BONN, German (12. November, 2017)—Today at the COP23 global climate change talks in Bonn, Germany, U.S. West Coast governors from California, Oregon, and Washington joined in a panel discussion focused on their regional objective of phasing out fossil fuels and moving toward a vibrant, growing clean energy economy. The discussion highlighted the ways Pacific Coast states, in partnership with British Columbia, are leading the charge on climate change. Gov. Jerry Brown of California, Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon, and Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington spoke at today’s event.
These four governments are members of a regional partnership called the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC), which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, decarbonize the economy and build thriving sustainable communities through the adoption of clean energy policies, sharing of expertise and resources, and collective action. This collaborative represents the biggest, most advanced attempt to create a low-carbon future of any transboundary region in the world.
With the Trump administration’s retreat from the Paris Agreement and the Clean Power Plan, the governors used the panel, titled “Leadership for 2050: Subnational Action with a Long-Term Vision,” to discuss how they are moving forward in building a robust clean energy economy with or without federal leadership. The leaders detailed their collaborative efforts, in coordination with the private sector and other stakeholders, to reduce carbon pollution, integrate the region’s power grid, develop an interstate electric vehicle charging network, combat ocean acidification, and encourage innovation and job growth.
Since 2005, regional nominal gross domestic product has grown by 20 percent while total regionwide emissions have declined more than six percent. Public and private-sector cooperation is transforming key economic sectors, putting the region on a path toward reducing emissions 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
Since passage of California’s signature climate change and clean energy law, AB 32, in 2006, per capita emissions in the state dropped by 12 percent while GDP grew by over 20 percent, and the number of workers in the labor force jumped by nearly 9 percent. In 2015, Oregon’s GDP was 30 percent higher than in 2005 while total statewide greenhouse gas emissions were down 6 percent. Washington’s per capita GHG emissions decreased by 4.5 metric tons from 1990 to 2014. From 2007 to 2014, British Columbia’s real GDP grew by over 12 percent while GHG emissions declined.
Over 350,000 zero-emission and low-emission vehicles are on the roads in a fast-growing West Coast market. Across the region, sales rose an average of nearly 25 percent per year in the last three years. Through investment and policies like Renewable Portfolio Standards, power supplied by renewable energy, beyond hydroelectric, has increased more than 250 percent from 2005 to 2015, averaging around 14 percent growth every year.
Quotes from Pacific Coast Collaborative governors follow:
“The science is getting clearer, extreme weather events are getting more frequent and all of that leads to more understanding, more clarity and more action,” said Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr. of California. “Residents on the Pacific Coast know these impacts firsthand – and we’re not waiting to act.”
“We are pushing the envelope in the U.S. and Canada,” said Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon. “Job by job, we are building an economy that safeguards public health and helps everyone prosper.”
“The West Coast offers a blueprint: this is how you build a thriving, innovative economy that combats climate change and embraces a zero-emission future,” said Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state. “We know it’s possible because we’re doing it.”
This event was live-streamed on Twitter via Periscope from the @PCCleads Twitter account, and a link will remain on the PCC Twitter feed for viewing for 24 hours after the broadcast concludes. To follow the Pacific Coast Collaborative at COP23, use the #PCCleads hashtag.
The Pacific Coast Collaborative, representing the U.S. states of California, Oregon, Washington and the Canadian province of British Columbia, was formed in 2008 when the leaders of the participating states and province agreed to work together on energy, climate, ocean health and other issues, as a region. The PCC is also collaborating with major cities along the West Coast to reduce carbon emissions and align building efficiency, transportation, renewable energy and organic waste systems. Together, we are building a thriving and innovative economy that fights climate change and benefits all residents by investing in clean energy, energy efficiency, and carbon pollution reduction. The PCC represents the world’s fifth largest economy, a region of 55 million people with a combined GDP of $3 trillion. Their progress is detailed in this year’s Report Card.