Statement of Eileen Claussen, President
Pew Center on Global Climate Change
September 23, 2008
The release of the Western Climate Initiative’s (WCI) Design Recommendations marks a major milestone for regional action on climate change. The WCI – a coalition of seven U.S. states and four Canadian provinces – today issued recommendations that will pave the way for comprehensive national and international action. This region represents a substantial percentage of the North American economy – and the WCI’s innovative and expansive cap-and-trade design will have a profound impact on federal policy making.
WCI’s program, when fully implemented, will cover the major economic sectors and incorporate the broadest coverage of emissions sources of any GHG cap-and-trade program to date in the world. Inclusion of transportation fuels during the second phase of the program is especially significant because transportation constitutes such a large portion of U.S. emissions. Additionally, the program covers not just carbon dioxide, but five other GHGs as well.1 The WCI cap-and-trade program is the result of a diverse collaboration of U.S. states and Canadian provinces.
WCI has had the advantage of learning from the efforts of other systems, like the northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS); moving forward, the WCI and its novel design elements will serve as a model for others.
Today’s release comes eighteen months after it was initially conceived by a group of forward-looking governors. The final product reflects the hard work and careful deliberation of many, and I am pleased that the Pew Center was able to provide analytical support during the design process.
As a leading producer of global greenhouse gases, the United States needs an effective national climate strategy. The proliferation of state and regional approaches reflects the urgency of climate change felt by state leaders: Currently 24 states are developing or implementing state- or regional-level cap-and-trade programs.
The WCI provides a new model for an economy-wide cap-and-trade program for the United States. I commend all involved in this effort.
Visit our Western Climate Initiative  page to learn more.
1 These gases are methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride.