Western Climate Initiative Moves On, Goes Forward

U.S. states and Canadian provinces take up the slack where their respective Federal governments dither and delay on climate change action. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger met with the British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, where they discussed mutually important issues including energy and the environment. The following photo was taken in the Governor’s Office at the State Capitol in Sacramento, California earlier this month.  Photo credit: Justin Short.

The WCI was launched in February 2007 by the governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington to develop regional strategies to address climate change. The initiative expanded to include the states of Montana and Utah, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. The partners set a regional goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

“The detailed plan for a regional carbon market released today [July 27] by the Western Climate Initiative reminds us that states—and provinces—are ready, willing and able to lead the way to a clean energy economy in the absence of federal leadership.

“This plan has been in the works for many months, but the timing of its release coincides with frustrating news that the chances of the U.S. Senate passing a comprehensive climate and energy bill this session are slim. – Erin Rogers, manager of the Western States Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

The Western Climate Initiative is the largest climate collaboration in North America, representing 3/4 of Canada’s economy and 50% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

When implemented, the WCI program will be the most comprehensive carbon-reduction strategy adopted anywhere in the world. It is “economy-wide,” meaning that all sectors – energy, industry and transportation – participate in addressing climate change as well as receive the economic benefits. Together, the seven states and four provinces that make up the WCI represent over 20 percent of the U.S. economy and 70 percent of the Canadian economy.

Ian Bruce writes on David Suzuki’s website that: This could be the most significant blueprint for climate change emissions reductions in North America, as long as the partners, including B.C., Ontario, Manitoba, and Quebec, close several major loopholes in the regulations…Read MORE

For a copy of the detailed program design or for more information on the WCI visitwww.westernclimateinitiative.org/news-and-updates.

In related news, California is out ahead of the U.S. pack when it comes to clean-tech investment. As reported in L.A. Times Blog by Tiffany Hsu, “Venture capital investment in clean-tech companies for the second quarter hit $1.5 billion — a 63.8% increase from the same quarter in 2009 and the highest amount since the third quarter of 2008, according to Ernst & Young. And again as reported in L.A. Times Blog: “Solar companies ended the quarter with 182.6% more funding than in the same period in 2009. Of that $438.8 million pot, Brightsource Energy Inc. of Oakland tucked away $180 million.”

And with $265.7 million, biofuel firms saw a 517.2% boom compared to last year.”  Solar and Electric vehicles seem to be the darlings of the day with Israeli/ Palo Alto-based A Better Place recently scoring $350Million in Funding.

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