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West Coast leaders committed to fighting climate change

SAN FRANCISCO – The leaders of British Columbia, California, Oregon and Wash-ington signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy this past Monday, committing a region that represents the world’s fifth largest economy to a comprehensive and far-reaching strategic alignment to combat climate change and promote clean energy.

California Governor Ed-mund G. Brown Jr., Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and Washington Governor Jay Inslee were joined at Cisco SF by British Columbia Premier Christy Clark, who participated via TelePresence from Victoria. BC Environment Minister Honourable Mary Polak attended in person.

Through the action plan, the leaders agreed that all four jurisdictions will account for the costs of carbon pollution and that, where appropriate and feasible, link programs to create consistency and predictability across the region of 53 million people. The leaders also committed to adopting and maintaining low carbon fuel standards in each jurisdiction.

Under the plan, California and British Columbia will maintain their existing carbon pricing programs along with their respective clean fuel standards, while Oregon and Washington have committed to moving forward on a suite of similar policies.

The leaders further agreed to harmonize their 2050 greenhouse gas emission targets and develop mid-term targets where needed to set a path toward long-term reductions.

Flanked by supportive business and labor leaders, the governors and Premier redoubled their commitment to growing the region’s clean energy economy. The region covered by the action plan has a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion – effectively the world’s fifth largest economy.

“This action plan represents the best of what Pacific Coast governments are already doing,” said Inslee. “And calls on each of us to do more – together – to create jobs by leading in the clean energy economy, and to meet our moral obligation to future generations.”

The leaders pledged to cooperate with governments and sub-national governments around the world to press for a global agreement on climate change in 2015.

Business leaders hailed the plan as an important milestone and a boost to efforts for national and international policy change.

“Our company is seeing significant growth on the Pacific Coast, and it is encouraging that the trend is concurrent with this landmark accord,” said Steve Clem, Vice President of Skanska USA in Portland, Ore., one of the 10 largest construction companies in the U.S.

Blair Christie, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Cisco, hosted the signing ceremony with the leaders.

Dave Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance, and Bill Dewey, President of Taylor Shellfish Farms in Shelton, Wa., also spoke at the event.

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