Western Climate Initiative

Western Climate Initiative

On February 26, 2007, Governors Napolitano of Arizona, Schwarzenegger of California, Richardson of New Mexico, Kulongoski of Oregon, and Gregoire of Washington signed an agreement establishing the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), a joint effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and address climate change. Since that time, the governors of Utah and Montana, as well as the premiers of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec (not shown above) have joined. An additional 14 jurisdictions participate as observers, including the U.S. states of Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, and Wyoming; the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan; and the Mexican border states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Sonora, and Tamaulipas.

In the Initiative's Memorandum of Understanding, WCI members agreed to jointly set a regional emissions target and establish a market-based system—such as a cap-and-trade program covering multiple economic sectors—to aid in meeting this target. In August 2007, the Western Climate Initiative announced its regional, economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions target of 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, or approximately 33 percent below business-as-usual levels. The regional target is designed to be consistent with existing targets set by individual member states and does not replace these goals. Covered emissions include the six primary greenhouse gases identified by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. In September 2008, the WCI released Design Recommendations for a cap-and-trade program; beginning in 2012, the program will cover emissions from electricity and large industrial and commercial sources, and it will cover emissions from transportation and other residential, commercial, and industrial fuel use beginning in 2015.

The WCI builds on work already undertaken individually by the participating states and provinces, as well as two earlier regional agreements: the Southwest Climate Change Initiative of 2006, which includes Arizona and New Mexico, and the West Coast Governors' Global Warming Initiative of 2003, which includes California, Oregon, and Washington.

Press Release
Western Climate Initiative Statement of Regional Goal
Western Climate Initiative Website