Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich announced a new global warming initiative that marks the beginning of a long-term strategy by the state to combat global climate change, and builds on steps the state has already taken to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, such as enhancing the use of wind power, biofuels and energy efficiency.
An Executive Order signed by the Governor creates the Illinois Climate Change Advisory Group, which will consider the full range of policies and strategies to reduce GHG emissions in Illinois and make recommendations to the Governor.
We’ve worked hard in Illinois to become a national leader in reducing toxic pollutants like mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. The next front is greenhouse gases. The impact of global warming from greenhouse gases in Illinois and around the globe could be devastating. We can’t wait for the federal government to act because experts have warned that if we don’t address global warming within the next decade, it may be too late to avoid serious and irreversible consequences.—Governor Blagojevich
The Governor also announced today that Illinois will join New Mexico to become only the second state in the nation to join the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). As a CCX member, the state makes a voluntary, but legally binding, commitment to reduce GHG emissions from the electricity and fuel needed to operate state facilities and motor vehicles; the reduction target only applies to state government operations.
By acting now we can take important steps to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and realize the economic development benefits that strategies to confront climate change can offer. Promoting energy efficient technology, homegrown renewable energy from wind power and biofuels as well as systems to trap and store carbon dioxide emissions will curtail our greenhouse gas emissions while triggering greater investment and job creation in Illinois.—Doug Scott, Director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and Chair of the Advisory Group
CCX is North America’s only, and the world’s first, GHG emissions registry, reduction and trading system. CCX members are required to reduce GHG emissions by six percent by 2010, compared to their average emissions between 1998 and 2001. Members that cannot meet their emissions reductions targets can buy credits from members that have exceeded their required reductions, or from farmers or others who have reduced carbon releases to the atmosphere.
As part of the global warming initiative, Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott and Steven Frenkel, Director of Policy Development for Governor Blagojevich, will meet with top officials from California later this month to discuss GHG reduction strategies. California Governor Schwarzenegger recently signed legislation that creates the most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction program in the US. (Earlier post.)