Glasgow, Scotland (November 6, 2021). North American Pacific Coast leaders launch landmark task force to advance low–carbon materials in buildings and construction projects
The Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC) announces the launch of the Low Carbon Construction Task Force, an effort between the states of California, Oregon, Washington, the province of British Columbia and the cities of Vancouver, BC, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles to advance low carbon materials and methods in building and construction projects. The Task Force will create a shared regional strategy with the goal of accelerating innovation, investment, and market development for low carbon materials by leveraging the scale of the Pacific Coast regional economy.
Buildings are responsible for at least 39% of global energy–related carbon emissions each year, comprising 28% from operational emissions and 11% from embodied carbon. Embodied carbon is the carbon footprint of a building through its lifecycle from producing, transporting, and manufacturing raw materials, along with construction of the building itself. By creating transparency around the full lifecycle of materials, addressing embodied carbon also provides opportunities to reduce toxic materials and track and report on working conditions at production facilities—both of which can be important points of comparison with products from global markets.
The Pacific Coast of North America represents the world’s fifth–largest economy, a thriving region of 55 million people with a combined GDP of $3 trillion. The Pacific Coast Collaborative was formed in 2008 to facilitate collaboration on issues that cross state borders and jurisdictional boundaries. Working together to advance climate progress has become the PCC’s primary focus.
“British Columbia is a leader in low–carbon construction using innovative materials, like mass timber, to reduce our carbon footprint and support good jobs that create energy–efficient buildings,” said Premier John Horgan. “We’re working together with our partners in the Pacific Coast Collaborative to accelerate and expand climate actions through our new CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 – a plan that supports effective collaboration with other jurisdictions, First Nations, local governments and the private sector to reach our emissions targets and build a sustainable future for everyone.”
“Washington and the PCC region are leaders in demonstrating how strategies to reduce climate pollution also create good jobs and a strong economy,” said Governor Jay Inslee of Washington. “Using the economic muscle of our region to spur rapid advances in the development and use of low carbon building materials will help us go further and faster on reducing carbon pollution, and builds on the strengths of our manufacturing sector, commitment
to clean electricity, and skilled workforce.”
“California is proud to help anchor this joint effort to advance low carbon construction materials and decarbonize industry as we accelerate action on climate change,” California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot said. “The Pacific Coast Collaborative has a strong track record of creating public-private partnerships and stakeholder coalitions that have already produced significant regional progress in low carbon transportation, clean energy, ocean health, and reduction of food waste. We’re excited to apply that same approach to reduce embodied carbon in our buildings and infrastructure projects while we drive innovation and our goals for an equitable clean energy transition.”
“Cities and local governments are writing the playbook in our fight against climate change. From electrification of our transportation system to changing the way buildings are developed and operated, we are showing the world how to eliminate carbon emissions,” said Mayor Jenny A. Durkan of Seattle. “Local governments are also the first to face the devastating effects of climate change. Our communities are on the front lines of extreme heat waves, devastating
fires, and withering droughts. Through the Pacific Coast Collaborative, we are able to scale critical efforts to lower carbon emissions and combat climate disasters.”
“We are at a tipping point in the battle for our climate future and need to act at scale to solve this challenge,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland. “This commitment by Pacific Coast cities, states, and regions will drive down emissions from construction while helping to expand green economies. Embodied carbon must be reduced, and we are excited to show the world how to do it.”
“San Francisco has long been a leader on advancing green building practices and reducing on-site emissions from our buildings. This new initiative by the Pacific Coast Collaborative will enable us to collectively take the next step in getting our buildings to net-zero emissions across their full lifecycle,” said San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed. “We’re looking forward to sharing our best practices, learning from our partners in the PCC, and using our collective
power to demonstrate that it is possible to grow our economies and invest in our communities while also fighting climate change.”
“We can tackle climate change and grow our economy at the same time — these goals are not mutually exclusive, and Oregon and the PCC region are a shining example of how it can be done,” said Governor Kate Brown of Oregon. “We’ve seen firsthand how using low carbon materials can improve efficiency in local manufacturing and create cost savings for manufacturers. The PCC can help expand and accelerate these efforts to match the scale and
pace of climate action needed.”