Schwarzenegger said he would sign an executive order on Tuesday that calls for a program that would allow his state to work with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at power plants in the Northeast beginning in 2009. It allows power plants to trade emissions credits as a way to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.
The partnership is the first step in creating a system to help California's largest manufacturers comply with stricter environmental regulations. Industrial corporations and utility companies in California must cut their greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 25 percent by 2020 as part of a landmark global warming law. Linking California to the Northeast program could help California power plants meet their obligations under that state's new law.
"Our cooperation can be a model to the rest of the states and to other countries actually," Schwarzenegger said after the two lawmakers toured Solaire, a green residential building in lower Manhattan touted as one of the country's largest and first "green" residential high-rise building.
Pataki said that a "market-driven cap and trade system" would benefit both the environment and industry.
In an effort to make the cap workable for businesses, Schwarzenegger has advocated setting up a market system that could enable the state's companies to buy, sell and trade emission credits instead of making their own reductions.
The Northeast system involves seven states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont. Maryland is expected to join in June 2007.
The executive order is Schwarzenegger's latest move to address global warming — an issue that has often put the Republican governor at odds with the Bush administration. Schwarzenegger this summer urged the governors of Western states to join California in a regional trading system and signed an agreement with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to develop new technologies to combat global warming.
Pataki helped craft the Northeast system after President Bush withdrew from the 160-nation Kyoto Protocol on global warming in 2001, saying it would hurt the U.S. economy.
Schwarzenegger - in New York Monday to learn more about corporate and government efforts to combat global warming - had the honor of opening trading for the Nasdaq stock market.
Schwarzenegger, who is running for re-election, has touted California's 2006 global warming law as a key component of his environmental record. It has also distinguished him from President Bush, who has said companies should voluntarily reduce emissions.
California's global warming law imposes the country's first mandatory statewide cap on greenhouse gas emissions, a move that has been criticized by manufacturers and cement makers — two of the largest emitters of the greenhouse gases that scientists blame for rising temperatures in many parts of the world.