is an important first step,” said Premier Clark. “By supplying cleaner energy and associated technologies to help others reduce their emissions while growing the economy and creating jobs at home, our generation has an opportunity to lead on the world stage,” Clark said.

The 2013 Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy  is an initiative of the Pacific Coast Collaborative,  a formal inter-governmental alliance that includes the jurisdictions of Washington, Oregon, California and British Columbia and which provides a basis for cooperative action, a forum for leadership and information sharing, and a common voice on issues facing Pacific North America. The State of Alaska is also part of the Collaborative, but is not a signatory to this latest Action Plan.

Through the Action Plan, the leaders agreed that all 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.

The several initiatives that form the 2013 Action Plan in part arose from GLOBE’s research summarized in the West Coast Clean Economy Report published by the Pacific Coast Collaborative at GLOBE 2012. That research projected 1.03 million new jobs could be created in key sectors, such as energy efficiency and advanced transportation, assuming the right policy environment. (See GLOBE-net article “What is the Clean Economy? A GLOBE-Net Editorial“).

“California isn’t waiting for the rest of the world before it takes action on climate change,” said Governor Brown. “Today, California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia are all joining together to reduce greenhouse gases.”

The pact seeks to enhance cooperation through a range of activities that include: accounting for the costs of carbon pollution in each jurisdiction; harmonizing 2050 targets for greenhouse gas reductions and developing mid-term targets needed to support long-term reduction goals; expanding the use of zero-emission vehicles, with a goal of 10 percent of new public and private fleet vehicle purchases by 2016; enlisting support for research on ocean acidification and taking action to combat it; adopting and maintain low-carbon fuel standards in each jurisdiction; and continued deployment of high-speed rail across the region.

The Premier and governors, surrounded by supportive business and labour 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 region covered by the Action Plan has a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion that approximates the world’s fifth largest economy.

“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 Governor Kitzhaber.

Learn more: Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy . More information on the Pacific Coast Collaborative.org is available here.

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