WCI Strategy Encourages Regional Cap-And-Trade Program

The partner jurisdictions of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) have released a comprehensive strategy designed to reduce climate-warming greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, stimulate development of clean energy technologies, create green jobs, increase energy security and independence and protect public health.

‘The Design for the WCI Regional Program’ is the culmination of two years of work by seven U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. Supported by their jurisdictional goals, the objective of the WCI Partner jurisdictions' plan is to reduce regional GHG emissions to 15% below 2005 levels by 2020.

The regional goal will be reached by:

– Creating a market-based system that caps GHG emissions and uses tradable permits as incentives to develop renewable and lower-polluting energy sources;

– Encouraging GHG emissions reductions in industries not covered by the emissions cap, thus reducing energy costs region wide; and

– Advancing policies that expand energy efficiency programs, reduce vehicle emissions, encourage energy innovation in high-emitting industries and help individuals transition to new jobs in the clean-energy economy.

A recently updated economic analysis by the partner jurisdictions of the WCI indicates that the plan can achieve the regional GHG emissions reduction goal and realize a cost savings of approximately $100 billion by 2020.

The central component of the WCI partner jurisdictions' comprehensive strategy is a flexible, market-based, regional cap-and-trade program that encourages the most cost-effective, reliable alternatives to reduce GHG emissions.

The WCI regional cap-and-trade program will be composed of the individual jurisdictions' cap-and-trade programs implemented through state and provincial regulations. Each partner jurisdiction implementing a cap-and-trade program will issue emission allowances to meet its jurisdiction-specific emissions goal.

Between now and the planned program start date of January 2012, the WCI partner jurisdictions will address remaining program design issues and take the steps necessary to make regional trading operational.

SOURCE: Western Climate Initiative

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