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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2008

Governor Blagojevich to Sign International Declaration to Fight Climate Change
World leaders resolve to act quickly to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases

CHICAGO – After two days of unprecedented collaboration among 800 attendees from five U.S. states and states and provinces from countries around the world at the Governors’ Global Climate Summit in California, hosted by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, co-host Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today will sign the Global Climate Solutions Declaration to reduce greenhouse gases worldwide, along with representatives from among the world’s greatest greenhouse gas emitters.

 

“The agreements signed at the Global Climate Summit are major steps toward fighting the global issue of climate change.  We all agree that climate change is an urgent issue and that we need to tackle climate change head on,” said Governor Blagojevich.   “Governor Schwarzenegger and myself, along with leaders from around the world, have come together to develop ways to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction we need to fight against the potentially catastrophic effects climate change could have on our ecosystems, infrastructure, human health and economy.”

 

The Declaration is a state-province partnership to help advance cooperative international efforts under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  It will establish common principles as Illinois and other signatories strive to create a low carbon economy and to enhance energy security and provide ongoing support to national governments as they combat climate change.

 

To realize these principles world leaders agreed to:

 

·          Stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to avoid catastrophic climate change, consistent with the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change;

 

·          Achieve quantifiable greenhouse gas emission reductions collectively while recognizing that there are common but differentiated responsibilities and capabilities among developed, developing, and transitional governments;

 

·          Provide technical assistance to and investment in sector specific activities, including transfer of clean energy research, and assistance with development, demonstration and deployment of climate friendly technologies, particularly in developing countries.

·          Accelerate capacity building efforts targeted towards key sectors of worldwide economies.

·         Strengthen the ability of all regions of the world to adapt to climate change and assist those that are disproportionately affected or most likely to suffer the consequences of climate change.

·         Reduce greenhouse gas emissions in sectors with a high potential for environmental and economic benefits including: forestry, agriculture, cement, iron, aluminum, energy, and transportation.

·         Employ those actions that are most suited to providing mutually beneficial outcomes, including technology transfer, incentive programs, sharing of best practices and market- or non market-based programs.

·         Pursue opportunities among the undersigned that compliment existing efforts to further explore specific mitigation and adaptation strategies.

·         Scale up investments in climate friendly technologies and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

·         Grow worldwide economies and enhance overall quality of life through research, development and deployment of technologies that will reduce greenhouse gases.

·         Focus research, development and deployment activities on energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, zero- and low-carbon electricity generation and fuels, improved mobility through better planning and transportation infrastructure, biological carbon sequestration, climate change impacts and adaptation.

·         Foster exchanges between researchers and educators to strengthen the global climate change knowledge base by building upon existing relationships between academic and laboratory researchers as well as international student exchange programs.

·         Accelerate capacity building for development of monitoring and reporting programs that provide transparent, coordinated and consistent measurement and verification of greenhouse gas emissions to ensure environmental integrity.

Today’s commitment by international leaders to take decisive action to address the urgent issue of climate change comes a day after Governor Blagojevich joined California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and leaders from the U.S., Brazil and Indonesia to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to reduce deforestation, which accounts for around 20 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. 

 

Under the deforestation MOU, the states of Illinois, California and Wisconsin will pledge to work with the governors of six states and provinces within Indonesia and Brazil to help slow and stop tropical deforestation, the cutting and burning of trees to convert land to grow crops and raise livestock, and land degradation through joint projects and incentive programs.

 

In February 2007, Governor Blagojevich joined California Governor Schwarzenegger and executives from BP to launch the Energy Biosciences Institute to be based at the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign and the University of California, Berkeley.  The $500 million effort funded by BP was intended to invest in research on next-generation homegrown biofuels made from crops that will cut GHG emissions, boost America’s energy independence, and create new markets for Illinois farmers.

 

The actions taken by both governors underscore their desire to work collaboratively to solve the challenge of climate change.

 

The impact of global warming in Illinois and around the world could be devastating, and the Governor has made climate change a top priority of his administration.  Since taking office, the Governor has:

 

·          Announced a statewide goal to slash the production of heat-trapping greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020 and 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

 

·          Launched the Global Warming Initiative through Executive Order that created the Illinois Climate Change Advisory Group (ICCAG), the first such effort by a Midwestern state.

 

·          Tasked the ICCAG with developing strategies to meet his goal of cutting greenhouse gases in Illinois to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and received the report submitted by the ICCAG that included recommendations to meet his goal of cutting greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020.

 

·          Signed the Midwestern Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord. The Accord will help achieve his goal of reducing greenhouse gases in Illinois to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

 

·          Announced a statewide push to reduce CO² in Illinois by planting two million additional native trees annually.  It is estimated that this practice will absorb approximately 200,000 metric tons of CO² annually by 2020, as much CO² as taking 36,000 cars off the road. 

 

·          Announced a plan to designate 80 miles of Tollway lanes in the most congested areas as “Green Lanes,” which will take 1.4 million cars off of the road every year.

 

·          Signed the Illinois Power Agency Act, creating a renewable energy standard that requires utilities to supply 25 percent of their power from wind power and other renewable energy sources by 2025. 

 

·          Joined the Climate Registry, which created national standards that businesses and governments can use to document their current levels of GHG emissions and track progress over time.

 

·          Announced final approval of multi-pollutant rules introduced to slash mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from the three largest coal-fired power plant companies in Illinois.  The companies are also required to shut down three of their oldest, least efficient boiler units, leading to a reduction of 2.1 million tons of greenhouse gases annually.

 

·          Joined the Chicago Climate Exchange where Illinois makes a voluntary, but legally binding commitment to reduce GHG emissions from state buildings and vehicle fleets.

 

·          Announced an energy plan to provide new incentives to help triple Illinois’ production of ethanol and other biofuels.  It also sets a goal of replacing 50 percent of the state’s energy supply with homegrown fuels by 2017.

 

·          Announced that to date state fleet vehicles have used 3.4 million gallons of biofuel.  State drivers have used more than 1 million gallons of E85, instead of gas, and more than 2.9 million gallons of biodiesel.

 

·          Announced Illinois would power 141 Springfield-based facilities under control with clean renewable wind energy purchased from the Springfield’s municipal utility company, City Water Light and Power.

 

·          Launched the Illinois Conservation Climate Initiative offering farmers and other landowner incentives to trap carbon dioxide and reduce methane emissions. 



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