When I first heard what the West Coast governors (CA, OR, WA, & BC) were going to get together to kick climate change’s ass, um more or less, I was pretty excited. I’m not sure we came away with all that much, but maybe.
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. In a joint statement, the leaders committed to “meaningful coordination and linkage between states and provinces across North America.”
“This Action Plan represents the best of what Pacific Coast governments are already doing, and calls on each of us to do more—together—to create jobs by leading in the clean energy economy, and to meet our moral obligation to future generations,” said Governor Inslee. “Each of the governments here is already taking bold steps on climate change; by joining forces, we will accomplish even more,” Inslee said.
Under the Action Plan, California and British Columbia will maintain their existing carbon pricing programs along with their respective clean fuel standards, while Oregon and Washington have committed to moving forward on a suite of similar policies. The leaders further agreed to harmonize their 2050 greenhouse gas emission targets and develop mid-term targets where needed to set a path toward long-term reductions.
I don’t want to downplay it, exactly. It’s certainly better than not having an action plan. But I’m not sure that this is going to amount to much in the end. I don’t know how much Washington can do with our jackass legislature. And it’s great that British Columbia and California are committed to doing something, but that something seems to be what they were already doing.