June 18, 2007

Manitoba signs on to western initiative

Next door, meanwhile, Manitoba has become the second province, following British Columbia, to join the Western Climate Change Initiative as a full signatory. Premier Gary Doer, who also attended the western governors' meeting in Deadwood, said, "Global warming is a challenge that respects no border. Manitoba has a climate change action plan that includes legislating Kyoto targets, setting a made-in-Manitoba vehicle standard, reducing emissions from our larger landfills, enshrining leading-edge green building and fleet vehicle standards and phasing out the last remaining coal-fired generation facility in the province." The agreement, he added, "will enable us to work with other states and provinces to build on these actions."

The Initiative began in February when the Governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington jointly signed an agreement to establish a regional GHG reduction goal and develop market-based strategies to achieve the goal. BC joined the Initiative in April and Utah joined in May. Through the Initiative, states and provinces will work together to identify, evaluate and implement ways to collectively reduce GHG gas emissions in the region and to achieve related co-benefits.

Some of the specific provisions of the Western Climate Change Initiative agreement include:

* Setting an overall regional goal by August 2007 to reduce emissions from the province and the states collectively, consistent with state-by-state and provincial goals;

* Participating in a multi-jurisdictional GHG registry to enable tracking, management, and crediting for entities that reduce GHG emissions, consistent with the state/provincial GHG reporting mechanisms and requirements.

* Developing, within 18 months of the effective date of the agreement (i.e., by August 2008), a design for a regional market-based multi-sector mechanism to achieve the regional GHG reduction goal; and

* Promoting greater energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, advocating for national climate policies and determining measures to adapt to climate change.

The participants are all members of the Climate Registry, a new cross-border greenhouse gas registry that kicked off last month with 34 state, 2 provincial, and 3 tribal members. The Registry is the largest co-operative effort in the U.S. on climate change, its 34 participating states making up over 70% of the U.S. population.

The goal of the Registry is to act as a mechanism for measuring, tracking, verifying and publicly reporting GHG emissions accurately, transparently and consistently across borders and industry sectors. This is seen as a critical first step in developing robust programs to reduce emissions across the U.S. and North America.

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