City of Vancouver a step closer to low carbon future: Signs Pacific North America Climate Leadership agreement

Pacific Coast Collaborative web page logoThe City of Vancouver has sent out an information bulletin saying that Doug Smith, Acting Director of Sustainability for the City, signed the Pacific North America Climate Leadership agreement at the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) on June 1, 2016, in San Francisco.

The context for this is the Pacific Coast Collaborative, created in June 2008 when leaders of five jurisdictions along the coast (Alaska, British Columbia, California, Oregon, Washington) signed the Pacific Coast Collaborative Agreement, “the first agreement that brings together the Pacific leaders as a common front to set a cooperative direction into the Pacific Century” as a “a formal basis for cooperative action, a forum for leadership and information sharing, and a common voice on issues facing Pacific North America.” The region, with a combined population of 53 million and GDP of $2.8 trillion,  is “poised to emerge as a mega-region and global economic powerhouse driven by innovation, energy, geographic location and sustainable resource management, attracting new jobs and investment while enhancing an already unparalleled quality of life.”  The Pacific North America region reportedly represents the world’s fifth largest economy.

CityHallWatch applauds efforts toward a low-carbon economy. And we also believe that in EVERY jurisdiction, citizen involvement and public scrutiny is crucial in order to ensure that governments have integrity and honesty in these efforts. The City of Vancouver is a case in point. In “Post-Truth Vancouver,” dependent researcher Jon Petrie has exposed questionable claims by in British Columbia and in Vancouver regarding greenhouse gas emissions.

For real solutions to climate change, it is also important that each government exercise balance, transparency and fairness in all of its policies and decisions. Where there are trade-offs, they should be stated and the public have a chance to join the discussion. That kind of public oversight is crucial. The public is an important partner in all of this.

In the case of Vancouver, CityHallWatch is suspicious of deals being made with Creative Energy regarding the monopoly control the City is offering that company (owned by developer Westbank, CEO Ian Gillespie)–with no competitive bids–for a district energy system downtown, to be powered by “biofuels.” We have given up, for the moment, trying to get any response from the City or Creative Energy regarding its proposed supply of biofuels, but wonder it the plan is to burn wood from the 1,000-plus houses being demolished each year in the City.

Pacific Coast Collaborative media release 1-June-2016, full information (PDF): Click here.
Actual signed agreement (PDF): Click here.

Excerpt of the June 2 information bulletin from City of Vancouver follows.

Following through on pledges and declarations forged during the COP21 global climate change conference in Paris last December, West Coast jurisdictions are joining forces on a regional level demonstrating their commitment and leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Leaders from the Pacific Coast Collaborative—a partnership between the premier of British Columbia and governors of California, Oregon, and Washington—joined the mayors and representatives of six cities—Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Oakland, and Vancouver—to sign the agreement. The pact outlines areas of cooperation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote a vibrant clean energy economy, with an emphasis on energy systems, buildings, waste management, and transportation.

Vancouver is looking forward to leveraging the Pacific Coast Collaboration to build on existing relationships with West Coast cities and the Province of British Columbia and to also begin new relationships with the states of Washington, Oregon and California. With goals to become the Greenest City in the world by 2020 and be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy before 2050, the City has already started sharing information about our district energy plans and greener buildings codes and will continue to foster the exchange of expertise from our partners south of us.

As climate change requires decisive action at the subnational level to realize the promise of the Paris accord, cities, states, and provinces have a critical role to play in driving the transition to a clean economy by implementing policies on a local level and by forging partnerships like the Pacific Coast Collaborative.

The numbers don’t lie, between 2010 and 2014, clean economy jobs within the Pacific Coast region grew at a rate of 19.3 per cent, more than twice as fast as jobs overall proving that strong climate action and economic success go hand-in-hand. As of 2014, the region now includes 580,019 clean economy jobs.

Pacific North America is a region bound together by a common geography, shared infrastructure and a regional economy with a population of 53 million people and a combined GDP of U.S. $2.8 trillion, which makes it the world’s fifth largest.

To learn more about the agreement, visit


Pacific North America Climate Leadership agreement
Actual text of agreement (PDF): Click here.

Pacific North America
Climate Leadership Agreement


Recognizing that Pacific North America is a region bound together by a
common geography, shared infrastructure and a regional economy with
a population of 53 million people and a combined GDP of U.S. $2.8
trillion, which makes it the world’s fifth largest economy;

Affirming that Pacific Coast Jurisdictions and Cities have a shared
vision to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and
create a vibrant, low carbon regional economy by transforming energy
systems, buildings, transportation, and waste management;

Acknowledging that Pacific Coast Jurisdictions and Cities can do much
individually, but can do far more together to shape and benefit from the
low-carbon economy of the future;

Embracing the Pacific Coast’s opportunity to demonstrate global
leadership by providing a model for how decisive, coordinated sub-
national climate action can contribute to robust regional economic
growth and inspire global action on GHG emissions reductions that
meaningfully combat climate change and its impacts;

Observing that the Pacific Coast’s experience with drought, wildfire,
extreme weather, and other impacts are expected to be exacerbated by
climate change, which threatens the environment, private and public
property, cultural and economic resources, and public health and safety
of the region; and

Complementing the policy goals of individual Pacific Coast
Jurisdictions and Cities as well as current intergovernmental
collaborations, specifically the Pacific Coast Collaborative’s Pacific Coast
Action Plan on Climate and Energy; the goals of the Carbon Neutral
Cities Alliance, co-founded by Pacific Coast cities; and the Mayors
National Climate Action Agenda.


I. Low Carbon Buildings
Collaborate on the design and implementation of approaches to large
building energy benchmarking and disclosure, aiming for at least
75% of eligible large building square footage on the Pacific Coast
reporting energy data through harmonized state, provincial, and/or
city programs.

Rationale: Benchmarking and disclosure of energy use in large
buildings.including commercial, institutional, and multifamily
buildings.creates a crucial foundation for long-term strategies to
reduce energy use and GHG emissions. Cities along the Pacific Coast
have created flagship benchmarking and disclosure programs that
serve as models for the entire region. Collaboration among Pacific

Coast Jurisdictions and Cities creates the opportunity to extend these
successful benchmarking and disclosure programs throughout the
region, align state and provincial policy with local implementation,
and leverage shared tools and resources. Working together, Pacific
Coast Jurisdictions and Cities can utilize building-level performance
data to drive deep analysis, policy, investment, and behavior change
strategies that prioritize resources and illuminate the path to low carbon

II. Low Carbon Transportation
Develop and implement approaches that encourage consumer
adoption of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) through incentives and
by urging manufacturers and retailers to increase the volume and
variety of ZEVs commercially available in Pacific Coast markets.

Rationale: At the early stage of ZEV market development, consumer
incentives are a key strategy for developing a mature market. Even
where market demand exists, supply of vehicles needs to be sufficient to
meet demand. California’s Zero Emission Vehicle Program and related
initiatives in other jurisdictions have been instrumental in increasing the
number and variety of vehicles available to consumers. Collaboration
among Pacific Coast Jurisdictions and Cities can accelerate the regional
ZEV market by encouraging and pooling consumer demand and
leveraging state ZEV programs to increase the volume and variety of
vehicles commercially available. Pacific Coast Jurisdictions and Cities
can also provide evidence of market demand and incentives to deliver
vehicles to local markets.

Create a comprehensive Pacific Coast charging network along major
highway systems from Southern California to British Columbia
and accelerate the deployment of residential, workplace, and public
charging infrastructure in major population centers.

Rationale: The West Coast Electric Highway has created an extensive
network of fast charging stations on major highways up and down
the Pacific Coast. This is complemented by ever-increasing charging
infrastructure in and around major cities; for example, Los Angeles
will have the most electric vehicle chargers of any U.S. city by 2017;
Portland and San Francisco have the highest per-capita amount of
public charging infrastructure in the U.S. Charging infrastructure
gives ZEV drivers confidence that recharging is available wherever they
need it, increasing market demand for ZEVs. Collaboration among
Pacific Coast Jurisdictions and Cities creates the opportunity for
coordinated deployment throughout regional and local transportation
systems, economies of scale, and streamlined approaches to charging
infrastructure development.

Join and actively participate in West Coast Electric Fleets, including
identifying and removing barriers to achieving a procurement target
of 10% ZEVs for our fleets and actively encouraging other municipal,
utility, and private sector fleets to commit to ZEV procurement by
joining West Coast Electric Fleets.

Rationale: West Coast Electric Fleets is an initiative of the Pacific Coast
Collaborative to encourage public and private fleet conversion to ZEVs,
aiming for 10% ZEV procurement for all new fleet vehicle purchases in
the region. Pacific Coast Jurisdictions’ and Cities’ fleets are among the
most ambitious adopters of ZEVs in North America. Through active
participation in West Coast Electric Fleets, Pacific Coast Jurisdictions
and Cities have the opportunity to evaluate and highlight the benefits
of ZEVs, encourage other public and private fleets to seize opportunities
for lowering emissions through ZEV adoption, and to influence the
broader market and infrastructure.

III. Low Carbon Energy Systems
Accelerate deployment of distributed and community-scale
renewable energy and work collaboratively on infrastructure and
integration into the grid.

Rationale: The Pacific Coast is leading the way on deployment
of community-scale renewable energy. For example, Portland has
gone from a dozen distributed solar energy systems in 2003 to more
than 3,000 today. Los Angeles leads the country as the city with the
most installed megawatts of solar power, and over 44,000 people are
employed in the solar industry in California alone. Vancouver plans to
be 100 percent renewable for electricity, transportation, heating and
cooling by 2030 or 2035. Cities play a leading role in local deployment
of distributed and community-scale energy while states and provinces
have strong influence on how this energy is integrated into regional
power grids. Together, Pacific Coast Jurisdictions and Cities can seize
opportunities for reducing GHGs through local adoption of distributed
and community-scale energy and address system-wide issues of grid
infrastructure, cost, reliability, and regulatory barriers.

Lower the carbon intensity of heating fuels in residential and
commercial buildings.

Rationale: Reducing the carbon intensity of fuels used to heat buildings
is a key step on the path to net-zero building energy use. Several Pacific
Coast Cities are working to transition residential and commercial
heating to lower carbon fuels and are encouraging new infrastructure
models, such as district heating. Regional collaboration among Pacific
Coast Jurisdictions and Cities provides the opportunity to align state
and provincial utility regulatory policies to support local efforts and
extend successful models to cities throughout the region.

IV. Low Carbon Waste
Advance organic waste prevention and recovery initiatives to reduce
carbon emissions from the food waste stream and return carbon to
the soil through composting.

Rationale: Waste prevention and recycling presents a significant
opportunity to reduce GHG emissions through the lifecycle of
materials upstream and downstream of the consumer. Several Pacific
Coast Cities have ambitious organic waste prevention and recovery
initiatives, including source separation and composting. Collaboration
among Pacific Coast Jurisdictions and Cities will support regional
sharing of best practices and scaling of successful local initiatives,
such as streamlined composting facility permitting requirements and
investments.where diverse infrastructure for recycling
organic materials through food redistribution, composting, digestion,
and carbon sequestration protocols.

V. Interpretation
This agreement is intended to spur finding new, smart ways for our
governments, agencies and staff to work together, and with other
governments and non-government partners, as appropriate, to add
value, efficiency and effectiveness to existing and future initiatives. It is
intended to minimize overlap and duplication of effort, with the goal
of reducing, not increasing, resource demands to achieve objectives that
are shared.

Pacific Coast Jurisdictions and Cities will support progress toward
the goals of this agreement through alignment of programs where
appropriate, and investment in data-driven outreach, stakeholder
engagement, and policy development and implementation at the state,
provincial, and local levels.

VI. Limitations
This document shall have no legal effect; impose no legally binding
obligation enforceable in any court of law or other tribunal of any sort,
nor create any funding expectation; nor shall Pacific Coast Jurisdictions
and Cities be responsible for the actions of third parties or associates.
This document does not change, influence, or create new legal
relationships among Pacific Coast Jurisdictions and Cities.

VII. Term
This agreement is effective when signed by all parties. Progress will
be assessed and the agreement reevaluated in three years. It may be
amended at any time by agreement among the signatories, including
adding signatories and adding or revising commitments. Any signatory
government may withdraw upon written notice to the others.

Signed in San Francisco, California this 1st day of June, 2016.

Christy Clark

Premier of British Columbia

Edmund G. Brown Jr.

Governor of California

Eric Garcetti

Mayor of Los Angeles

Libby Schaaf

Mayor of Oakland

Charlie Hales

Mayor of Portland

Kate Brown

Governor of Oregon

Jay Inslee

Governor of Washington

Edwin M. Lee

Mayor of San Francisco

Edward B. Murray

Mayor of Seattle

Gregor Robertson

Mayor of Vancouver

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