CHICAGO – Continuing Illinois’ efforts to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that he would co-host the international Governors’ Global Climate Summit to be held later this month in California. The Summit, hosted by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, will bring together national and international leaders who are committed to taking the steps urgently needed to fight climate change and prevent potentially catastrophic harm to ecosystems, infrastructure, human health and economies worldwide.
“Illinois has been a leader in the Midwest and nationally in developing innovative strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change,” said Governor Blagojevich. “Playing a leading role in Governor Schwarzenegger’s Summit will give us a chance to meet with world leaders and to learn from each other about how to most effectively tackle this urgent global issue and accelerate the transition to a low carbon society.”
Governor Schwarzenegger personally invited Governor Blagojevich and other leading lawmakers and government executives from across the nation and around the world to co-host his Summit. Leaders pro-active in fighting climate change, including representatives from China, Australia, Brazil, European Union, Canada, China, Indonesia, Mexico, will convene at the Schwarzenegger’s Summit to develop an international alliance to find and implement new and creative solutions to address climate change through regional and global action.
At the close of the summit, Governor Blagojevich and the other leaders will jointly set forth a potential blueprint to help shape the next global agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The United Nations will continue its work on this agreement at a December meeting in Poland with completion set for December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
States like Illinois and California have had to take the lead on initiatives seeking to reduce climate change due to lack of environmental leadership from the federal level on climate change. In 2006, Governor Blagojevich announced a series of climate change initiatives in an effort to begin developing solutions to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Illinois to at least 1990 levels by 2020, and to at least 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The announcement marked the beginning of a long-term strategy by the state to combat climate change, and builds on the steps the state initially took to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as enhancing the use of biofuels and promoting energy efficiency.
Governor Blagojevich also announced the findings of the Illinois Climate Change Advisory Group, which was convened by the Governor in 2007 to consider policies and strategies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Illinois. The Advisory Group was comprised of a broad representation from the business, labor, energy and agricultural communities, along with scientists and environmental groups from throughout the state. It developed specific recommendations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The report by Illinois Climate Change Advisory Group is available on the Illinois EPA website at www.epa.state.il.us/air/climatechange/