Climate plan moves without Nevada

While the White House and Congress have failed to pass comprehensive climate change legislation, members of the Western Climate Initiative announced plans last week to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

Seven Western states and four Canadian provinces plan to initiate a market-based, cap-and-trade program intended to lower the cost of emissions reduction while providing industry with incentives to use alternative, renewable energy. Industries that emit greenhouse gases would buy and sell credits for their emissions; those who can’t cut their emissions enough could buy the right to pollute from cleaner companies. It would apply to industries and utilities by 2012 and to transportation, heating and other fuels by 2015.

By including transportation, the largest source of emissions in the West, the initiative would be the most comprehensive of any carbon reduction program in the world, and much broader than one launched last week by 10 Northeast states. The plan would cover nearly 90 percent of the region’s emissions, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency, as well as 20 percent of the U.S. economy and 70 percent of the Canadian economy.

The initiative has been endorsed by the provincial premiers of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec and 11 governors of every Western state except Nevada, Idaho, Colorado and Wyoming. Find out more at