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Eight U.S. Western states to join efforts in fighting global warming
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2007-08-23 14:11
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced on Wednesday that eight U.S. Western states would join hands in slowing global warming.

These eight states would take steps to establish North America's most comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction system under the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), Schwarzenegger said in a statement e-mailed to Xinhua.

"The goal is to reduce greenhouse gases by 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, which reflects the cumulative total of individual reduction goals for each state and province," said the statement.

The total reductions are expected to exceed 350 million metric tons, according to the statement.

The WCI was established earlier this year when Schwarzenegger signed a Memorandum of Understanding with four other states to partner in the fight against climate change.

"Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution. California is proud to be among the Western Climate Initiative partners taking this important step to establish the most comprehensive regional greenhouse gas emission reduction goalin North America ," said Schwarzenegger. "Our collective commitment will build a successful regional system to be linked with other efforts across the nation and eventually the world."

Recognizing the need to respond immediately to the potential impacts of global warming, states and provinces are joining together to establish complementary greenhouse gas reduction programs to ensure maximum environmental benefits, said the statement.

In the absence of federal action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, states and provinces are leading the way, said the governor.

The WCI is a historic effort to collaborate climate action efforts between U.S. states and Canadian provinces in the Western part of North America. The agreement was originally signed by the governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington at the 2007 National Governor's Association winter meeting in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 26, 2007. Utah and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and British Columbia also have joined.

Additionally, several other states are observing the WCI proceedings including Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, Wyoming, Sonora, Mexico, and Ontario and Quebec, Canada. To join, partner states and provinces must be willing to agree to the principles of the original initiative, as well as the goals outlined in the goals statement.

Within the next year, the WCI will publish a proposal for establishing a regional carbon emissions trading system. The proposal will be a resource for the California Air Resources Board, which is ultimately responsible for considering, developing and implementing an emissions trading system in California .

The WCI complements California's implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) by bringing together partners outside of California to work on a parallel track to lay the groundwork for a regional carbon emissions trading system. The WCI allows states and provinces to better anticipate and correct potential linkage challenges when developing their own greenhouse gas reduction programs so they can obtain the maximum environmental benefit.

Last September, the governor signed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, California's landmark bill that established a first-in-the-world comprehensive program of regulatory and market mechanisms to achieve real, quantifiable, cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gases. In California, the law will reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. Governor Schwarzenegger has also called for the state to reduce carbon emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050.

In January of this year, the governor also announced the world's first Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) for transportation fuels that requires fuel providers to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels sold in California. This first-of-its kind standard firmly establishes sustainable demand for lower-carbon fuels but without favoring one fuel over another. By 2020, the standard will reduce the carbon intensity of California's passenger vehicle fuels by at least 10 percent. 

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