Western Climate Initiative: Historic First Step, Essential Improvements Needed

Statement by Doug Howell, Regional Executive Director, National Wildlife Federation, On Release of Western Climate Initiative Plan and Implications for the West Coast

09-23-2008 // Aileo Weinmann

SEATTLE, WA -- "Cleaning up global warming pollution creates new jobs, moves us toward clean energy and protects consumers and natural resources.

"Today's announcement by western leaders underscores the importance of taking bold steps to combat global warming pollution. We praise them for keeping this issue at the forefront of policy makers and the public at this critical time.

"While the fundamentals of today's Agreement are sound, we urge lawmakers to address a few significant flaws that remain.

"We are disappointed that western leaders did not send a strong enough signal that the interests of the public need to come before the interests of polluting industries. Today's Agreement gives significant discretion to individual states on whether to require industries to buy their pollution permits. Giving away the right to pollute will undercut investments needed to move to a clean energy future, and protect consumers and the region's natural resources.

"We have a daunting task ahead to transition our region to clean technologies, upgrade our transportation infrastructure, and restore our natural resources. A well-designed regional plan can generate much needed revenue to support these efforts. We urge Governors to put the public ahead of polluting industries by not giving away the right to pollute.

"We praise western leaders for tackling global warming pollution from transportation, specifically the dirty fuels that make up the lion's share of our problem. Unfortunately, elected officials are delaying capping transportation fuels until 2015, therefore they must now improve tailpipe standards, develop low-carbon fuels, and reduce vehicle miles traveled.

"Our region's natural resources--including the fish and wildlife that sustain our recreation economy--are on the frontlines of climate change impacts. Today's Agreement gets us on the right path of protecting this legacy for our children's future."

For more information about the Western Climate Initiative, and the impacts of global warming in the West, visit http://www.nwf.org/westernclimateinitiative/

The National Wildlife Federation is America's conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future.