California and other states launched an international initiative that will work toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning toward a low carbon economy in the absence of a global climate deal.
Meeting at the University of California, Davis, near Sacramento, leaders of states across several countries agreed to fast-track “the development of clean technologies, climate resilient projects and green investment.” The alliance pledged to influence national and international policies, but California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger notably expressed a need to move “full speed ahead without [an] international agreement.”
“We can’t afford to wait for national and international movement. Action is needed now, and action is what we’re taking with R20,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “The role of subnational governments is more important than ever, and California has shown that state and regional governments can institute policies that will grow the green economy, create jobs and clean our environment. With this unprecedented level of cooperation and collaboration, the Regions of Climate Action (R20) will continue this leadership around the world and will help influence national and international action.”
Rainforest in Sumatra
To cement the alliance, the group announced two subnational projects: forest carbon projects in the Mexican state of Chiapas and the Brazilian state of Acre that would let those states sell carbon offsets generated via forest conservation in California’s cap-and-trade market, which is set to launch in 2012. Under California’s proposed rules, up to 8 percent of emissions reductions could be met through offsets, including so-called reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) credits. The agreement may pave the way for future state-to-state REDD deals.