(San Francisco, CA) — On behalf of a region of 53 million people, three U.S. governors and British Columbia’s environment minister joined the mayors of six major West Coast cities today to announce the Pacific North America Climate Leadership Agreement at the Clean Energy Declaration (CEM7).
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, Calif., and Vancouver to approve a pact to move the region’s clean energy economy forward. With a combined GDP of USD $2.8 trillion, the Pacific North America region represents the world’s fifth largest economy.
West Coast leaders, including Oregon Governor Kate Brown, inked the agreement with regional states and cities as a part of the subnational portion of the declaration. Today and tomorrow, energy ministers, elected officials, business leaders, and other high-level delegates from 23 countries and the European Commission will work to fulfill the pledges made last December at the COP21 global climate change talks in Paris with clean energy policy commitments.
The Pacific Coast Collaborative cities agreement outlines areas of cooperation to slash greenhouse gas emissions and advance a clean energy economy. The agreement includes a specific focus on energy systems, buildings, transportation, and waste management in cities. 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 agreement include: 1) implementing energy data reporting and benchmarking for at least 75 percent of eligible large building square footage; 2) 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; 3) accelerating the deployment of distributed, community-scale renewable energy, which is integrated into the grid to help lower the carbon intensity of heating fuels in commercial and residential buildings; and 4) reducing carbon emissions from the food waste stream by preventing and recovering organic waste and promoting composting.
Also during CEM7 this afternoon, 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, which the leaders 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, including methane escape from natural gas). The Action Plan also promotes more resilient communities in the face of a changing climate, with a focus on historically underserved communities that bear the brunt of climate change impacts.
Statement from Oregon Governor Kate Brown:
“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.”
Statement from Portland Mayor Charlie Hales:
“We are creating a ‘green wall’ along the West Coast. Our cities are committed to growing with sustainable values. In Portland, that includes opposing all new fossil fuel infrastructure; doubling the amount of solar on City facilities; and more. Neighboring cities are doing the same. When we act in collaboration, cities have an outsized impact. Working together, the West Coast will help move the meter on climate change.”
Statement from Steve Clem, VP Preconstruction, Portland, Skanska USA Building, the fifth largest construction company in the world:
“As important as individual green buildings are, the climate challenges facing our region cannot be solved one building at a time. They must be tackled at scale, with the solutions for materials, water, waste, energy and transportation all optimized. Because of this, Skanska supports coordinated public policy across the Pacific West that encourages investment in sustainable solutions, creates jobs and grows the green economy. As a company, we build for a better society and are committed to supporting the intersection of customer need, innovation and thoughtful legislation.”
Statements from PCC leaders:
“California is now part of a worldwide movement of states and provinces that have committed themselves to combating climate change.” –Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Governor of California
“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.” –Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington
“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.” –Mary Polak, Environment Minister of British Columbia
Statement from CEM7 host and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee:
“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.”