BC and California sign climate change pact

Vancouver, Canada (GLOBE-Net) – The governments of British Columbia and California have signed an agreement for joint action on climate change and Pacific Ocean conservation.

The “Memorandum of Understanding” signed by BC Premier Gordon Campbell and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger includes a number of initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and safeguard the ocean environment, but is not legally binding and does not impose any requirements on either government. However, the document is likely to lead to concrete measures as the two leaders work on common priorities.

The agreement includes a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels or below by 2020, equivalent to California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, which governs emissions reductions and provides options for market-based solutions such as emissions trading. BC recently announced its own plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 10 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. The state and province plan to develop a common data inventory with respect to air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate change cooperation between the two jurisdictions may be undertaken within the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative, a regional deal also involving Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. Following the agreement coming into force (August 2008), the members will have 18 months to design a market-based multi-sector mechanism to achieve a regional GHG reduction goal, which most likely will be linked to an emissions trading mechanism.

British Columbia also agreed to adopt a low carbon fuel standard and greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions standards in British Columbia that will be consistent with California’s laws and regulations. California’s new tailpipe emissions standards are the most stringent in North America and have been vigorously opposed by automakers and the federal government. Several other states have said they will adopt these standards.

The MOU also includes a reaffirmation of the Hydrogen Highway project, which aims to create a network of hydrogen fuelling stations that would allow a hydrogen vehicle to travel from British Columbia to Baja California.

The two leaders undertook to encourage clean technology development, and to identify opportunities to encourage the use of clean technologies, such as enhanced carbon capture and sequestration in the region, both terrestrial and geologic.

They also agreed to develop policies to promote more renewable energy development and transmission and energy efficiency. Other measures to be pursued jointly include policies to reduce pollution from traffic along the Pacific highway corridor, including support for measures that reduce truck idling such as electrification of truck stops and congestion reduction.

Proposed joint actions on Pacific Ocean conservation include: the sharing of information about coastal and ocean resources and health; collaborating on best practices for the development, monitoring and management of marine protection areas; synchronization of environmental protection at Pacific ports; and stronger relations between existing sea-floor observatories.

For More Information: Government of British Columbia

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