Six U.S. states have abandoned the planned Western Climate Initiative greenhouse gas trading program leaving only California and four Canadian provinces involved in the program’s development, The Vancouver Sun reports.
New Mexico, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Montana and Utah have formally declared their withdrawal from the WCI and are joining the North America 2050 Initiative, a new bloc that aims to reduce emissions through various climate change and clean energy strategies, the newspaper reports.
According to British Columbia’s Environment Minister Terry Lake, the states had signaled their intentions to leave some time ago. Lake suggests that a combination of the continuing recession and the election of Republican governors in some of the states has lowered the priority given to climate change, the paper reports.
British Columbia, one of the remaining Canadian WCI members, has still not committed to joining the initiative’s flagship cap-and-trade program as it could interfere with the province’s existing carbon tax.
Earlier this month, the WCI created a nonprofit corporation to support state and provincial emissions trading programs.
WCI Inc. plans to develop a compliance tracking system for allowances and offsets, administer allowance auctions, and conduct market monitoring.
Despite the problems facing the WCI, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a 10-state cap-and-trade market in the northeastern U.S., has had some good news. The program saved money for consumers and contributed to job growth in local communities, The New York Times reported this month.