Today the Governors of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Kansas, Ohio, South Dakota and the Premier of Manitoba signed the Midwestern Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord at the Midwestern Governors Association (MGA) Energy Security and Climate Change Summit (See here, here and here).
The Accord will
- Establish greenhouse gas reduction targets and timeframes consistent with MGA member states’ targets;
- Develop a market-based and multi-sector cap-and-trade mechanism to help achieve those reduction targets;
- Establish a system to enable tracking, management, and crediting for entities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and
- Develop and implement additional steps as needed to achieve the reduction targets, such as a low-carbon fuel standards and regional incentives and funding mechanisms.
Indiana, Ohio and South Dakota are observing participants in the Accord, which means that the reduction system will include the three states but they will not be bound by the reduction targets. In addition to the Accord, the Governors of Nebraska and North Dakota joined the rest of the MGA in establishing the Energy Security and Climate Stewardship Platform which sets regional goals for advancing energy efficiency, promoting biobased products, producing renewable electricity, and developing advance coal and carbon capture and storage technology.
This is the third major regional climate agreement in the country, following the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the Northeast and the Western Climate Initiative. Between these three regional agreements, twenty US states, and two Canadian Provinces have adopted plans for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, with another seven states and two provinces as observers to the agreements. This means that well over HALF of the states in the United States are part of regional greenhouse gas reduction agreements. Almost half of the states in the United States have passed Renewable Electricity Standards (RES) or goals for state renewable energy use. Over 500 mayors have signed the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.
With so much leadership in fighting global warming across the country, you would think that Congress would get it's act together and do something on the national level. Perhaps with this bipartisan move in the Midwest, the Senators and Representatives from these states will listen to their constituents and support a strong Energy Bill that includes both a national Renewable Energy Standard and increased fuel economy (CAFE standards). Maybe they just need to hear this message again and again. Well, as Rep. Ed Markey said at Power Shift 2007, youth need to be the voice of impatience in this country. Let's make them listen!