Governor Kaine, United Kingdom Forge New Agreement to Address Climate Change Issues
- Virginia joins growing list of states partnering with UK in global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote low-carbon technologies -
Governor Timothy M. Kaine and Her Majesty's Ambassador to the United States, Sir Nigel Sheinwald of the United Kingdom, signed a bilateral "Climate Change Action Agreement" at the Virginia Capitol today that commits each government to the common goals of combating the effects of climate change and developing a more climate-friendly economy.
"Virginia and the UK recognize that climate change is a global phenomenon and combating it requires global partnerships," said Governor Kaine. "Sir Nigel and I believe this agreement will help bring together Virginia and UK researchers, entrepreneurs, and environmental educators to achieve greenhouse gas reductions, promote energy efficiency and independence, and promote the development of a green economy."
Virginia is the fifth state to enter a bilateral Climate Change Action Agreement with the United Kingdomjoining California, Florida, Wisconsin, and Michigan in a growing global effort to address climate change issues. Under the terms of the agreement, Virginia and the United Kingdom jointly agree to:
1. Promote policies that cut emissions and develop a green economy at home.
2. Promote market-based policies that reduce emissions globally.
3. Improve scientific understanding of climate change's effects.
4. Develop technology to mitigate and reduce the effects of climate change
5. Encourage climate-friendly economic development.
6. Raise public awareness of the effects of climate change.
As Virginia and the UK work together on strategies to combat global warming, their governments will seek opportunities to share relevant research and encourage trade in alternative and renewable energy technologies. In particular, the agreement signed today advances a number of recommendations made by the Governor's Commission on Climate Change launched in 2007 by Executive Order 59. It emphasizes the importance of a market-based cap-and-trade program designed to limit carbon dioxide emissions that are contributing to the earth's warming. Great Britain currently participates in the European emissions trading program, which has a goal of reducing greenhouse gases on a continental scale by 8% below 1990 levels by 2012. Governor Kaine has long advocated a federal, nationwide cap-and-trade program to bring about annual CO2 reductions in the United States and has proposed a 19% reduction in electricity consumption in Virginia by 2025, the top recommendation of the Governor's Commission on Climate Change.
The Virginia-UK agreement also recognizes the two governments share research interests and assets, especially in offshore renewable energy production. The Virginia Energy Plan, released by Governor Kaine in September 2007, encourages research and development of the state's coastal resources for energy productionincluding offshore wind, current, and marine biomass production. Virginia's colleges and universities and the Virginia Costal Energy Research Consortium are considered leaders in the development of this technology domestically while the UK is recognized internationally as a leader in offshore tidal and wind energy research and production.
"Today the UK and Virginia sign an agreement to strengthen our relationship and to work together to cut emissions, increase the use of renewable energy, and better understand the science of climate change," said Sir Nigel Sheinwald. "Meeting the challenges of energy security, economic growth and climate change will define the economic and environmental health of our two countries, and of states like Virginia, in the 21st century."
Today's announcement comes as Governor Kaine continues to move his "Renew Virginia" initiative. Renew Virginia is focused on promoting renewable energy, creating green jobs, and encouraging preservation of the environment.