Inslee discusses new efforts to defeat climate change at Global Climate Action Summit

The summit drew leaders from around the world committed to fighting this global threat

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks during a U.S. Climate Alliance panel about innovations in energy and transportation on Wednesday in San Francisco. (Office of the Governor photo)

Gov. Jay Inslee joined national and international leaders this week at The Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, where he helped launch new commitments and accelerated action in the fight against climate change.

He joined people from around the world to acknowledge climate achievements of states, regions, cities, companies, investors and individuals, engaging in discussions on the clean energy economy and the role states can play given the federal leadership on climate change.

Inslee’s involvement in the summit kicked off Tuesday with his keynote address at Carbon Smart Building Day. On Wednesday, he discussed how governments and companies can use procurement to close the carbon loophole.

“The West Coast represents the world’s fifth largest economy and we are creating a blueprint for other regions. We are building a thriving, innovative economy that combats climate change and embraces a zero-emission future. Our efforts aren’t just building a clean energy economy, they’re also creating great places to live,” Inslee said. “We are already seeing the impact of climate change in Washington state, and that’s why we must do whatever we can to protect our environment and our economy.”

Collaboration on climate change

Inslee is the co-chair of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 17 governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris agreement. Inslee and other governors participated in a dialogue with other North American climate leaders and laid out a Climate Action Roadmap that includes:

  • Protecting our natural and working lands.
  • Driving down potent, short-lived climate pollutants.
  • Transforming transportation to reduce emissions.
  • Increasing access to affordable clean energy for all.
  • Saving families money and avoiding emissions through improved appliance efficiency standards.
Gov. Jay Inslee speaks to media about the U.S. Climate Alliance at the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit. The U.S. Climate Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of 17 governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement targets. (Office of the Governor video)

Along with Oregon, California and British Columbia, Washington state is also part of the Pacific Coast Collaborative. The PCC is working to build a low-carbon regional economy by facilitating collaboration on climate issues across borders along the West Coast.

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks during a meeting of the Under2 Coalition General Assembly on Wednesday in San Francisco. Inslee was selected as North America co-chair of the coalition. (Office of the Governor photo)

On Wednesday, Inslee officially assumed a new leadership role as co-chair of the Under2 Coalition for North America. As part of the Under2 Coalition commitments in San Francisco, Washington state joined the International ZEV Alliance and the Under2 Zero Emission Vehicle Challenge, which commits us transition all state vehicle fleets to zero-emission vehicles by 2050. Inslee committed to taking Washington’s initiative to the next level: 50 percent of all new state passenger vehicle purchases in Washington will be electric by 2020.

Additionally, to drive down the emission of these harmful pollutants, Canada and Mexico accepted the Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Challenge issued by the U.S. Climate Alliance, and the governors agreed to develop and implement ambitious strategies to reduce short-lived climate pollutants.

While in California, Inslee also hosted a conversation with former Secretary of State John Kerry about his new memoir “Every Day is Extra.” During the meeting they discussed opportunities and challenges facing the United States and the globe because of climate change.

Gov. Jay Inslee and former Secretary of State John Kerry. (Office of the Governor photo)

Ocean acidification

Inslee provided remarks at a plenary on ocean acidification, particularly how climate change is having global impacts to oceans in the form of acidification, warming and coral bleaching. Ocean acidification puts our marine ecosystems, economies, cultural traditions and food security at risk, and the West Coast of the United States is one of the most vulnerable areas in the world to ocean acidification.

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks Friday in San Francisco about the importance of fighting ocean acidification, which is caused by carbon pollution. (Office of the Governor photo)

Along with other West Coast leaders, Inslee founded the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification. Today the alliance has over 65 members committed to take actions to address ocean acidification.

Agreement with the United Kingdom

On Friday, Inslee signed a bilateral agreement on zero-emission vehicles with United Kingdom Foreign Minister Mark Field, Consul General Andrew Whittaker and United Kingdom Climate Change Envoy Nick Bridge.

“The state of Washington, like the United Kingdom, is taking a hugely important step in committing to an emissions-free future for transport,” Field said. “Vehicle emissions have a major impact on our climate and the quality of the air that we breathe. As governments across the world sign up to this ambitious pledge, we are accelerating progress towards a cleaner, healthier future for our people and future generations.”

United Kingdom Foreign Minister Mark Field and Gov. Jay Inslee shake hands while signing an agreement on the promotion of zero-emission vehicles Friday in San Francisco. (Office of the Governor photo)

Pacific Coast Collaborative resilience

Finally, Inslee, mayor of Portland Ted Wheeler and mayor of Vancouver, British Columbia Gregor Robertson announced a new effort to strengthen climate resilience on behalf of the Pacific Coast Collaborative.

This effort has taken on new urgency in light of unprecedented wildfires and intensifying climate-fueled natural disasters across the West Coast this summer. The PCC will facilitate cross-jurisdiction learning and collaboration on climate resilience for local communities and infrastructure.

PCC members will identify successful programs and approaches that are leading to enhanced resilience across the region. They will also explore specific opportunities for regional collaboration on key issues, such as mobilizing public and private resources to increase climate resilience in communities, integration of climate resilience into government policies, and infrastructure finance, among others.

These efforts will help governments share relevant information, and will result in actionable, timely and specific recommendations for action on key issues. A particular emphasis will be on working to ensure the most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations in our communities can thrive in a climate-impacted world, with special attention to those living in rural, impoverished, vulnerable or isolated areas.

“I am inspired by everyone I met in San Francisco,” Inslee said. “The Global Climate Action Summit was a great opportunity for me to share the good work we are doing in Washington state and work collaboratively with our national and international partners on opportunities to fight climate change and grow our clean energy economies.”