Pacific Northwest group warns of climate change dangers
British Columbia and Washington state launched a joint effort to warn residents about the danger that climate change poses to coastal communities.
Wed, Feb 02 2011 at 6:15 PM
WASHINGTON COAST: Officials say they hope that by increasing public awareness about issues such as rising sea levels they can revive flagging support for fighting global warming. (Photo: jupiterimages)
VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Washington state and the province of British Columbia launched a joint effort on Wednesday to warn residents of North America's Pacific Northwest about the danger that climate change poses to coastal communities.
Officials say they hope that by increasing public awareness about issues such as rising sea levels they can revive flagging support for fighting global warming in the neighboring U.S. state and Canadian province.
"People need to understand what the impacts (of climate change) are," said Ted Sturdevant, director of the Washington Department of Ecology, warning that the issue is already effecting the coastal region.
Sturdevant said science about climate change has become "politicized" in the eyes of the public, and officials have to do a better job communicating what is known.
Washington and British Columbia are members of the Western Climate Initiative, a coalition of seven western states and four provinces that have agreed to launch a regional carbon cap-and-trade system.
The WCI, which is spearheaded by California, was launched because of concerns the U.S. and Canadian federal governments were not doing enough to fight climate change.
But the regional group has had its own struggles, with only three provinces, British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario, and two states, California and New Mexico, expected to be ready when the WCI's carbon-trading market begins next year.
British Columbia remains committed to the Western Climate Initiative and the development of a carbon cap-and-trade system that is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, said John Yap, the province's climate minister.
Sturdevant acknowledged that while the WCI was developed around the idea of building a carbon-trading market, it is having look at a "portfolio" of ideas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Efforts to develop a national trading system in the United States have stalled, and Ottawa remains cool to the idea, saying Canada's actions must tied to what is done in the United States, its biggest trading partner.
(Reporting Allan Dowd; editing by Rob Wilson)
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