Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog

New Pacific Coast Climate Change Initiative

Posted by Jon Elliott on Thu, Nov 14, 2013 October 28, British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, committing themselves to align efforts to control greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions to combat climate change, and to promote clean energy. The Action Plan is adopted under the aegis of the Pacific Coast Collaborative, which encompasses these four jurisdictions plus Alaska.

What Policy Actions Are Being Planned?

The Action Plan identifies sets of policies, identifying existing efforts in one or more jurisdictions, and committing the others to similar efforts. These include the following:

  • Account for carbon costs. British Columbia, California and Oregon will build on existing programs, and Washington will set binding limits on carbon emissions and deploy market mechanisms to meet those limits. All will link programs for consistency and predictability.

  • Harmonize 2050 targets for GHG reductions and develop mid-term targets. British Columbia and California already have 2020 and 2050 goals, and Washington has 2035 goals. All four will establish and align a series of goals.

  • Affirm the need to inform policy with findings from climate science.

  • Cooperate with national and sub-national governments around the world to press for an international agreement on climate change in 2015. These four jurisdictions commit to support international negotiations continue to seek a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

  • Enlist support for research on ocean acidification and take action to combat it.

What Transportation-Related Efforts Are Planned?

  • Adopt and maintain low-carbon fuel standards (LCFSs) in each jurisdiction. British Columbia and California will continue their programs, and Oregon and Washington will adopt standards.

  • Take actions to expand the use of zero-emission vehicles, aiming for 10 percent of new vehicle purchases in public and private fleets by 2016.

  • Continue deployment of high-speed rail.

  • Support emerging markets for alternative fuels in commercial transportation.

What Clean Energy and Climate-Resilient Infrastructure Efforts Are Planned?

  • Transform the market for energy efficiency and lead the way to “net-zero” buildings.

  • Support federal policy on GHG emissions from power plants. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving aggressively to regulate GHG emissions from power plants, and the Action Plan states will support these efforts

  • Help develop climate-smart and resilient infrastructure. The jurisdictions will support efforts by the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange (WCX) to encourage private and local government investments.

  • Streamline permitting of renewable energy infrastructure.

  • Support integration of regional electricity grids.

What Actions Can Be Counted On?

Readers should note that the Action Plan does not impose legally binding commitments on the signatory jurisdictions, nor to commit any of them to provide additional resources. As such, it provides political and moral support for each government's efforts.

Self-Assessment Checklist

The Action Plan calls for additional activities by the four jurisdictions that signed it. As such, it reinforces state - and province - based programs, which readers should review.

Does my organization have facilities or other operations in British Columbia, California, Oregon and/or Washington?

Has the organization reviewed state and provincial climate change and/or clean energy requirements in all four jurisdictions?

  • Do any requirements presently affect any of the organization's facilities or activities?

  • Do any requirements in any of the four jurisdictions affect facilities or activities similar to the organization's, which could apply to the organization if extended to the state or province in which it operates?

Where Can I Go For More Information?

  • British Columbia Ministry of the Environment, Climate Action Plan website 

  • California Air Resources Board climate change webpage 

  • Oregon Department of Environmental Quality climate change webpage 

  • Washington Department of Ecology climate change webpage 

STP publishes the following U.S. and Canadian environmental law guides:

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Tags: California Legislation, Environmental risks, Environmental, EPA, Greenhouse Gas, ghg, climate change, Canadian