Governors Rush In Where Washington Fears to Tread

Midwestern states are the latest to craft a regional climate change deal.

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Today, nine midwestern governors will become the latest state leaders to step into the policy void left by Washington and establish a regional climate change policy. Democrats Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, Chester Culver of Iowa, Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Ted Strickland of Ohio, and Rod Blagojevich of Illinois will join with the Republicans Tim Pawlenty, M. Michael Rounds of South Dakota, and Mitch Daniels of Indiana to pledge, among other things, at least 10 percent renewable electricity generation in their region by 2010 and 20 percent by 2020. Premier Gary Doer of the Canadian province of Manitoba also will be signing the agreement at the meeting in Milwaukee at lunchtime today. All the details are here.

Some highlights: 2 percent energy efficiency improvement in natural gas and electricity by 2015 and 2 percent annually thereafter. And the leaders pledge to have at least one commercial advanced coal gasification facility delivering power by 2012, capable of being fitted for carbon capture. Also by that year, they agree to site and permit a pipeline to transport that carbon dioxide for use in enhanced oil and gas recovery.

Certainly the specifics will be debated—is carbon capture going to be a viable or even desirable solution? But you've got to hand it to them for showing that a bipartisan deal can be worked out on energy. And as Congress and the White House are stalled in talk-and-no-action mode, it is the latest patch in the patchwork of approaches on climate that is being fashioned across the nation. The Northeast and mid-Atlantic states and California led the way, and other western states may be close behind.

All this state action got me wondering which states have the worst carbon emissions. If you just look at power plants (a major source, but cars, trucks, and manufacturing also matter), you can do a search at the fun new CARMA database developed by the Center for Global Development. For more on the database, visit here.

Four of the states signing the deal are in the top 10 in power plant emissions (chart below). But Wisconsin is No. 20, Minnesota No. 25, Kansas No. 26, Iowa No. 28, and South Dakota No. 48. Below are the top 10 states in carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, according to CARMA. Maybe the southern governors ought to think about a get-together.

Top 10 States With the Most Carbon

Dioxide Emissions From Power Plants

StateTons of CO 2 Per Year1. Texas290 million2. Florida157 million3. Indiana137 million4. Pennsylvania136 million5. Ohio133 million6. Illinois113 million7. Kentucky98 million8. Georgia91 million9. Michigan91 million10. Alabama90 millionSource: CARMA

energy policy and climate change
renewable energy
global warming

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