Western US states to create regional emissions trading scheme

Five US states, which together account for more than 10% of US CO2 emissions have signed an agreement to limit their emissions and set up a regional emissions trading scheme.

The Governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington have given themselves six months to agree a regional cap on emissions. A year later they will establish a multi-sector regional carbon trading scheme.

Other neighbouring states and countries including Canada and Mexico have been invited to join the agreement.

"With this agreement, states are once again taking the lead on combating global climate change while Washington, DC sits on its hands," said New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

"This sets the stage for a regional cap and trade programme, which will provide a powerful framework for developing a national cap and trade programme," said California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Last year, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Mr Schwarzenegger agreed to explore the option of linking a Californian scheme with the EU emissions trading scheme (ENDS Report 379, pp 13-14 ).