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Originally published Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 3:57 PM

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Editorial: Pacific unity on climate change

The three Pacific Coast governors and the premier of British Columbia agree on a climate and energy action plan. Focus on Olympia.


Seattle Times Editorial

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The PacCoast governors and the premier of BC cannot enter into a treaty agreement. ... MORE
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WASHINGTON Gov. Jay Inslee, the governors of Oregon and California, and the premier of British Columbia held an attention-grabbing session in San Francisco on climate change.

One could argue Inslee attended vastly more important gatherings recently in Spokane and Seattle. The outcome of those sessions will determine what is truly the Golden Gate to new pollution and renewable energy policies.

Monday’s gathering in San Francisco produced the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy. It represents a commitment toward a joint effort on accounting for the cost of carbon pollution and achieving low-carbon fuel standards — all manner of energy efficiency and purposeful attention to ocean acidification.

The document had two passages not to be overlooked. One was an opening acknowledgment that the effort was carrying on a regional conversation that started in 2008. The other was a closing paragraph that said the document was not binding in the slightest on anyone.

A worthy package of good intentions, and a status update. Otherwise, not that much at this point.

Virtually all of the energy and climate improvements must get through the state Legislature. Similar efforts date to 2007, at least. Govs. Gary Locke and Chris Gregoire, King County Executive Ron Sims and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels had agendas, reports, legislation and good intentions too.

For all this good stuff to happen, Inslee needs to build a bipartisan legislative pathway.

The governor’s 2013 Climate Change Action bill created a legislative and executive working group to recommend a path forward to achieve climate and emissions goals already on the books.

The five-member climate panel includes Inslee, state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, state Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, state Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, and state Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy.

Inslee and others are holding hearings to take public testimony and lay out a half dozen policy suggestions.

Good intentions have dazzled in the past, and been sunk by a failing economy or expectations of federal action. A rebounding economy and gridlocked Congress change the political environment.

Building a bipartisan case in Olympia for good ideas is key to progress.




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