Last week, California joined Oregon and Washington in signing a pact with British Columbia called the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, which forms an alliance to set shared fuel standards and mandates for cutting carbon emissions.
Todd Woody at Quartz has a good take on the significance of the alliance.
In Ernest Callenbach’s 1975 novel Ecotopia, northern California, Oregon and Washington secede from a US in financial collapse to form an ecological superpower fueled by renewable energy and electric cars. Yesterday, California, Oregon and Washington, along with British Columbia, signed a pact to form an environmental alliance powered by renewable energy and electric cars. The future is now.
Woody notes that while the plan is "voluntary, non-binding and comes with not a dollar to fund its implementation", it should still be seen as an important move for environmentalists, because of the power these west coast states have in influencing the rest of the United States.
Together, the west coast of the US and Canada boasts a population of 53 million and would form the world’s fifth-largest economy, a Pacific Rim center of technological innovation with a gross domestic product of $2.8 trillion.
If you’re a business executive, yesterday’s action should give pause. Success at creating common renewable energy and efficiency policies—for appliances, buildings, cars—across the states and British Columbia will create a market far too big to ignore. And one that will likely create de facto national standards in the US, just as the long-standing alliance between California and northeastern states on automobile emissions led the federal government to impose similar national clean air standards.