This morning, British Columbia’s Climate Minister John Yap and Washington’s Director of Ecology Ted Sturdevant signed a pair agreements on joint climate action. (Early media coverage here and here.) One agreement commits to mutually supporting efforts to move toward carbon neutral state/provincial governmental operations. The second agreement sets out a plan for working together to educate the public about climate impacts, particularly sea level rise, an area where BC and Washington have much in common.
While it’s true that neither agreement carries the force of law—and they do not therefore mark a truly of game-changing event—I think it’s possible to undersell the significance of the signing. I’d argue that public education about the true scope and scale of climate impacts may be the most important thing that state officials can do right now, practically speaking. In a environment that is relatively unfriendly to serious carbon policy, making clear the local threats posed by climate change may prove to have a salutary effect on the body politic.
Also, I see that the Department of Ecology has recently released an updated greenhouse gas inventory for Washington. I won’t be able to dig into it until I can find some nice cozy block of time in my schedule, so I’d very much welcome thoughts on it from any of the wonktastic folks who read this blog.