On Tuesday, the governors of 31 states announced an effort to create a standardized system of monitoring and tracking greenhouse gas emissions by major industries.
The Los Angeles Times reports that state and industry officials said The Climate Registry is an important first step in the process to eventually create limits – whether mandatory or market-based – on gases linked to global warming. The Registry, which has been called by some as the “free-market Kyoto,” after the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to limit greenhouse gases—and one that the United States has declined to take part in.
The pact puts states ahead of the federal government once again in the effort to slow global warming. Although the federal government launched a similar voluntary program in 2002 to monitor such pollutants, the Climate Registry requires third-party verification of the efforts, a key difference. Another key difference to the federal program, are the standardized reporting guidelines used by the multistate registry.
The Registry will be headquartered in Washington, D.C., and will have regional offices. Reporting is set to begin on Jan. 1, 2008.
In the Rocky Mountain West, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah have all signed up to participate. Neither Nevada nor Idaho has, as yet, signed on to the principles for reporting.
According to a Salt Lake Tribune article today, local efforts to combat climate change are nothing new in Utah, which is a member of the Western Regional Air Partnership, which launched its own study of carbon trends about a year ago.
And in Salt Lake City, Mayor Rocky Anderson implemented a program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2001, and the program has led to a 31 percent reduction since then.
The Casper Star-Tribune reported that PacifiCorp, Wyoming’s largest utility, has signed on in support of the guidelines as well. PacifiCorp operates several large, coal-fired power plants, a major source of greenhouse gases.