31 October 2013

The West Coast steps up on global warming

Earlier this week, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington and B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced their Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, "committing their governments, and a region that represents the world’s fifth largest economy, to a comprehensive and far-reaching strategic alignment to combat climate change and promote clean energy."

The plan makes significant commitments on carbon pricing, low-carbon transportation, research on ocean acidification, energy efficient buildings, and other issues. Of particular importance is that in addition to agreeing to fight global warming, the four leaders emphasized the economic opportunities associated with a transition to clean energy. "Oregon supports the Action Plan," said Governor Kitzhaber, "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."
 
Under the plan, California and British Columbia will maintain their existing carbon pricing programs along with their clean fuel standards with Oregon and Washington committed to adopting similar policies. Furthermore, the leaders pledged to co-operate with governments around the world to press for a global agreement on climate change in 2015.

It was encouraging indeed to see the leaders "affirm the scientific consensus on the human causes of climate change and its very real impacts," and to refer specifically to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report.

So, despite rumours to the contrary, there are voices of reason on climate change among political leaders. Few, unfortunately, are to be found in Ottawa.

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