Washington state Governor Jay Inslee (left), BC Premier John Horgan (centre) and Matt Rodriquez, California Secretary for Environmental Protection (right) discussed climate change, environmental protection trade and the overdose crisis at the PCC meeting in Vancouver on Friday.  Missing from the photo is Oregon Governor Kate Brown. PCC Twitter photo.

Representatives agree carbon pricing can reduce carbon pollution and help address climate change

BC Premier John Horgan hosted the governors of Washington and Oregon along with the California secretary for environmental protection at a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC), which represents the world’s fifth largest economy and 55 million people.

The group also met to identify opportunities and strengthen collaboration on addressing climate change, environmental protection, trade and the overdose crisis.

Premier John Horgan said “We have so much in common. I’m very optimistic about what we can achieve by tackling challenges together, and working to deliver strong, sustainable economic development that works for people on the West Coast.”

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said the PCC helped propel his state to the forefront of climate action.

“We’re ready to tackle the next decade of collaboration on climate and so many other issues, including the destructive scourge of substance-use disorders that too many of our friends, family and neighbours face,” said Inslee.

During the meeting, the group reaffirmed their strong commitment to meaningful action on climate change.   According to the PCC, carbon pricing can effectively, efficiently and fairly reduce carbon pollution.

Even though the PCC crosses international borders, the members are all part of the West Coast community and, as such, ” face common challenges and navigate new global dynamics, being unified and working toward solutions together is more important than ever before,” according to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.

She added “Strengthening our commitment to combat climate change, and expanding our focus on a number of issues our communities care deeply about sends a strong message that progress is better achieved by working together than alone.”

One of the goals of the group is to build thriving economies, but at the same time, reduce carbon pollution.  Since 2005, regional GDP has grown by 20 per cent, while total region-wide emissions have fallen by over 6 per cent.

“Through our shared culture of innovation, we view the challenge of climate change as an opportunity to develop new markets, attract investment and create jobs in the growing clean economy,” said Matt Rodriguez, California secretary for environmental protection.

Rodriguez says that by working together, the four governments are spurring greater innovation.  Between 2010 to 2014, West Coast clean-energy jobs grew more than twice as fast as regional jobs overall.

As of 2014, over half a million West Coast residents worked in clean-economy jobs.  This reflects a growth of 20 per cent since 2010.

Horgan and his guests also discussed partnerships and mutually beneficial trade between Canada and the US and the four committed to strengthening cross-border trade relationships, at a time when President Trump is throwing up roadblocks to trade.

Nearly 1.5 million jobs in California, Oregon and Washington depend on trade and investment with Canada.