WESTERN CLIMATE INITIATIVE MEMBERS SET REGIONAL TARGET
TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
Eight States, Provinces Agree to Reduce Emissions by 15 Percent Below 2005 Levels by 2020
Governor Janet Napolitano, along with the other seven members of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), today announced the establishment of a regional goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the West to 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
"Climate change is another important national and international issue where the U.S. federal government is choosing to delay action," said Governor Napolitano. "It has been left up to the states and provinces of North America to recognize the critical need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide the solution not just rhetoric. WCI members are leading the fight against climate change."
In February of this year Napolitano and the governors of California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington created the WCI with a long-term commitment to significantly reduce regional GHG emissions thus lowering the risk of dangerous threats to the climate. Science suggests that this will require worldwide reductions between 50 and 85 percent in carbon dioxide emissions from current levels by 2050.
As part of this commitment, members of the WCI agreed to establish a Western regional GHG reduction goal by the end of August 2007 and design a multi-sector market-based mechanism, such as a load-based cap-and-trade program, by the end of August 2008 to help reach the goal. Each member will also participate in a multi-state GHG emissions registry.
Since February the state of Utah and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Manitoba also have joined the WCI. All eight states and provinces jointly agreed to the economy-wide regional goal announced today.
The regional goal reflects the combined impact of the individual GHG emissions goals that each WCI member has already set for itself and does not replace the members' individual goals. WCI members will use the regional goal in the design of the multi-sector market-based mechanism. Other U.S. states, tribes, Canadian provinces and Mexican states seeking to join the WCI must have an economy-wide greenhouse gas reduction goal that is consistent with the regional goal, in addition to other factors.
Presently, four other U.S. states (Colorado, Kansas, Nevada and Wyoming), three other Canadian provinces (Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan) and one Mexican state (Sonora) are participating as observers to the WCI's deliberations. Some of these entities, as well as others, may seek to join the WCI as full members.
The Western Regional Climate Initiative builds on existing greenhouse gas reduction efforts in Arizona. Last fall, Governor Napolitano issued an executive order setting a goal to reduce Arizona's greenhouse gas emissions to the 2000 emissions level by the year 2020 and to reduce emissions to 50 percent below the 2000 level by 2040.
Napolitano also directed state agencies to take a number of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including requiring state agencies to purchase only vehicles that are hybrids, meet low-greenhouse gas emissions standards, or use clean-burning fuels.
In 2005, Governor Napolitano appointed the Arizona Climate Change Advisory Group, which in August 2006 issued 49 recommendations for reducing Arizona's greenhouse gas emissions. One of the group's recommendations called for Arizona to join with other western states to create a regional greenhouse gas reduction program, such as a cap-and-trade program. The Western Regional Climate Action Initiative implements that recommendation.
WCI members have also begun work on meeting the August 2008 deadline for designing the multi-sector market-based mechanism. All eight WCI members joined The Climate Registry, a GHG emissions registry consisting of more than forty U.S. states, tribes, Canadian provinces and Mexican states.