Department of Ecology News Release - August 22, 2007
OLYMPIA - The eight members of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) today announced that they have established a regional goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the West to 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
In February of this year, the governors of Washington, Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Oregon 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, WCI members agreed to establish a Western regional GHG reduction goal by the end of August 2007. They also agreed to 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 upon the economy-wide regional goal announced today.
The regional goal combines the individual GHG emissions goals that each WCI member already has set. It does not replace the members' individual goals. The WCI members will use the regional goal in the design of the multi-sector market-based mechanism. Also, other U.S. states, tribes, Canadian provinces and Mexican states that want 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.
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 in the future.
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said, "In the absence of federal leadership, states and provinces have stepped up to meet the challenge of global climate change. We are working together to agree on common goals that will reduce our region's contribution to the problem while recognizing the states' individual goals. In Washington, we are committed to meeting the challenge and seizing the opportunities presented by climate change."
In February 2007, Gov. Gregoire signed an executive order establishing state goals for reductions in climate pollution, increases in jobs, and reductions in expenditures on imported fuel. She also directed the Departments of Ecology and Community, Trade and Economic Development to work with stakeholders from the state's business community, environmental and natural resources interests, local and state governments, and power producers to recommend strategies for achieving the goals. This Climate Advisory Team is assisted by technical working groups that focus on specific sectors, such as transportation and energy supply. To review the goals go to: http://www.governor.wa.gov/execorders/eo_07-02.pdf
In addition to establishing the regional GHG reduction goal, the WCI members have begun work on meeting the August 2008 deadline for designing the multi-sector market-based mechanism. All eight WCI members also have joined The Climate Registry, a GHG emissions registry consisting of more than 40 U.S. states, tribes, Canadian provinces and Mexican states.
Policy representatives for the WCI members chose Washington's Janice Adair to chair their group. Adair is a special assistant to Jay Manning, director of the Washington Department of Ecology.
More information about the WCI, including the regional goal and how it was calculated, is available on the WCI's website at www.westernclimateinitiative.org.
Washington's WCI contact: Janice Adair, 360-407-0291
Media contacts: Seth Preston, 360-407-6848; Nelsa Brodie, 360-407-7139
Learn more about Washington's climate change efforts: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange
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