Wednesday, May 9, 2007

31 states to form greenhouse gas emission registry




31 states to form greenhouse gas emission registry
Move will create nationwide measurement standard -- but reporting will be voluntary
Mark Martin, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Governors and environmental officials from 31 states announced Tuesday that they would create a national registry to measure greenhouse gas emissions, a key first step toward reducing emissions and another illustration of states moving ahead of the federal government in addressing climate change.

The announcement Tuesday does not mean that any state other than California has agreed to lower the greenhouse gases that scientists believe are causing rising temperatures around the world. And industries in the states will not be required to join the registry and report the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases they emit; it will be voluntary.

But proponents of the idea said the new Climate Registry is critical to eventually reducing emissions because it will be a way to measure the starting point in each state.

"This historic milestone establishes a critical and credible 'common currency' that will help us succeed as we move forward with efforts to reduce these missions,'' said Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

"This is a precondition to mandatory national carbon limits,'' said Ralph Cavanaugh of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

States that agreed to help found the registry include most Western states, including California, Washington and Oregon, most Northeastern states, and some in the Midwest. Also included are two Canadian provinces -- British Columbia and Manitoba -- and the Campo Kumeyaay Indian Nation in San Diego County.

Most Southern states are not members of the new registry, which is based on an existing registry in California.

The registry will require companies and state and local governments that volunteer to report their emissions to calculate them in the same way. It will be a nonprofit corporation run by a board of directors with representatives from each of the states, provinces and tribes. The registry will be public and would be critical in measuring future emissions reductions and the development of a market-based system allowing companies to buy and sell emissions credits.

"We'll have some verification and accounting protocols that could help ensure that a ton of carbon dioxide reduction in California is the same as somewhere else,'' sad Bill Magavern, a California lobbyist for the Sierra Club.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation last year making California the first state in the country to require lower greenhouse gas emissions. The law first requires industries that will be affected to report their emissions on the state registry, and Schwarzenegger noted Tuesday that a national registry signals a move toward reducing emissions.

"Developing a common standard for reporting and recording greenhouse gases is an essential component to a national climate action policy," he said.

While no other state has the limits California does -- state law requires a 25 percent reduction in emissions by 2020 -- other states are beginning to enact global-warming-related laws. Northeastern states have already moved to lower emissions from power plants, and Washington state enacted a new law to do that this year. Lawmakers in Hawaii passed emissions limits similar to California's this month, and the bill is now on the governor's desk.

Cavanaugh of the Natural Resources Defense Council noted that both Republican and Democratic governors agreed to help develop the registry, a sign that sentiment across the country toward reducing greenhouse gases is now strong. He said the registry could provide more pressure on the Bush administration to shake its reluctance to address global warming.

"This is a very strong indication that most of the country, excluding the White House, is ready for emission limits,'' he said.

E-mail Mark Martin at markmartin@sfchronicle.com.

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/05/09/MNGUSPNI9A1.DTL

1 comment:

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