Governors Rally for Climate Change Initiatives

Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell on April 21 led more than a dozen governors from across the country in signing the Governors' Declaration on Climate Change at the 2008 Conference on Climate Change at Yale University.

"For many years, states have been concerned about the serious consequences our planet faces as a result of global warming and climate change," Rell said. "As individual states, we have aggressively confronted the challenge. It is now time for unified action and today my fellow governors and I memorialized our commitment to stop global warming while calling on our federal partners to join us in establishing a national policy on climate change."

Joining Rell in signing the declaration were Gov. Jon Corzine of New Jersey and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas. In addition, the governors of Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia and Washington have signed the declaration.

The Governors' Declaration on Climate Change builds on the historic efforts of President Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, the founder of the Yale School of Forestry and the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service. Together, President Roosevelt and Pinchot launched a national movement to conserve the country's natural resources.

The declaration sets forth three key principles:

• A federal-state partnership is critical to success – the federal government and the states need to be fully engaged and there needs to be federal support for state innovation and the development of "green" energy technology.

• State-based climate action plans and programs have paved the way for cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gases and they deserve continued support – measures taken at the state level are making a difference and there are many ways these measures can be strengthened and developed further with federal support.

• Rewarding and encouraging meaningful and mandatory federal and state climate action is key – there must be incentives for states to provide leadership on climate action. These incentives drive change, and they can come from existing federal energy, transportation and agriculture programs as well as from auction-revenue derived from a federal cap-and-trade program.

"It is clear that we need a national dialogue on an issue as significant as climate change and with President Bush's announcement and Senator Lieberman's efforts in Congress, it appears that we are on the verge of a monumental, meaningful discussion," Rell said.

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