Ontario To Explore Joining Forces With U.S. States On Climate Change Initiative

    Premier McGuinty and U.S. Governors Discuss Greenhouse Gas Reduction

    TORONTO, March 30 /CNW/ - Premier McGuinty today signaled Ontario's
interest in potentially joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
and the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative, both state-level strategic
partnerships whose mandates are to reduce greenhouse gases.
    "Building partnerships with our U.S. neighbors to address our shared
climate change and air pollution issues is in the best interest of Ontarians,"
said Premier McGuinty.
    California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger shared his support: "Ontario's
announcement is terrific news. We know that the science is clear and political
leaders everywhere have a responsibility to act decisively to combat global
warming. But we also know that no state, province or country can do it alone.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global effort, and this interest from
Ontario, along with California's agreements with the United Kingdom, Western
and Northeastern states and others will continue to inspire other states,
provinces and countries to join the fight against global warming."
    New York State Governor Spitzer commented: "The harmful public health,
environmental and economic impacts of global warming do not recognize or
respect international boundaries. Ontario and New York may be separated by a
border, but we are united in a common cause to seek solutions to this most
pressing challenge. We would enthusiastically welcome Ontario as a partner in
the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative as we move forward in our fight against
global climate change."
    The announcement was also welcomed by Connecticut Governor Rell, "The
action being proposed by Ontario is another example of the cooperation between
the Northeastern states and the Eastern Canadian provinces on critical
environmental issues. Ontario's interest in reducing emissions through the
innovative approaches in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the
Western Regional Climate Action Initiative is welcome news in the battle to
combat climate change."
    RGGI is a cap-and-trade strategy to reduce greenhouse gases through
cooperative efforts across state lines - and now potentially across provincial
borders. The Western Regional Climate Action Initiative is a joint strategy
signed February 26, 2007 between Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and
Washington to build on existing greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts
across all sectors and show leadership in the absence of meaningful federal
    Ontario is committed to phasing out coal-fired power plants and this is
compatible with RGGI's focus on greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity
sector. Ontario supports the absolute emission targets that define both the
Western Initiative and RGGI. Currently the province has its own emissions
trading program for NOx and SO2. Cooperation between Ontario and RGGI and the
Western Initiative could lead to technical improvements in both programs and a
possible future cross-border program for all emissions.
    "This is an important undertaking in our government's comprehensive
strategy on climate change," said Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten.
    "By cooperating with RGGI and the Western Regional Climate Change
Initiative, Ontario can add to the momentum for political and industry action
on climate change. A commitment to absolute greenhouse gas reduction targets
is fundamental to making progress on this serious global issue," said Ken
Ogilvie, Executive Director of Pollution Probe.
    The David Suzuki Foundation's Dale Marshall added his support: "Canada
needs a cap-and-trade program based on absolute emission reductions in order
to reduce emissions from its industrial sector. In the absence of national
system, it is great to see Ontario considering joining cap-and-trade systems
in the U.S."

    For more information check www.ontario.ca/environment

    Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Contact information for media: John Steele,
(416) 314-6666, Ministry of the Environment; Anne O'Hagan, (416) 325-5809,
Minister's Office

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