United States: West Coast Governors Announce Ambitious Plan To Coordinate Action On Climate Change

Once again, the states prove to be the first movers on climate change issues and the incubators for novel climate change policies. On the federal level, climate change bills get stuck in congressional committees. But governors on the West Coast are trying to spur action.

On October 28, 2013, British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate & Energy (the "Plan"), a "comprehensive and far-reaching strategic alignment to combat climate change and promote clean energy." (See Pacific Coast Collaborative, Press Release, October 28, 2013, p. 1). According to the statement released by Offices of the Governors of California, Oregon and Washington and the Office of the Premier of British Columbia, the "Action Plan represents the best of what Pacific Coast governments are already doing, 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." (Id.)

The Plan's broad goals include addressing climate change comprehensively across many segments of the economy. The Plan will touch on the transportation sector, for example, through expanding the use of zero-emission vehicles (with a goal of ten percent of public and private fleet purchases by as early as 2016), adopting low carbon fuel standards, and exploring the development of high-speed rail across the region. (See Plan, Sections II(1), II(2), and II(3).) The Plan will also impact the commercial and residential building sector by transforming the market for energy efficiency and leading the way to "net-zero" buildings. (See Section III(1).) Additionally, the Plan will address the energy sector by focusing on streamlining the permitting of renewable energy infrastructure, supporting strong federal policy on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, and supporting integration of the region's electricity grids. (See Sections III(2), III(4), and III(5).)

Although some have made it clear this is not yet a regional carbon emissions market – a better comparison might be to regional land-use planning – our clients should be aware that there is the potential for this Plan to eventually develop into a regional carbon emissions market, and this will affect the industrial sector. Specifically, the Plan states that each signatory jurisdiction will "account for the costs of carbon pollution in each jurisdiction," with specific mention that:

Oregon will build on existing programs to set a price on carbon emissions. Washington will set binding limits on carbon emissions and deploy market mechanisms to meet those limits. British Columbia and California will maintain their existing carbon pricing programs. Where possible, California, British Columbia, Oregon and Washington will link programs for consistency and predictability and to expand opportunities to grow the region's low-carbon economy. (Plan, Section I(1) (emphasis added).)

Is this the West Coast's version of the East Coast's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative ("RGGI")? Not yet. But it could be. For now, the news is significant on multiple other fronts, mainly for the sheer size of the Plan's jurisdiction: three U.S. states and one Canadian province. This is fewer states in number than in RGGI, but the Plan covers a larger population and states with larger collective economic impact. The jurisdiction covered by the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate & Energy collectively represents 53 million people and a combined gross domestic product of $2.8 trillion – essentially the world's 5th largest economy, and potentially the world's largest green economy. Indeed, the Plan is more comprehensive than RGGI in that it seeks to cover more than just the energy sector, as described above. The signatories to the Pacific Coast Action Plan also have more ambitious plans for eventually an even more geographically diverse climate plan – they acknowledge that their efforts would be more powerful if other states and leaders get on board, and they encourage action in that regard. And it is no secret that some policymakers in California support linking other states and Canadian provinces to the Cap-and-Trade Program, as is already underway with Quebec.

At a press conference in San Francisco where the leaders simultaneously signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate & Energy, California Governor Jerry Brown said that "many, many steps need to be taken, and as we tie together all these initiatives, we begin to chip away at carbon emissions." To that end, the plan promises to "harmonize" efforts like expanding the use of zero-emission vehicles, supporting scientific research on climate change, and rewarding builders of energy-efficient buildings.

While the Pacific Coast Action Plan is certainly ambitious, the plan itself is actually quite vague and programmatic in nature. It remains to be seen how these diverse jurisdictions will harmonize their climate and energy policies, or whether they will actually be able to do so. Development and implementation of policies aimed at achieving the broad goals of the Plan will require a great deal of political cooperation. International and regional efforts to address greenhouse gas emissions provide important lessons that will caution many supporters of the Plan not to be too optimistic. Until these state and provincial governments begin to work on specific action items, the chances for the Plan's success will remain uncertain. Indeed, other climate initiatives have tried and failed to gain traction across the United States, even some (like the Western Climate Initiative) involving some of these same players. And we have seen the difficulties that other regional coalitions like RGGI have had in trying to come to agreement, passing compatible comprehensive laws and regulations, and even remaining a cohesive coalition. Nevertheless, this Pacific Coast Action Plan is an important step in addressing climate change. If the leaders of the governments implementing the Plan recognize that they stand on the shoulders of the giants of sub-national coalitions that have gone before them, build on the successes of those efforts and, most importantly, learn from an honest evaluation of those coalitions' mistakes, there is a high probability that this Plan will be seen by many as a model for future government action. 

The Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate & Energy is available at http://www.pacificcoastcollaborative.org/Documents/Pacific%20Coast%20Climate%20Action%20Plan.pdf.

The official press release issued by the Pacific Coast Collaborative on October 28, 2013 is available at: http://www.pacificcoastcollaborative.org/Documents/Pacific%20Coast%20Climate%20Action%20Plan.pdf.

This article is presented for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions