Marcio Jose Sanchez/ap file photoFrom left

Marcio Jose Sanchez/ap file photoFrom left

West Coast pact on climate sends the right message

This week, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington and a top official from British Columbia met in San Francisco to announce a broad allegiance to combat climate change.

Many of the ideas that the officials talked about — promoting zero-emission vehicles and charging for carbon pollution — are already in place in California, but there is a chance that wider adoption across the West Coast of the U.S. and Canada could push the policies and technologies into wider adoption nationwide.

In many ways, California has been at the forefront of combating climate change for decades, including with higher fuel efficiency standards for vehicles and with the recent cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide emissions. In the case of the fuel efficiency standards, the state Environmental Protection Agency mostly followed with national recommendations.

Any new programs in Oregon and Washington would have to be approved by state lawmakers there, and, as The New York Times reported, the senates in both states are more evenly split between Republicans and Democrats than the California Legislature.

In the best-case scenario, the two states and the Canadian province would join in California’s aggressive pushes to combat climate change through new policies or to at least catch up to where the state is now.

The worst this climate pact does is raise the profile of the work California is already doing and any future steps that the state takes. More participants in efforts, especially ones that can alter markets, such as that for electric vehicles, improves the chance of the impacts going national. But changes in California alone have already driven national changes, and they likely will continue to do so.

The game-changer in many ways is high-ranking officials acknowledging the seriousness of climate change and maintaining a public dialogue about it. This pact sends the right message that this is an issue everyone needs to address, and hopefully politicians everywhere are listening.climate changeeditorialsOpinion

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Temporary high-occupancy vehicle lanes will be added to sections of state Highway 1 and U.S. Highway 101 through The City including Park Presidio Boulevard to help keep transit flowing as traffic increases. (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Transit and high-occupancy vehicle lanes coming to some of The City’s busiest streets

Changes intended to improve transit reliability as traffic increases with reopening

Demonstrators commemorated the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside S.F. City Hall on June 1, 2020.<ins></ins>
Chauvin verdict: SF reacts after jury finds ex-officer guilty on all charges

San Franciscans were relieved Tuesday after jurors found a former Minneapolis police… Continue reading

San Francisco Unified School District Board member Faauuga Moliga, right, pictured with Superintendent Vincent Matthews on the first day back to classrooms, will be board vice president for the remander of the 2121 term. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faauuga Moliga named as school board vice president to replace Alison Collins

The San Francisco school board on Tuesday selected board member Fauuga Moliga… Continue reading

Legislation by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman would require The City to add enough new safe camping sites, such as this one at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin, to accomodate everyone living on the street. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City would create sites for hundreds of tents under new homeless shelter proposal

Advocates say funding better spent on permanent housing

An instructor at Sava Pool teaches children drowning prevention techniques. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Indoor city pools reopen for lap swimming and safety classes

Two of San Francisco’s indoor city pools reopened Tuesday, marking another step… Continue reading

Most Read