BC Joins Effort to Tackle Global Warming

Lisbon, Portugal – British Columbia is partnering with European Union countries and U.S. states in a groundbreaking international effort to fight climate change. Premier Campbell signed an international and interregional agreement on behalf of British Columbia at a summit in Lisbon, Portugal.

The International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) provides an international mechanism where public authorities, including sub-national levels of governments, adopting caps on greenhouse gas emissions will share best practices on strategies such as the development of compatible global carbon trading systems. Trading systems currently exist in Europe and systems are being developed by Eastern U.S. States and the Western Climate Initiative, of which B.C. is a member.

“Tackling climate change requires international co-operation and collaboration unlike anything we have seen before. It is vitally important that as we design our own market systems we coordinate with other provinces, states, nations and continents,” said Premier Campbell, who was invited to participate in the summit by Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates.

“The partnership we have signed today opens the door, for the first time ever, to jurisdictions around the globe to share ideas and new technologies, and ultimately will lay the foundation for compatible market-based systems to trade carbon offsets and credits worldwide.”

The Premier was the only Canadian on hand to sign on to the International Carbon Action Partnership, which aims to create a global market for buying and selling greenhouse-gas emission rights.

Other signatories included U.S. and Canadian members of the Western Climate Initiative, northeastern U.S. members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, as well as European members including the United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, France, the Netherlands, and the European Commission. New Zealand and Norway joined on behalf of their emissions trading programs.

“A larger, global trading market will benefit British Columbia and Canada, particularly with our province playing a pivotal role in the process to develop a system,” said Campbell. “The very existence of a global carbon market will boost demand for low-carbon products and services and drive innovation as the entire world looks for efficient, cost-effective ways to cut carbon emissions.”

Leaders attending the summit included President José Sócrates, Council of the European Union and Prime Minister of Portugal; European Commission President José Manuel Barroso; Governor Jon Corzine, New Jersey; Governor Eliot Spitzer; New York; Frans Timmermans, Minister of European Affairs for the Netherlands; Brice Lalonde, France’s Special Ambassador for Climate Change; Peter Kennedy, New Zealand ambassador to the European Union; Kristin Halvorsen, Norway’s Minister of Finance; and Premier Campbell. Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, participated via video messages.

British Columbia is a member of the Western Climate Initiative – a collaborative effort of states and provinces to co-ordinate greenhouse gas targets and develop a market and system for carbon trading.

Since May 2007, the Province has also signed individual agreements with California, Washington and Oregon, with the goal of bringing Pacific Coast governors together to forge a Pacific Coast Collaborative that establishes a framework for leadership and co-operative action on additional areas of mutual interest, including climate change and Pacific Ocean health.

New legislative measures will be introduced this fall to put greenhouse gas reduction targets into law as part of the government’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent below current levels by 2020.

B.C.’s targets - to cut one-third of the province’s carbon footprint by 2020 using a fixed cap on industry emissions - are tougher than the federal proposal to have certain heavy industries reduce the intensity of their emissions by 18 per cent by 2010.

The Province will also host sectoral symposiums to discuss GHG emission reduction strategies in forestry; mining; energy; waste and landfills; and agriculture.

The International Carbon Action Partnership Political Declaration is included in a backgrounder.

For more information on the International Carbon Partnership, visit www.icapcarbonaction.com.

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