Midwestern governors deserve greater recognition for what they have done to implement a regional cap-and-trade program.
While it is true that states in the Northeast and the West have been leaders in tackling climate change through the design and implementation of mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions, the media too often leaves out a similar effort in America’s heartland.
It may be true, as Mr. Broder of the New York Times has suggested, that the Midwest brings specific and legitimate concerns to the debate on a national climate change policy. The suggestion, however, that the Midwest seeks to delay or otherwise weaken efforts to cap and reduce emissions nationwide is directly contradicted by the actions of the region’s governors.
The governors of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin are nearing completion of a process started in November 2007 to design and implement a mandatory cap-and-trade program to reduce emissions across the Midwest.
The Midwestern Accord, like the Western Climate Initiative, is in development and will be operational by 2012. These two markets, along with the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), will cover over half the U.S. population.
WRI’s work with the states participating in the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord has shown they are every bit as serious about reducing emissions as their northeastern and western counterparts.
They expect the introduction of a regional cap to spur energy innovation, create green jobs, and improve their states’ energy and economic security.
Congress can and should learn from these states.