Environmental Leaders Praise Groundbreaking Global Warming Partnership by West Coast Governors
September 22, 2003
A new partnership to reduce global warming pollution by West Coast Governors represents a major step to protect the regional environment and economy, say environmental leaders.
The statement by the three governors is posted below.
"We can't afford to wait while the federal government fiddles. We have too much to lose as the climate becomes unstable, and too much to gain by taking a leadership role in developing climate solutions," notes K.C. Golden of Climate Solutions, a Northwest public interest group dedicated to pushing forward regional climate leadership
"The rest of the world's advanced economies have already begun to retool for a successful, prosperous transition to clean energy sources and efficient energy systems," adds Golden. "With this announcement, the Governors are clearly signaling that the federal government won't stop America's most forward-looking states from taking action."
Golden says that climate disruption threatens the very heart of the western economy and the lifeblood of our environment -- our water resources. "Clean energy solutions to global warming can provide millions of new jobs, protect our struggling economies from fossil fuel price spikes, and help us build healthier communities. The time to act is right now, and the Governors are leading the way."
Denis Hayes, President of the Bullitt Foundation and former director of the federal Solar energy Research Institute, lauded the governors for acting while the federal government remains stalled.
"The governors' action will help create a new, job-rich, high-tech energy industry that can meet America's 21st century needs. This initiative will reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases at the same time that it reduces our dependence on foreign oil."
California Gov. Gray Davis, Washington Gov. Gary Locke and Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski Monday announced that over the next year they will develop a common regional climate policy to include joint state purchases of fuel-efficient vehicles, reduction of diesel emissions, promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and development of a regional greenhouse gas inventory.
At the press conference in L.A., Governors Locke and Davis strongly condemned lack of federal leadership on global warming. The Governors believe that global warming will have serious adverse consequences on the economy, health and environment of the West Coast states. They cite the effects of global warming as "already evident in the form of higher temperatures, reduced snow pack, insect infestation and increased fire danger in our forests, and rising sea levels on our ocean shores. These impacts will grow significantly in coming years if we do nothing to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
"Unfortunately," added the Governors, "federal policies will not lead to a reduction in current emission levels of the greenhouse gasses associated with global warming. Therefore, the Governors of the West Coast states have concluded that our states must act individually and
regionally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
"From coast to coast, climate leadership has moved to the states," Golden said. Citing a recent announcement by Northeast Governors that they will institute regional caps on climate-changing greenhouse emissions, Golden added, "These state actions should send a strong message to the federal government that its past time to take steps to cool down global warming. They are also important actions in their own right. Now states representing at least one-third of U.S. population and 40% of the national economy have stepped up the plate to make climate protection a
top priority."September 22, 2003
Gary Locke, Washington
Gray Davis, CaliforniaTheodore R. Kulongoski, Oregon
STATEMENT OF THE GOVERNORS OF
CALIFORNIA, OREGON AND WASHINGTON
ON REGIONAL ACTION TO ADDRESS GLOBAL WARMING
Global warming will have serious adverse consequences on the economy, health and environment of the west coast states. While these consequences are not entirely predictable, the effects of global warming are already evident in the form of higher temperatures, reduced snow pack, insect infestation and increased fire danger in our forests, and rising sea levels on our ocean shores. These impacts will grow significantly in coming years if we do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Unfortunately, present federal policies will not lead to a reduction in current emission levels of the greenhouse gasses associated with global warming. Therefore, the Governors of the west coast states have concluded that our states must act individually and regionally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Economic, Environmental Benefits
The benefits of addressing global warming are both economic and environmental. Reducing reliance on fossil fuels provides a hedge against the economic impact from oil and natural gas price spikes for individuals and companies. Also, it keeps our energy dollars invested at home instead of exporting them overseas to oil and gas suppliers.
Equally important, emerging green and clean technologies are poised to become a multi-billion dollar growth sector. Addressing global warming now will position west coast states to become global leaders in this emerging economic sector, creating investment opportunities and jobs in new renewable, efficiency and control technologies. It will create opportunities for export of innovative technologies and applications. And, it will promote local businesses that can deliver the goods and services needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We will address global warming with strategies that provide long-term sustainability for the environment, protect public health, consider social equity, and expand public awareness. Climate change prevention strategies that reduce combustion of fossil fuels and waste will also reduce emissions that cause smog, soot, haze and toxic air pollution. These strategies can help ensure adequate water supplies, preserve farm and forest land uses, and reduce traffic congestion.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also provide significant dollar savings when health care costs and other environmental damages are factored in. We commit to pursue attainable climate change prevention strategies that provide these multiple benefits.
The individual west coast states have already taken significant steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions through carbon standards for new power plants, promotion of renewable energy, and improved building codes and energy efficiency. In many areas, however, our states can work together to achieve greenhouse gas reductions that are greater than what they can achieve on their own.
For these reasons, the Governors have directed their staffs to work together during the next year to develop joint policy recommendations focused on activities that require regional cooperation and action and present them to the Governors no later than September 1, 2004. These measures should include recommendations on, among other things, ways the west coast states can:
Staff shall develop their recommendations in consultation and cooperation with all interested stakeholders and the public. Staff in each state shall work with the business, environmental, and academic communities to develop recommendations as well as proposed goals by which we will measure our progress and effectiveness in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In doing so, they should also seek to increase public understanding of global warming issues.
We invite other western U.S. states, Canadian provinces, and Mexican states to join us in this approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and respond to climate change impacts in our region. By inviting broadened participation, we hope to foster additional opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bring additional talents and skills to developing our global warming mitigation and adaptation strategies.