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Washington, British Columbia expand climate action partnerships

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In this photo submitted by Ray Garrido to the Washington State Department of Ecology, a "king tide" invades Olympiad Drive in Southworth.

Top environmental leaders from Washington state and British Columbia agreed this week to work together even more closely to fight against and prepare for climate change.

Washington Department of Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant and British Columbia Minister of State for Climate Action John Yap signed joint action plans to promote public awareness of sea level rise and impacts on coastal areas, and to limit carbon emissions from government operations and facilities.

"British Columbia has taken decisive action to lower the province's greenhouse gas emissions and we continue to see that same resolve in Washington state," said Minister Yap.

He added, "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."

Ecology Director Sturdevant said, "Climate is changing due to build-up of carbon already in the atmosphere from fossil fuel use around the world. We're already suffering diminished stream flows, diseased forests and other natural resource losses that undermine our quality of life and economic strength."

Sturdevant continued, "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 action plans signed on Wednesday Ecology and the Province of British Columbia will:

- Demonstrate how to make government operations as carbon-neutral as possible by sharing information and drawing on British Columbia's success in achieving a carbon-neutral public sector.

- Further strengthen engagement with Washingtonians and British Columbians in helping their fellow citizens learn how sea level rise threatens critical shoreland areas and communities.

Recently, Ecology and the B.C. Ministry of Environment asked the public to observe and photograph extreme tides known as "king tides." People have been asked to submit photos of these high tides to show what kind of impacts we can expect from rising ocean levels and tides.

Images of recent high tides in Washington can be seen by visiting www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/ipa_hightide.htm.

More on the agreements between Washington and British Columbia can be found at www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/events.htm.

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