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Report requires ‘mega-region’ to unite on local weather as Cascadia leaders meet at U.S.-Canada border

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Seattle, Portland and Vancouver, B.C., are the major cities of the Cascadia region. (Canva Pro Photos)

A new report commissioned by the Cascadia Innovation Corridor cross-border initiative recommends 14 “high-impact actions” that government and business leaders in Washington state, Oregon, and British Columbia could pursue together to address the impact of climate change.

The recommendations include steps to accelerate the adoption of electric cars and trucks and hydrogen energy; turn forestry and municipal waste into aviation fuel; retrofit residential and commercial buildings; and increase the use of data analysis and artificial intelligence to prevent and fight wildfires, among other initiatives.

Underscoring the need to move quickly, the report also identifies potential funding sources, including the U.S. Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed in 2021, and the more recent Inflation Reduction Act.

“With 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases emitted annually across the globe, Cascadia alone can’t solve the urgent and massive climate challenge, but we can and must do our part by becoming the first sustainable mega-region,” write the Cascadia Innovation Corridor co-chairs, former Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and Greg D’Avignon, president and CEO of the Business Council of B.C., introducing the report.

Prepared by Boston Consulting Group, the report was released Monday morning in advance of the Cascadia 2050 Vision conference, taking place over the next two days in Blaine, Wash., near the U.S.-Canada border.

A chart from the new report, “Cascadia 2050 Vision, Moving to Climate Action,” shows the potential trajectories of global greenhouse gas emissions, depending on different levels of action. (Source: Boston Consulting Group)

Speakers will include Chief Ian Campbell of the Squamish Nation, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, and British Columbia Premier John Horgan.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, author of a recent book on climate change and sustainability, will speak at the conference with Microsoft President Brad Smith.

Also at the conference, the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Portland International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport are expected to announce plans to collaborate on climate initiatives.

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Other topics will include the perennial subject of bringing high-speed rail to the region, which received an allocation of more than $150 million in funding from Washington state this year, contingent on federal matching grants.

Here are the 14 actions recommended by the report. Read the full report here.

  • Accelerate the adoption and rollout of medium-to-heavy duty electric vehicles
  • Standardize and expand light-duty electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • Convene stakeholders across the hydrogen value-chain to develop green hydrogen economy
  • Expand port partnership including green corridors and electrification of operation
  • Partner across sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) value chain to turn regional feedstocks into economic assets
  • Equitably increase access to cost effective energy solutions for manufacturing, residential, and commercial buildings, including heat pumps and other retrofits
  • Reduce peak demand through innovative and optimized demand response strategies in industrial, residential, and commercial buildings
  • Identify and build new renewable energy sources while effectively addressing siting concerns
  • Co-invest to accelerate R&D and deployment of innovative storage solutions
  • Establish cost sharing programs to support shared infrastructure development such as [electricity] transmission
  • Expand mechanisms to increase on-site renewable energy generation and storage
  • Invest in and scale proven and promising engineered and nature-based carbon removal solutions
  • Use data-driven, low-intensity prescribed burns to reduce wildfire fuel loads
  • Coordinate data and AI usage across private and public sectors to improve wildfire response effectiveness e.g., firefighting, detection, evacuation

We’ll have more coverage from the conference on GeekWire over the next two days.

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