Western Climate Initiative Will Spur Energy Independence and Economic Growth, Says NRDC

Statement by Ned Farquhar, NRDC Mountain West Climate Advocate
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (September 23, 2008) – A new plan to reduce global warming pollution in seven western states and four Canadian provinces will help the region create a clean energy economy, while improving air quality and saving consumers money, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The plan – signed by Arizona, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec – will create a multi-state “cap and trade” program to limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollution.
Following is a statement by Ned Farquhar, Mountain West Climate Advocate with NRDC:
“The Western Climate Initiative promises to reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels, while increasing energy efficiency and developing our region’s bountiful renewable energy. Its market-based reforms will benefit western businesses and consumers while showing world-class leadership on global warming, which threatens the health of western communities, water supplies and our economy.
“The WCI signatories should commit to exceeding the minimum thresholds for certain market design elements, including the percentage of pollution permits, or allowances, the states will auction rather than distribute to emitters for free. The adoption of smart design features, such as auctioning allowances and investing the money in energy efficiency and renewable energy, will ensure that the program transforms the West’s energy economy at an affordable cost, saving money in the long run.
“With its strengths in finance, innovation, technology development and renewable energy, the western region could quickly emerge as a strong player in the global economy, creating new businesses and jobs and developing our vast renewable resources while others remain dependent on expensive foreign oil and outdated dirty coal. This is a first step toward energy independence and energy security.”
For more information:
Read Ned Farquhar’s blog on NRDC Switchboard at http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/nfarquhar/
A March 2008 NRDC study of global warming in the American West found the region is already suffering from predicted climate change impacts such as higher temperatures, increased wildfire, and drought. (The report “Hotter and Drier” is available at www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/west/west.pdf.)