The partnership with the governments of California, Oregon, and Washington State, along with ve other major cities along the West Coast — Los Angeles, Port– land, San Francisco, Seattle, and Oakland — could lead to some innovations in BC.
Pacific North America Climate Leadership Agreement
With a combined population of 54 million and a GDP of US$3 trillion, Alaska, British Columbia, California, Oregon, and Washington State are poised to emerge as a mega-region and global economic powerhouse driven by innovation, energy, geographic location and sustainable resource management, attracting new jobs and investment while enhancing an already unparalleled quality of life.
On June 30, 2008, the leaders of the five jurisdictions signed the Pacific Coast Collaborative Agreement, the first agreement that brings together the Pacific leaders as a common front to set a cooperative direction into the Pacific Century. Out of this agreement was born the Pacific Coast Collaborative — a formal basis for cooperative action, a forum for leadership and information sharing, and a common voice on issues facing Pacific North America.
The new state Clean Air Rule would require business- es and organizations, responsible for large greenhouse gas emissions, to demonstrate once every three years that they are reducing emissions an average of 1.7 per cent annually.
British Columbia Environment Minister Mary Polak, who represented the province at the meeting in San Francisco this week, said one of the ideas that arose was a shared electricity grid across the West Coast.
“Governor Jerry Brown from California was talking about the incredible potential if there is a regional integration of our power grid,” Polak said.
Polak acknowledged the province would have to have some serious discussions on how the cross-border policies would work.
The West Coast agreement incorporates such goals as:
- adopting zero emission vehicles;
- developing a Pacific Coast electric car charging network from British Columbia to Southern California; and, lowering carbon intensity of heating fuels in commercial and residential buildings.
- The leaders doing the signing had much praise for the accord, and for themselves, said the Seattle PI Wednesday.
The agreement included a provision to expand the use of zero-emission vehicles like electric cars.
The provincial government is still grappling with decreasing greenhouse gas emissions for the potential LNG industry.
Polak said the province’s focus now is on cutting methane and electrification in the upstream.
“We are looking at all the places where emissions are high and are looking to reduce them.”
The federal government is set to decide this month on whether to support the Pacific Northwest LNG project in Prince Rupert, BC.
A statement from the British Columbia government says other targets of the agreement include:
- A “stronger emphasis than in the past on issues including ocean acidification,” which includes monitoring and increased research funding;
- Supporting the insurance industry to highlight the economic costs of climate change; and,
- Promoting more resilient communities in the face of a changing climate, with a focus on disadvantaged residents who bear the brunt of climate-change impacts.
Polak says the annual GHG emissions related to the Petronas-backed LNG plant could be reduced to 3.7 million tonnes. The climate plan calls for reductions in methane emissions at the wellhead, and it would en- courage the use of electric power to get natural gas out of the ground and then squeezed down pipelines to the coast.
That would be a massive reduction compared with the estimates produced by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, which calculate the project’s emissions from the wellhead to the waterline to be at least 11.8 million tonnes each year.
Polak said she is still working on the details of her climate action plan, a revision of the province’s plan introduced eight years ago. The original plan included a target to dramatically reduce GHGs by the year 2020 – an objective that will not be met. The Environment Minister said she is working on changes that would aim to get British Columbia back on track to meet its 2050 target.
This agreement is not legally binding.