The Western Climate Initiative or WCI is an initiative—started by states and provinces along the western rim of North America—to combat climate change caused by global warming, independent of their national governments.
The stated purpose of the WCI is to identify, evaluate and implement ways to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region. The initiative requires partners to set an overall regional goal to reduce emissions, develop a market-based, multi-sector mechanism to help achieve that goal, and participate in a cross-border greenhouse gas registry.
The Western Climate Initiative plans to lay the foundation for an international cap and trade program that would involve both the United States and Canada. On September 23rd, 2008, the WCI released an outline for the implementation of its cap and trade proposal. The first phase of this plan would be implemented on January 1, 2012, followed three years later by a broader cap on carbon emissions in 2015. Alberta and Saskatchewan object to cap and trade and in July 2008 called WCI's plan a "cash grab by some of Canada's resource-poor provinces."
On 22 August, 2007, the WCI set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15% from 2005 levels by 2020.
Partners vs. observers
The initiative includes two types of membership: partners and observers.
The partners are the U.S. states of Arizona, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.
The observers are Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, Wyoming, the province of Saskatchewan (which objects to WCI plans for a cap and trade system), and the Mexican states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Sonora and Tamaulipas.
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* 24 April 2007: British Columbia joined with the five western states, turning the WCI into an international partnership.
* 21 May 2007: Utah became the sixth state to join the WCI when Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. signed the Initiative. Governor Huntsman was the second Republican governor to join, after California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
* 13 June 2007: Manitoba said that it would be the second Canadian province to join the WCI.
* 24 September 2007: Alaska joined the WCI as an observer.
* 19 November 2007: The Governor of Montana announced that his state would also join.
* 18 April 2008: Quebec, previously an observer, became a partner.
* 18 July 2008: Ontario, previously an observer, became a partner.