A pair of climate action agreements between B.C. and Washington state will strengthen cross-border efforts to reduce carbon pollution while advancing the low- carbon economy.
B.C. Minister of State for Climate Action John Yap and Washington Department of Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant signed agreements on limiting carbon emissions from government operations and promoting awareness of the impacts of sea level rise on coastal areas.
'B.C. has taken decisive action to lower the province's greenhouse gas emissions and we continue to see that same resolve in Washington state,' said Yap. 'We share the air, a coastline vulnerable to a similar range of climate change impacts and, most importantly, an understanding that immediate strong actions today can lead to a strong low-carbon economy tomorrow.'
'Climate is changing due to build-up of carbon already in the atmosphere from fossil fuel use around the world, said Sturdevant.
'We're already suffering diminished stream flows, diseased forests, and other natural resource losses that undermine our quality of life and economic strength. Rising sea level from shrinking glaciers and ice caps will put coastal communities and infrastructure at risk. Only with decisive action to address emissions will we see a moderation of future impacts. Regional agreements like these we've signed today matter because climate change doesn't recognize borders and boundaries. It affects us all.'
Under the agreements signed today, B.C. and Washington will:
- Demonstrate how to make government operations as carbon-neutral as possible, sharing information and drawing on B.C.'s success in achieving a carbon-neutral public sector.
- Further strengthen engagement with Washingtonians and British Columbians about how sea level rise threatens critical shoreland areas and communities. Both jurisdictions recently asked the public to observe extreme tides known as 'king tides'. People were asked to submit photos of these high tides to show the kind of impacts expected in the future from rising ocean levels and tides.
These new action plans build on existing climate-related partnerships between Washington and British Columbia, including:
- The Pacific Coast Collaborative, which involves B.C., Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska in joint efforts on energy, transportation, climate change, and ocean issues. For example, the participants are addressing ocean debris, transportation fuels, clean energy, and energy-efficient building standards and best practices.
- Work under the Washington-British Columbia Memorandum of Understanding on Coastal Climate Change Adaptation, including joint science workshops, exchanging information on sea-level rise projections and mapping, sharing information on Green Shores programs, and Washington and B.C. 'king tide' photo initiatives.
- The Salish Sea Ecosystem/Puget Sound-Georgia Basin Ecosystem Research Conference is the largest, most comprehensive scientific research and policy conference that focuses on issues impacting the region known as the Salish Sea. British Columbia and Washington take turns hosting the biennial conference.
- B.C. and Washington state are active participants in the Western Climate Initiative, a cooperative effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in seven U.S. states and four Canadian provinces.