B.C. is among eight western provinces and states that have established a regional goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 15 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020, a target that will lay the foundation for a common cap and trade system, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today. “I want to commend all Western Climate Initiative partners for establishing this common goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and for their commitment to develop a multi-sector mechanism to help meet this regional target as well as individual targets,” said Campbell. “British Columbia committed in February to creating a single, common standard for measuring greenhouse gas emissions and for registering and trading carbon offsets that reflects true market value. This continental approach will reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the region and stimulate innovation and job creation.” Western Climate Initiative (WCI) members – British Columbia, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Utah and Manitoba – agreed to the target after a meeting in Vancouver earlier this month. The WCI will use its new regional goal in designing a regional, market-based, multi-sector mechanism, such as a load-based cap and trade program, by August 2008. Campbell noted the regional goal reflects the combined impact of emission-related targets B.C. and other members have set, and does not supersede those individual targets. Members will use the regional goal in assessing requests from other jurisdictions to join the WCI. “Membership in the WCI means having an aggressive GHG target for your jurisdiction, adopting California tailpipe standards, participating in a cross-border GHG registry, and working together on a regional cap and trade system to help meet our targets,” said Campbell. “The more partners we unite now in meeting these objectives, the better off our countries and world will be in decades to come. I am urging other Canadian provinces to participate in this initiative to create a single, continental market for carbon trading.” At the recent Council of Federation meeting in New Brunswick, the leaders of 12 of 13 provinces and territories agreed to work toward the objective of implementing California tailpipe emissions standards. B.C., Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba also committed to a cap and trade system. Currently, four other U.S. states (Colorado, Kansas, Nevada and Wyoming), three other Canadian provinces (Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan) and one Mexican state (Sonora) are participating as observers of the WCI’s deliberations. Some of these entities, as well as others, may seek to join the WCI as full members in the future. B.C. announced its GHG reduction target of 33 per cent below current levels by 2020, which will place emissions 10 per cent below 1990 levels, in February. Since then, the Province has signed memorandums of understanding with California and Washington State on climate change and Pacific Ocean conservation and joined the Climate Registry, a cross-border GHG registry launched in June with 34 states, and two provincial and three tribal members. The registry – North America’s largest co-operative effort on climate change, representing over 70 per cent of the U.S. population – is seen as a critical first step in developing robust programs to reduce emissions across the U.S. and North America.