Cities, States and Regions are Planning for Greenhouse Gas Reductions
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Northeastern states lead the way in addressing the Greenhouse Gases that cause Global Warming
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiatives
After two years of planning, officials of nine northeastern states along with energy producers, environmentalists and consumer advocates are finalizing a proposed cap-and-trade program, as recently described by Maines Commissioner of Environmental Protection. [Portland Press Herald, 9/22/2005, www.pressherald.com]. This Regiona Greenhouse Gas Initiative would freeze carbon dioxide emissions at current levels through 2015, then stipulate a 10% reduction by 2020.
Also, western U.S. states and Canadian provinces in August of this year agreed to cut greenhouse emissions 15 percent by 2020 in a regional pact to regulate carbon dioxide. [www.env-econ.net/2007/08/a-western-rggi.html] This group of six Western states and two provinces also agreed to design a market-based mechanism, such as a cap-and-trade program, by the end of August 2008 to help reach the goal.
Clinton Climate Initiative
Building on his long-term commitment to preserving the environment, President Clinton launched the Clinton Foundations Climate Initiative (CCI) in August 2006 with the mission of applying the Foundations business-oriented approach to the fight against climate change in practical, measurable and significant ways.
In its first phase, CCI is working with the C40 Large Cities Climate Leadership Group, an association of large cities dedicated to tackling climate changeto develop and implement a range of actions that will accelerate greenhouse gas emissions reductions. With cities contributing approximately 75 percent of all heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions to our atmosphere, while only comprising 2 percent of land mass, large cities are critical to winning this fight and slowing the pace of global warming.
In May, mayors, chief climate officials and business leaders from 45 cities met in New York for the second C40 Large Cities Climate Summit to share best practices, identify collaborative projects and chart future action in the fight against global warming. To see who attended and what they accomplished, visit www.nycclimatesummit.com/.
During the summit, President Clinton announced a new program that brings together cities, building owners, banks and energy-service companies to make changes to existing buildings to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This announcement will allow cities to save money and help save our planet.
In addition to coordinating this program, CCI is providing direct assistance to individual cities and facilitating the sharing of best practices. CCI is also working to organize a purchasing consortium that will help cities buy energy efficient technologies at lower prices and create a measurement and information tool to help cities take an inventory of energy use to help direct future activities.
The ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 1990, with 2005 the warmest yet. Unless action is taken now, climate change will affect the basic elements of life for people around the world, including food production, access to water, public health and the face of our planet as we know it. To enable its partner cities to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, CCI will:
1. Create a purchasing consortium to pool the buying power of cities in order to lower the prices of energy-efficient products and to accelerate the development of new energy-saving technologies. The consortium will partner with vendors, resulting in lower production and delivery costs, and, therefore, lower sustainable prices. Key initial products will include building materials and systems, lighting products, clean buses and garbage trucks, and waste-to-energy systems.
2. Mobilize the best technical experts in the world and create local capacity to develop and implement programs that result in reduced energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Through partnerships with more than a dozen international expert groups, CCI will provide technical assistance in areas including building efficiency, clean transportation systems, renewable energy production, waste management, and water and sanitation systems. CCI will recruit, train and manage the deployment of experts to help implement energy-saving technology techniques and strategies.
3. Develop common measurement and information flow tools that allow cities to track the effectiveness of their programs and share what works and does not work with each other. These tools will enable cities to take an inventory of their greenhouse gas emissions, which will inform them of where and how they direct their activities, and measure their progress. CCIs online information network will provide forums for technical experts and policy-makers in different cities to access data and share best practices.