SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The governors of Pacific coastal U.S. states and a Canadian province official are joining forces in a new effort to fight climate change.
In an agreement announced Monday, the governors of California, Oregon, Washington and the environment minister of British Columbia, Mary Polak, will place a price on greenhouse gas pollution and mandate the use of cleaner-burning fuels.
Polak and the governors gathered in San Francisco in the hope of stimulating a clean-energy economy in the region, which has a combined gross domestic product of $2.8 trillion.
California and British Columbia already have placed a price on greenhouse gas emissions — through cap-and-trade and a carbon tax, respectively — and adopted clean fuel standards.
"We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change and we are the last generation who can do something about it," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said.
Under terms of the agreement announced Monday, Oregon and Washington's governors are committing their states to move forward with similar policies, even though the legislatures of both states have denied previous attempts to adopt cap-and-trade.
"California isn't waiting for the rest of the world before it takes action on climate change," California Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement. "Today, California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia are all joining together to reduce greenhouse gases."
The deal stems from the work of the Pacific Coast Collaborative, a group meant to organize climate change and clean energy policies in a region with 53 million people.
Washington's Inslee supports a statewide cap on carbon-fuel emissions, among several ideas to get the state closer to reaching goals set in 2008 to cut global warming pollution.
Still, getting bipartisan support for a cap-and-trade program in Washington state will be difficult. Former Gov. Chris Gregoire aggressively pushed for and failed to get lawmakers in 2009 to approve a market-based carbon trading system.
Inslee is currently leading a bipartisan legislative work group created this year to recommend strategies to tackle climate change. Two Republican lawmakers in that group have said they need to see what the economic impacts of those strategies would be.
Todd Myers, environmental director at the Washington Policy Center, said before the announcement Monday that he was frustrated that the regional agreement could undermine the work of that bipartisan process. "This seems to be a symbolic gesture that undermines that process," he said.
In Oregon, efforts to implement cap-and-trade have met a similar fate. Lawmakers there failed to pass such a measure in 2009.
Environmentalists in that state applauded Monday's announcement as good sense.
"It's very encouraging to see both the business community and our elected officials call for a common-sense, proactive approach to addressing climate change. The Pacific Coast Action Plan is an important step forward, and this event is proof that we can make meaningful progress that works for businesses, people, and the planet," Andrea Durbin, executive director at Oregon Environmental Council, said.
Neither Inslee nor Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber could say exactly how their respective states would achieve putting a price on carbon, but both were optimistic.
California's efforts have not come without their challenges. The low carbon fuel standard is a key piece of California's landmark global warming law, AB 32, and is meant to cut the state's dependence on petroleum by 20 percent and account for one-tenth of the state's goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
Associated Press writers Phuong Le in Seattle and Jeff Barnard in Grants Pass, Ore., contributed to this report.
Jason Dearen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/JHDearen
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
An Erie County judge has ruled that the statements Candace Cartagena made to police will be used in her murder trial. Of the six statements, two were not allowed in.
Friends and family of 20-year-old Ashley Nelson have not heard from her since September 17th.
The Town of Amherst is bringing in millions of dollars from court fines. Local drivers say it’s not rare to see flashing lights in the rearview mirror.
The Niagara County SPCA is so packed with cats and dogs that the shelter is waiving adoption fees on many of its animals this holiday season. But a distraught pet owner came to us claiming the shelter sold her a cat that was so sick she …
Erie County unveiled a new website of inspections for the county's 3,500 restaurants. Wednesday marks the first time the county has made inspection data available to the public.
Amherst Police want to identify the two women in the included photo, who are suspected of stealing $400 worth of items from an area sporting goods store.