On behalf of a region of 53 million residents, Environment Minister Mary Polak joined three U.S. governors and the mayors of six major West Coast cities to announce the Pacific North America Climate Leadership Agreement at the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) today.
Leaders from the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC) – a partnership between California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia – teamed up with mayors from Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Oakland, and Vancouver – all members of the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance – to approve the pact to move the region’s clean energy economy forward. With a combined GDP of US$2.8 trillion, the Pacific North America region represents the world’s fifth-largest economy.
The West Coast leaders inked the state-cities agreement as a part of the subnational portion of the Ministerial.
Today and tomorrow, energy ministers, elected officials, business leaders, and other high-level delegates from 23 countries and the European Commission are working to fulfil the pledges they made in December 2015 at the COP21 global climate change talks in Paris with clean-energy policy commitments.
The Pacific Coast Collaborative-cities agreement outlines areas of co-operation to slash greenhouse gas emissions and advance a clean-energy economy, with a focus on energy systems, buildings, transportation, and waste management.
As climate change requires decisive action at the subnational level to realize the promise of the Paris accord, cities, states, and provinces are acting with a growing recognition that they have a unique role to play in executing the wide-ranging solutions advanced in the agreement.
Key provisions of the Pacific North America Climate Leadership include:
- Implementing energy data reporting and benchmarking for at least 75% of eligible large building square footage.
- Expanding consumer, municipal, utility, and private sector adoption of zero-emission vehicles and development of a Pacific Coast electric vehicle charging network from Southern California to British Columbia.
- Accelerating the deployment of distributed, community-scale renewable energy, integrated into the grid, including lowering the carbon intensity of heating fuels in commercial and residential buildings.
- Reducing carbon emissions from the food waste stream by preventing and recovering organic waste and promoting composting.
Also this afternoon during CEM7, the PCC leaders will meet to sign the Pacific Coast Climate Leadership Action Plan, an update to the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, first signed in 2013. In the accord, the four leaders will update their previous action plan with increasingly bold goals on issues such as renewable energy integration and ocean acidification to reflect the need for decisive action in light of the COP21 global climate agreement.
The action plan of 2016 has a stronger emphasis than in the past on issues including ocean acidification; the integration of clean energy into the power grid; support for efforts by the insurance industry and regulatory system to highlight the economic costs of climate change; and so-called “super pollutants” (also known as short-lived climate pollutants).
The action plan also promotes more resilient communities in the face of a changing climate, with a focus on disadvantaged residents who bear the brunt of climate-change impacts.
Mary Polak, British Columbia Minister of Environment –
“British Columbia and our West Coast partners have demonstrated to the world how we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to grow the economy. B.C.'s carbon tax remains the highest and most comprehensive in North America while we lead Canada in job growth and economic performance. We will build on momentum gained from the Paris agreement by not only continuing to reduce emissions at home, but also by helping other countries transition away from dirty fossil fuels.”
Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Governor of California –
“California is now part of a worldwide movement of states and provinces that have committed themselves to combating climate change.”
Kate Brown, Governor of Oregon –
“Oregon took action this year to create a vision of a future free of coal-powered electricity, a testament to our commitment to reduce global carbon emissions. The Pacific Coast region is leading the fight against climate change, and our partnership demonstrates that we’re even more powerful when we collaborate.”
Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington –
“We’re proud of our region’s clean economy, which already employs more than half a million workers. We see these agreements as a pathway towards a clean energy economy and the jobs of the future.”
Ed Lee, San Francisco mayor and CEM7 host –
“San Francisco is pleased to host the 7th Annual Clean Energy Ministerial, and showcase our City’s commitment to providing real solutions to climate change and pushing a climate action agenda that helps San Francisco reach our ambitious goals for a more sustainable future. These actions cannot wait; San Francisco and cities worldwide must continue to lead by taking bold actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions immediately.”
Gregor Robertson, mayor of Vancouver –
“Vancouver is proud to join our West Coast counterparts to celebrate the commitment to building a greener, vibrant and more sustainable economy. Cities are at the forefront of tackling climate change; leadership from West Coast cities, including Vancouver, demonstrates that we can boost economic growth while cutting climate pollution as we work toward a one-hundred per cent, renewably powered, zero carbon future.”
Colleen Giroux-Schmidt, senior director– Governmental and Regulatory Affairs, Innergex, Vancouver –
"Innergex produces clean, renewable energy in part because we know we must transition away from fossil fuels and toward a more resilient economy. As we proudly operate our hydroelectric facilities, wind farms, and solar facilities in three countries, we know renewable energy can be brought to scale to meet the world’s energy challenges. Innergex supports British Columbia’s efforts to act swiftly, in strong regional partnerships, to respond to climate change.”
Watch the signing of the Pacific Coast Climate Leadership Action Plan by following @PCCLeads on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pccleads
View the updated Pacific Coast Climate Leadership Action Plan: http://www.pacificcoastcollaborative.org/Documents/PCC_Leadership_Action_Plan_060116_signed.pdf
Learn more about the Pacific North America Climate Leadership Agreement: http://www.pacificcoastcollaborative.org/Documents/Pacific_North_America_Climate_Leadership_Agreement_060116_signed.pdf
For more information on the Clean Energy Ministerial, visit: http://www.cem7.org/
For more about the Pacific Coast Collaborative, visit: http://www.pacificcoastcollaborative.org
Learn more about the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance at: http://usdn.org/public/page/13/CNCA