North American Group Agrees To 2020 Carbon Cuts
EW YORK (Reuters) - Western U.S. states and Canadian provinces said on Wednesday they agreed to cut emissions linked to global warming by 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
The group, spearheaded by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is the latest effort by U.S. states to bypass President George W. Bush on regulating greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
Bush favors voluntary actions to cut emissions that scientists say could lead to deadly storms, droughts and floods.
The Western Climate Initiative, a group of six states and two provinces, also agreed to design a market-based mechanism, such as a cap-and-trade program, by the end of August 2008 to help reach the goal.
Scientists say worldwide greenhouse emissions will have to fall by up to 85 percent from current levels by 2050 to stop global warming.
WCI called its more modest goals a starting point.
The WCI goal does not go past individual greenhouse gas emissions goals "that each WCI member has already set for itself and does not replace the members' individual goals," the WCI said in a statement.
Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington and Utah are the U.S. members of the pact, along with Manitoba and British Colombia.
The United States as a whole is the largest greenhouse gas emitter, followed closely by China.
Ten states in the U.S. East formed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative a few years ago. It seeks to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants starting in 2009.