Western initiative sets up emissions-trading
Sep 23, 2008 - The Associated Press
Seven Western states and four Canadian
provinces on Tuesday proposed a comprehensive program
to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants,
manufacturers and vehicles.
The Western Climate Initiative would
establish a regional market to trade carbon emissions
and covers more polluters than other regional plans
adopted in the United States and Canada.
The plan sets the parameters for a
so-called cap-and-trade program designed to help cut
the region's emissions below 2005 levels by 2020 while
keeping costs down for those affected.
The idea is to allow industries that
emit greenhouse gases to buy and sell credits for
their emissions. Businesses that cannot cut their
emissions enough can buy the right to pollute from
other, cleaner companies.
The plan was drafted by Arizona, California,
Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington,
and the four Canadian provinces of British Columbia,
Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec which have joined the
program in the last 18 months.
Each state and province must create
their own trading scheme that complies with the regional
guidelines in order to participate in the market.
Supporters say the program will combat
global warming, spur green technologies, clean up
the region's energy supplies and reduce dependence
on foreign oil.
Under the plan, utilities and industries
could begin trading on Jan. 1, 2012, but transportation
and heating fuels would have until 2015.
When fully implemented, the market would
cover nearly 90 percent of the region's emissions,
according to the California Environmental Protection