While environmentalists lauded the effort, they point to its weaknesses. For example, Reuters reports:
"The Western pact does not include Alberta, the Canadian province that is home to oil and natural gas fields, including the tar sands, whose development is extremely carbon-intensive. It also excludes Nevada, California's neighbor which lacks emissions targets and has sought to lure Golden State businesses with tax benefits and other incentives."
The states plan to meet the reductions by using more renewable-energy sources, regulating emissions from motor vehicles, and improving the efficiency of appliances and other electrical equipment. There are other goals as well, Bloomberg reports.
"The plan lays groundwork for a European-style system across the region that will limit emissions and allow businesses to buy or sell pollution credits if they exceed, or fall short, of their goals. The states want to link up to other systems, such as the northeast's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and to Europe's trading plan."
The Western states' effort is bipartisan, with governors of both parties joining up. This is especially true in California, the most populous state, where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has taken the lead and Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) has gone after urban sprawl as a chief culprit in global warming.
Last week, Attorney General Brown and San Bernardino County "settled a lawsuit over the negative effects of runaway growth on greenhouse gas emissions, an accord that could have implications for cities and counties throughout the state," the San Jose Mercury News reported.
"The settlement calls for San Bernardino County to account for the effects its land-use decisions will have on the emissions blamed for global warming. The county, which stretches from the Los Angeles County line to California's eastern border, is the largest by geographic size in the lower 48 states and has seen rampant growth.... It is expected to add 1 million residents by 2030, for a total population of 3 million…. The settlement requires the county to ... devise strategies to reduce carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases…."