Western State Governors’ global warming announcement prompts call to action

Media Releases

Environment Colorado

DENVER—In the wake of today’s announcement from the governors of five Western States of a regional plan to reduce the pollution that causes global warming, leaders of three ColoradoColorado to join the effort. conservation organizations urged

“Over the past five years, Coloradans have sat on the bench and watched as our Western neighbors have taken the lead on curbing global warming,” said Will Coyne of Environment Colorado. “Now Colorado has another chance to get into the game and bolster our state’s chances of capitalizing on a new energy economy.”

Under the agreement, called the Western Climate Action Initiative,Oregon, California, Washington, New Mexico, and Arizona will adopt, within 18 months, pollution-reduction goals for the five states and a market-based program to meet them, such as a “cap and trade” program. Colorado is not yet participating in the regional effort, although the state has been designated an “observer” of the joint effort.

Under a regional program, a cap on global warming pollution would be set for all five states. The cap would decline over time to meet pollution reduction targets. Individual companies could either reduce their pollution or pay other companies to make larger so that total pollution levels meet the cap.

“Colorado and the West are already seeing the serious effects of global warming so it is only natural that Western Governors are leading the nation towards real solutions, “ said Dan Grossman, director of Environmental Defense’s Rocky Mountain regional office. “It is time for

Colorado to play a growing role in regional efforts to combat global warming.”

The five states currently participating in the initiative have already established themselves as leaders in developing global warming solutions. Unlike Colorado, each state has either adopted or committed to adopt state global warming pollution reduction goals, as well as Clean Cars programs that require new cars sold in their states to reduce their global warming pollution.

“Colorado has lagged behind other Rocky Mountain states in developing a comprehensive plan to reduce global warming pollution,” said John Nielsen, Energy Program Director of Western Resources Advocates. “But Governor Ritter is putting Colorado back on the right path through his commitment to common sense solutions like renewable energy.”  

The announcement of the Western Climate Action Initiative comes as Congress is considering how best to address global warming at the national level.

“There is no question that state leadership will be critical to getting real global warming solutions put in place,” said Will Coyne, of Environment Colorado, “it is in no small part due to the leadership of the states that Congress is now beginning to seriously debate global warming policy.”

The Western Climate Action Initiative builds on other regional efforts.

Oregon, California and Washington created the West Coast Global Warming Initiative in 2003. In 2006, Arizona and New Mexico launched the Southwest Climate Change Initiative.

State conservation groups including Environment Colorado, Environmental Defense, and Western Resource Advocates support the Western Climate Action Initiative and urge Colorado to play a growing role in regional efforts to combat global warming.

Additional Contacts: 
Dan Grossman
Environmental Defense

John Nielsen
Western Resource Advocates