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Governors of five western states - including Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington - have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) creating the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative, a joint strategy to fight global warming.

At the annual winter meeting of the National Governors Association, Gov. Schwarzenegger, R-Calif.; Janet Napolitano, D-Ariz.; Bill Richardson, D-N.M.; Ted Kulongoski, D-Ore.; and Christine Gregoire, D-Wash., signed the agreement that directs their respective states to, within the next six months, develop a regional target for reducing greenhouse gases. During the next 18 months, they will devise a market-based program, such as a load-based cap and trade program, to reach the regional target.

"Today's announcement shows how the West continues to lead the way in addressing the most pressing environmental challenge of our time," says Kulongoski. "Together, we are putting ourselves on a path to reduce greenhouse emissions and create a sustainable energy future - a model and example for rest of the nation."

The new initiative builds on existing greenhouse gas reduction efforts in the individual states as well as two existing regional efforts. In 2003, California, Oregon and Washington created the West Coast Global Warming Initiative, and in 2006, Arizona and New Mexico launched the Southwest Climate Change Initiative.

In addition, the five states have agreed to participate in a multi-state registry to track and manage greenhouse gas emissions in their region. To view the MOU, visit http://azgovernor.gov/dms/upload/NR_022607_WesternClimateAgreementFinal.pdf

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