From the Editor: Pacific Coast Partnership

Pictured from left, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and British Columbia Premier John Horgan met in San Francisco on Oct. 6 to renew a shared commitment to building a low-carbon economy. Courtesy photo.

The governors of three U.S. Pacific Coast states and British Columbia’s premier gathered in San Francisco recently to sign an agreement that looks like it could result in additional environmental initiatives being launched at West Coast ports.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and British Columbia Premier John Horgan signed the Pacific Coast Collaborative Statement of Cooperation on Oct. 6.

The Statement of Cooperation (SOC) promotes collaboration between the four regional governments on accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy, investing in climate infrastructure like electric vehicle charging stations and a clean electric grid, and protecting communities from climate impacts like drought, wildfire, heat waves and sea-level changes.

“By signing this statement of cooperation, we’re building on our strengths as leaders in climate action and positioning ourselves for success in a clean energy economy,” Horgan said. “Working together, we’re charting a path to a cleaner, stronger future with good jobs and opportunities – for people on both sides of the border.”

Of potential significance for port terminal operators and tenants is that seaports are specifically mentioned.

Among the agreements’ commitments are the launch of a regional dialogue with ports and other levels of government where appropriate about how to achieve collective decarbonization goals through strategies such as electrifying drayage and cargo handling equipment; investing in infrastructure for shore power that helps reduce emissions from ships; and pursuing strategies to advance low- and zero-carbon shipping, including increased dialogue and coordination with shippers to advance green shipping and the supply chain.

“We support the efforts of our maritime ports to invest in decarbonizing and modernizing their infrastructure,” the agreement states in part. “West Coast ports are a vital engine of regional economic prosperity. They are world-leading examples of ambitious plans and agreements to decarbonize and modernize their land-based operations, technologies, and logistics, and to catalyze emissions reductions from ships.”

“Our collective efforts can help our ports achieve their emissions goals while maintaining a competitive edge globally and ensuring a continued race to the top within the region,” the document continues.

The agreement includes commitments to support “an equitable and just transition to a low carbon and climate resilient future,” as well as investing in climate infrastructure, such as electric vehicle charging stations, green ports, and a “clean and reliable” electric grid.

“We share ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at least 80% by 2050,” the collaborative members said in a statement.

“This new agreement reaffirms our commitments to decarbonize our economies at a time when the consequences of victory or defeat in this effort have never been more acute,” Inslee said. “Our partnerships speak to just how diverse and interconnected the green energy economy has already become.”

“We know where it goes from here – onward to a cleaner, cheaper, and more efficient energy economy,” he continued. “Together we will invest in an equitable transition to a cleaner future (and) build the climate infrastructure we need.”

The Pacific Coast of North America represents a region of 57 million people with a combined gross domestic product of $3.5 trillion, according to coalition data.

“The West Coast is united as we lead the way towards a clean energy future that helps our entire region and economies to thrive,” Brown said. “In Oregon, we have set ambitious goals to reach 100% clean energy sources, reduce carbon emissions, and comprehensively address climate change.”

According to Washington state data, the clean energy and clean technology sectors continue to grow in the United States, outpacing fossil energy jobs. Washington’s clean energy sector continues to grow with nearly 77,000 jobs currently in that industry.

And if the agreement between the three states and province reaches its goals, then seaports up and down the West Coast could see a sizable number of electrification and clean energy projects – such as shoreside power, solar energy and wind energy development – plotted and launched in the coming months and years.

By Mark Edward Nero