November 24, 2013
On 28 October 2013, saying that the West Coast must lead the way in battling climate change, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington, along with the premier of British Columbia, signed an agreement committing the Canadian province and the three states to coordinate global-warming policies according to a report in the San Jose Mercury News.
Each state and the Canadian province promised to take roughly a dozen actions, including streamlining permits for solar and wind projects, better integrating the electric power grid, supporting more research on ocean acidification and expanding government purchases of electric vehicles.
It was clear, however, that the goals of the pact won’t all be immediately achievable. California already has a cap and trade law, signed in 2006 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The law, which requires oil companies, factories and power plants to hold permits for the carbon pollution they emit, took effect last year.
In 2008, British Columbia passed a carbon tax that raised the price of gasoline but was offset by a cut in corporate taxes and personal income taxes.
The governors of Oregon and Washington announced support for cap and trade policies. But they must now persuade their legislatures to pass laws to put the policies into effect. In Washington state, the state Senate is controlled by Republicans, who have opposed cap and trade.
In a wider sense, however, the agreement was a strong political statement. The three Western states and British Columbia have 53 million people and an annual GDP of $2.8 trillion — representing the fifth largest economy in the world.
What this means to you
With 53 million people and an annual GDP of $2.8 trillion – representing the fifth largest economy in the world – these three Western states and British Columbia could easily impact climate change emission regulations if they are able to coordinate activities.