Midwestern governors aim to reduce GHG

By Sarah Smith
Twelve governors and the premier of Manitoba have entered into several regional strategies to achieve energy security while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The projects stem from the Midwestern Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, which was implemented in November 2007 to aggressively reduce GHG emissions by 60 percent to 80 percent in the long term, and create a regional cap-and-trade scheme to meet the targets. The accord is expected to be fully implemented by 2010.

Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Kansas and Manitoba signed the accord as full participants. Indiana, Ohio and South Dakota adopted portions of the accord and were given "observer status" to participate in the formation of a cap-and-trade system.

North Dakota, which has significant coal industries, didn't sign the accord. Instead, it joined the previously mentioned states and Nebraska in establishing the Energy Security and Climate Stewardship Platform to advance energy-efficiency goals that will include renewable fuels. Missouri later adopted portions of the platform agreement, which was formulated to guide the future development of the Midwest's energy economy since the region is heavily dependent on coal and agriculture. The platform agreement lists goals and time lines for energy-efficiency improvements, low-carbon transportation fuel availability, renewable electricity production, biobased products, and carbon capture and storage.

Several other agreements include the Carbon Management Infrastructure Partnership, the Midwestern Biobased Product Procurement System, a coordinated regional effort to develop biofuels and a working group to pursue a collaborative, multi-jurisdictional transmission initiative.

The Midwestern accord is a companion effort to three other regional initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases. In 2003, California, Oregon and Washington created the West Coast Global Warming Initiative; in 2006, Arizona and New Mexico formed the Southwest Climate Change Initiative; and in 2007, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington formed the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative.