Across our entire region everyone should have access to a range of affordable, low carbon transportation choices that improve public health and enhance air quality, increase mobility and access, and boost local economies. Through partnerships, public policy, and strategic investments involving our governments, utilities, businesses, and residents we are creating market transformation in the way we move people and goods.
Low Carbon Transportation Vision and Roadmap
As a region, we have matched out partners’ commitment to a low-carbon transportation future with a plan of action. Our vision and roadmap describe the policies, programs, and partnerships that our cities, states, and province will pursue to rapidly transform markets, infrastructure, and behaviors to reduce emissions from the transportation sector. Through these efforts, we will increase use of all low-carbon mobility options, including zero-emission passenger vehicles and transit, ride-sharing, biking, and walking—as well as create land use and development patterns that expand mobility choices. We must also focus on goods transportation, including low-carbon technologies and infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and support new innovative new technologies and options that emerge
Vibrant and sustainable West Coast cities continue to attract people, companies, and investments. The PCC is working to increase the quality of urban life and reduce emissions by advancing transportation and land use policies that promote equitable and accessible mobility options like walking, cycling, transit, rideshare, and improved system connectivity.
We are working together to provide residents with access to a convenient and predictable transportation experience from the beaches of Southern California to the forests of British Columbia and from rural areas to urban downtowns. Building on our history of collaboration to develop the West Coast Electric Highway, which provides DC fast charging for electric vehicles every 25 to 50 miles along major regional highways and interstates, we are building a comprehensive Pacific Coast charging network along major corridors and accelerating the deployment of residential, workplace, and public charging in cities, towns, and regional destinations. We are actively collaborating on interoperable charging technologies, a consistent user experience, and aligned infrastructure investments.
Zero-emission Vehicle Fleets
PCC partners are leading by example to accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles through fleets purchases of electric and hydrogen passenger cars, transit buses, medium and heavy duty trucks, and non-road equipment. Through West Coast Electric Fleets, we are also encouraging other fleets to make ambitious pledges to adopt zero-emission vehicles and supporting fleet managers and owners as they make this transition, including through a resource library and navigator to key guidance, case studies, and webinars. We seek out opportunities to pool our regional purchasing power to lower the cost of vehicles and infrastructure through bulk purchasing.
Low Carbon Fuels
British Columbia, California, and Oregon have low carbon fuel programs in place that are stimulating market demand for low carbon-intensity fuels, helping to meet the region’s goal of 80% greenhouse gas reduction by 2050. Together, these jurisdictions are collaborating on best practices for program design and implementation, and policy alignment to create an integrated West Coast market for cleaner, lower carbon fuels. Read more about the benefits of low carbon fuel programs and regional collaboration in the policy brief, Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transportation Fuel with Low Carbon Fuel Standards.
The building sector is the largest user of energy in the United States, accounting for roughly 40 percent of total energy consumption. Energy efficiency in buildings, technology, and appliances is the lowest cost way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while creating local jobs. Accelerating markets for zero-carbon building technologies and practices creates new economic opportunities while improving comfort, productivity and resiliency for building occupants. We are transforming the market for energy efficiency and leading the way to zero carbon buildings.
To achieve deep decarbonization goals by mid-century, Pacific Coast states, the province of British Columbia, and cities need to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all economic sectors. PCC jurisdictions are committed to collaborate on ways to lower the carbon intensity of heating fuels in the residential and commercial building sector—known as thermal decarbonization—as a key step on the path to net-zero building energy use. In a policy brief, the PCC summarizes key solutions and regional principles to guide work in the area of thermal decarbonization. Strategies for deep decarbonization primarily focus on the pillars of using less energy, decarbonizing electricity, decarbonizing liquid and gaseous fuels, and switching fuels. These are tightly intertwined parts of an integrated approach, and they present complexities that will have to be addressed in a coordinated and thoughtful manner. Thermal decarbonization policy development and implementation will play out differently across regional jurisdictions, which represent a diverse array of climates, economic drivers, electricity generation mixes, and renewable energy opportunities.
Building Energy Benchmarking and Transparency
We aim to have at least 75% of eligible large building square footage on the Pacific Coast report energy data through harmonized, state, provincial, and/or city programs. Among the benefits of benchmarking and transparency of energy use in large buildings is the creation of a crucial foundation for long-term strategies to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Cities along the West Coast have created benchmarking and transparency programs that serve as models for the entire region, including emerging efforts to leverage building data to drive building upgrades.
Energy Efficiency in Small and Medium-sized Cities
To bring the benefits of energy efficiency to our entire region–and increase opportunities for reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions–the PCC helps medium and smaller cities develop effective policies and programs for transforming energy use in the building sector. In collaboration with the Institute for Market Transformation, our partners helped develop and pilot a market scan [link: ] that these cities can use to assess energy efficiency opportunities and design programs.
Codes and Standards
Energy efficiency codes and standards represent the most cost-effective strategy to help families, businesses, and institutions reduce energy demand, consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. Every year federal, state, and provincial codes and standards result in tens of thousands of petajoules of saved energy across in the Pacific Coast region. Through active technical coordination and leadership, PCC partners collaborate to advance energy efficiency standards, test procedures, and programs across the region. We also emphasize the role of building codes in making progress toward net-zero buildings and advancing progress in other sectors, such as charging infrastructure in buildings to support accelerated adoption of electric vehicles.
Transitioning to Clean Energy
Our region’s energy systems are among the cleanest in the world thanks to policy priorities like Renewable Portfolio Standards and investments in utility scale renewables. Demonstrating a clear preference for renewable energy sends powerful market signals reverberating throughout the U.S. economy and beyond. We are actively working toward a more integrated and modern regional electricity grid for cost-effective incorporation of renewables, reduced energy reserve margins, more efficient and cost-effective transmission planning, and ratepayer savings. Our renewable energy policies encourage technology development, open up new markets, create jobs and attract investment to our region.
Reducing Wasted Food
Between 25 to 40 percent of all food grown or imported into the U.S. and Canada for human consumption is never eaten, costing consumers and businesses $218 billion annually in the U.S., and $31 billion in Canada. The impact of food waste is felt not only in our landfills and our wallets, but also in its carbon footprint, amounting to 2.6 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Preventing wasted food altogether, and promoting rescue and recovery efforts downstream holds significant potential to reduce greenhouse emissions on the West Coast. We are working together to reduce wasted food regionally through a combination of prevention, rescue, and recovery strategies.
Regional Commitment: 50% Reduction by 2030
PCC partners—Washington, Oregon, California, British Columbia, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland and Vancouver, British Columbia—have committed to a regional goal of halving food waste by 2030. Reaching that goal will require public and private sector efforts to prevent, rescue and recover wasted food, engagement from industries across the supply chain, and developing jurisdictional specific strategies, including prevention goals, that will reduce the amount of edible food that is wasted. Learn more about this commitment and strategies to reach it in this policy brief on reducing wasted food.
Food Retail and Brand Manufacturer Engagement
To effectively reduce wasted food, we need broader engagement and leadership from industry across the supply chain in addition to policy actions at the local, state and provincial level. The PCC invites leaders from the food product and retail industries to collaborate and convene with west coast jurisdictions to commit to reducing wasted food 50% by 2030, jointly create interim benchmarks to 2030 that address a full suite of options to measure, act and report on reducing wasted food across the supply chain, and work together to develop tools to support industry in meeting this goal and ensure meaningful measurement and waste prevention practices by food retailers and their suppliers.
Protecting Coastal Communities
Our work is not limited to growing new jobs, but also to preventing economic loss. The Pacific Coast experienced the earliest climate impacts in our oceans, with ocean acidification leading to devastating losses in the region’s shellfish industry. The PCC states, province, and cities are working together on a coordinated approach to ocean acidification monitoring and research, which has allowed our local seafood industry to adapt and recover. The region’s jurisdictions also formed the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification, a network working together to elevate the issue of ocean acidification within international climate agreements and develop action plans to mitigate causes of acidification, adapt to unavoidable change, and build resiliency in marine ecosystems and the coastal communities.
West Coast OAH Monitoring Network
In 2016, the Joint OAH Monitoring Task Force, a partnership of the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC) and federal Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification (IWG-OA), embarked on an undertaking to inventory the OAH monitoring infrastructure on the West Coast from California through Alaska. The collaboration sets the stage for an important gaps analysis: to develop a comprehensive list of OAH-relevant field research and monitoring efforts documenting chemical, physical, and biological trends all along the coast. This analysis will ultimately inform the design of a West Coast Integrated OAH Monitoring network and the subsequent strategic monitoring investments required to build it.
To collect this information the PCC and the IWG-OA called on the monitoring and research communities of the West Coast states, the province of British Columbia, and the state of Alaska, to contribute information to the inventory and help capture monitoring efforts that inform trends in OAH or its impacts on organisms or ecosystems. Thanks to the significant participation from the monitoring and research communities across the region, the inventory now contains over records from over 125 participants describing over 200 projects from the Arctic to Baja California, and everywhere in between.
At current rate of greenhouse gas emissions, the oceans are on course to a 100 percent increase in acidity by later this century, with staggering economic implications to marine systems and coastal economies worldwide in an ocean with no boundaries. The PCC founded the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification to address ocean acidification on a global scale. The Alliance has brought together cities, states, provinces, countries, Tribes, researchers, businesses and NGO’s – over 70 members – to share information on how they can enact policies to respond to local impacts of acidification and reduce local and global emissions to protect businesses, communities and the environment. Together, OA Alliance members are:
- Pushing for inclusion of strong ocean protection provisions in international climate agreements and other relevant frameworks; and
- Developing OA Action Plans that contain practicable steps to mitigate causes, adapt to unavoidable change and build resiliency in marine ecosystems and the coastal communities impacted by changing ocean conditions.
Putting a Price on Carbon
The Pacific Coast is already experiencing the devastating effects of climate change, from wildfires burning homes and threatening whole communities to drought hurting our farmers and ocean acidification rocking our shellfish industry. To curb dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and combat the effects of a changing climate, we are committed to accounting for the costs of carbon pollution in our jurisdictions and working nationally and globally to advance carbon pricing based on successful models. We are also coordinating as a region to address “super pollutants” – chemicals that have relatively short lifetimes in the atmosphere, but are powerful contributors to climate change.
Successful Carbon Pricing Programs in British Columbia and California
British Columbia implemented a revenue-neutral carbon tax program in 2008. At its current price of $35 per tonne, it is among the highest carbon tax rates in the world, and yet the province’s GDP has remained at or above the Canadian national average. The tax rate will increase $5/tonne each year until it reaches $50 per tonne in 2021. California’s cap-and-trade program, active since 2013, has generated $6.5 billion in auction proceeds, thirty-five percent of which are reinvesting to benefit low-income and disadvantaged communities across the state.
Commitment to Addressing Super Pollutants
We are committed to establish a consistent approach to monitoring and reporting short-lived climate pollutant emissions, with ambition to set targets by 2020. Short-lived climate pollutants – “super pollutants” – are chemicals that have relatively short lifetimes in the atmosphere – from a few hours to a few decades – but are powerful contributors to climate change. These pollutants include black carbon, methane, fluorinated gases, and tropospheric ozone. With their relative potency, reducing emissions for short-lived pollutants could have significant benefits for combating global temperature rise. Many super pollutants also affect human health, agriculture, and ecosystems.
Creating a Resilient, Low-Carbon Economy
Since 2008, regional GDP has grown by 32 percent while total region-wide emissions have declined more than 6 percent. The states, cities, and province in the PCC continue to demonstrate that leading on climate policy and driving economic growth are not mutually exclusive: low carbon economies can thrive and lead the world in attracting investors, businesses, job-seekers, and residents. We also recognize that updating, improving and climate-proofing the Pacific Coast’s critical infrastructure offers significant opportunity for investment and innovative partnerships to drive the clean, modern, resilient and robust economy of the future. We are working together to collect data, conduct analysis, and communicate effective strategies for reducing carbon while spurring job growth and market transformation and strengthening our communities and local economies against the threat of climate change.
Creating Clean Economy Jobs
On the Pacific Coast, we are accelerating job creation and investment in clean energy supply and energy efficiency, green buildings, clean transportation, and climate resiliency. We are showing that mitigating climate change and growing the economy go hand in hand. The 2015 West Coast Clean Economy report commissioned by the PCC, showed that, between 2010 and 2014, clean economy jobs within the region grew at a rate of 18.9 percent, more than twice as fast as jobs overall.
Strengthening Climate Resilience
Climate change has already caused unprecedented wildfires and intensified natural disasters on the Pacific Coast. A 2002 PCC report on the Costs and Benefits of Climate Resilience on the Pacific Coasts outlines the “business case” for making investments in infrastructure, social systems and governance to preserve lives, protect cultural resources, enhance natural habitats and strengthen the economy of our region in a changing climate. Here is also a brief infographic that summarizes the report. This report was spurred by the PCC’s 2021 Framework for Collaborative Action, which charted an implementation roadmap for coordinated work among PCC and other regional partners to add value to climate resilience initiatives. In 2018, the Declaration on Climate Resilience, committed PCC partners to strengthening the resilience of our states, province, and local communities. Through coordinated knowledge exchange, strategic planning, and collaborative implementation, the PCC is committed to establishing the region as a model of innovation that fosters resilience in the face of a changing climate, sustains thriving communities, fosters equity, and creates jobs and new economic opportunities.
Analyzing Regional Market Transformation
The only way we will achieve shared ambitious goals for decarbonizing the West Coast economy is by transforming entire economic sectors. We bring a regional perspective to analyzing market transformation, especially where our region is connected through shared infrastructure and markets. Our electricity systems, highway systems, and marine transportation networks are highly connected as are our markets and supply chains for fuels, vehicles, and a range of goods that rely on a stable climate. Working with topical experts, we analyze regional market potential in key areas like low carbon fuels to better understand the opportunities and impacts of regional action.
Tracking our Progress
We actively track our progress in creating the regional low-carbon economy of the future. As reflected in our current PCC Report Card, we are reducing emissions while our economy thrives. We are committed to sharing our progress and strategies for other cities, states, regions, and countries to follow.