Stakeholders Balk at Western Govs’ Secret Climate Initiative

By Published On: August 31, 2007

A week after California and other western states agreed to jointly achieve a 15 percent cut in their global warming gases by 2020, stakeholders complained about the western state representatives’ closed-door meetings. “Why have you chosen a closed process when previous partnerships have been open and transparent?” Jeff Burks, director of Environmental Sustainability for New Mexico’s PNM Energy, asked during an August 29 conference call of participants of the Western Climate Initiative. On August 22, the group of states–along with Utah, British Columbia and Manitoba–agreed to a 15 percent cut from 2005 carbon emissions over the next 13 years. In contrast, California’s global warming law, AB 32, sets a 25 percent reduction of the 1990 level by 2020. Also at issue this week was specifically the lack of transparency of the underlying calculation used to determine the 2005 emissions level. Key concerns of participants include what methodology will be used to set a carbon cap on the electricity sector–load-based (utilities’ responsibility), or first-seller (power plant owners’ responsibility)? California stakeholders also wanted assurances this week that the Western Climate Change Initiative efforts would meld with the state’s ongoing efforts to set rules under AB 32. “How to go down the two paths–AB 32 and Western Climate Initiative scoping–is a key aspect of our deliberations,” said Michael Gibbs, California’s assistant secretary for climate change. Editors’ note: For a more detailed version of the Western Governors’story, please see our new sister publication: E=MC2 – Energy Meets Climate Challenge. You can find it at

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