California has joined with Oregon, Washington and British Columbia in a new multi-pronged attack on climate change and its impacts. Describing it as a "small-but-powerful first step," California Governor Jerry Brown conceded that the newly-minted Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy won't by itself reverse the current long-term warming trend. But, he promised, "this will spread."
And while the pact has no binding legal authority on any of the parties, leaders of all four governments have agreed, in part, to:
- Put a price on carbon. California and BC have already done this, using a combination of carbon markets and taxes. California's year-old cap-and-trade program is part of a comprehensive plan set in motion by the state's landmark 2006 climate law.
- Synchronize their watches. The four will "harmonize 2050 targets for greenhouse gas reductions" and also seek a more definitive "mid-range" target for emissions cuts by 2030 or thereabout. California's current 2050 target is backed only by an executive order issued during the Schwarzenegger administration, not by legislation.
- Attack ocean acidification. The states and province say they'll "urge" their respective federal governments to "take action on ocean acidification," which scientists say is a threat to the marine food web.