Six Western States Join Two Canadian Provinces in Carbon-Reduction Compact

August 23, 2007

The leaders of six Western states and two Canadian provinces approved the Western Climate Initiative on Wednesday. The initiative sets mandatory targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by 15% in 2020. The initiative also gives the region one year to establish a market mechanism such as cap-and-trade for enabling businesses to meet their targets.

Photo of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger seated at a table and writing with several people looking on from behind.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill setting mandatory reductions of greenhouse bases on Treasure Island in San Francisco in September 2006.
California governor's office.

The Western Climate Initiative includes the U.S. states of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and British Columbia. According to news reports, the initiative is led by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2006, Schwarzenegger signed the region's first law setting mandatory targets for reducing carbon emissions.

In a statement issued from San Francisco Wednesday about the Western Climate Initiative, Schwarzenegger said, "Our collective commitment will build a successful regional system to be linked with other efforts across the nation and eventually the world." California accounts for two percent of the world's emissions of greenhouse gases.

According to California Secretary for Environmental Protection Linda Adams, the regional nature of the compact gives it considerable strength and sends a strong signal to consumers and businesses that emissions reduction targets are real. Adams also said the agreement is large enough that it will be difficult for firms with high emissions to avoid the targets simply by moving operations to a nearby state.

All of the states and provinces signing the compact had previously agreed to the emissions reduction targets in separate actions. "No one is being asked to do more or less than they have already committed to doing,” said Janice Adair of the Washington Department of Ecology. Adair noted that now the hard bargaining begins about how to establish a regional market for emissions trading by August 2008.

Source: August 22 article that was published online and distributed by Reuters and titled "U.S., Canadian West Set Joint Carbon-Cutting Target".