Governors of nine midwestern states, along with the Canadian province of Manitoba today signed the Midwestern Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord to establish a regional multisector cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to promote the use of renewable energy. With the Western States Climate Initiative and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the northeast, the action by the Midwestern states brings the number of states to 22 that have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The governors were Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Governor Chester J. Culver of Iowa, Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio, Governor M. Michael Rounds of South Dakota. The Premier of Manitoba, Gary Doer, also signed the agreement.
Some of the key aspects of the Accord are as follows:
· Establish greenhouse gas reduction targets and timeframes consistent with MGA member states’ targets;
· Develop a market-based and multi-sector cap-and-trade mechanism to help achieve those reduction targets;
· Establish a system to enable tracking, management, and crediting for entities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and
· Develop and implement additional steps as needed to achieve the reduction targets, such as a low-carbon fuel standards and regional incentives and funding mechanisms.
These Midwestern states now must set firm emissions reductions targets and timetables for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The governors are also calling for greater use of non-petroleum energy sources such as wind power and grain-based ethanol. Under the agreement, 15 percent of all gasoline stations in the region would be selling ethanol mixes by 2015, and one-in-four by 2025.
These states combined are the fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions behind the United States as a whole, Russia, China and India.
This new accord puts even greater pressure on Congress, as almost half the states have already committed to restricting greenhouse gas emissions.