Climate experts at the World Resources Institute (WRI) applaud the six Midwestern governors and Manitoban premier who have released today recommendations for a regional cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“The Midwestern governors recognize the need to tackle climate change while simultaneously growing the economy,” said Franz Litz, senior fellow at WRI who advised the region. “In the absence of federal climate legislation, regional partnerships are vital to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, spurring energy innovations, and creating green jobs.”
Signed by the governors of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and the premiere of Manitoba, Canada, the recommendations are the result of an 18-month process that began in 2007 when the governors formed the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord.
Following other regional carbon-trading agreements in the western and northeastern U.S., this is the first to address the unique climate challenges faced in America’s heartland.
In the Northeast, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) caps carbon-dioxide emissions from large electric utilities in 10 eastern states with a goal of reducing emissions by 10 percent by 2018. The Western Climate Initiative (WCI) is a cap-and-trade program covering various industries in seven western states and four Canadian provinces. WCI released its design last fall.
The Midwestern program’s design will focus on promoting carbon sequestration through good agricultural practices, investment in carbon capture and storage, and energy efficiency.
“If a cap-and-trade program can work for the midwestern, northeastern and western regions, it can also work for the entire country. These agreements should form the basis of a federal greenhouse gas emissions market under the Obama administration,” Litz said. “WRI’s climate policy experts will continue to work with both state governments and federal policy makers to develop a program design that works nationwide.”
The governors of Indiana, Ohio, South Dakota and the premier of Ontario will observe the recommendations for now.