Select States, Provinces Advance Greenhouse Gas Policy
Although the federal government seems unable to muster the power to pass climate and energy legislation at the national level, two southwestern states and three Canadian provinces are moving ahead with a comprehensive plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Last week the Western Climate Initiative announced that California, New Mexico, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec will initiate a regional cap-and-trade system in order to reduce greenhouse gas levels 15% below 2005 levels by 2020. According to the announcement, the trading program will begin in January 2012, and will regulate not only electrical power plants, but also industrial plants and transportation. Ideally, the program will lead to increased investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The LA Times reports that other western states, including Arizona and Utah, have declined to participate, claiming the program will increase energy costs. However, an economic analysis by the Western Climate Initiative indicates that the program will not have a negative impact on regional economies.