9 Governors Sign Pact to Reduce GHGs from Forests

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined with Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and six governors from Brazil and Indonesia in signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to reduce forestry-related greenhouse gas emissions at the Governors' Global Climate Summit in Los Angeles.

"Tropical deforestation accounts for 20 percent of all human-caused carbon emissions in the world, and the governors signing these MOUs with us manage more than 60 percent of the world's tropical forest lands," Schwarzenegger said. "With this agreement, we are focusing our collective efforts on the problem and requiring our states to jointly develop rules, incentives and tools to ensure reduced emissions from deforestation and land degradation. We are also sending a strong message that this issue should be front and center during negotiations for the next global agreement on climate change."

The agreement commits these three U.S. states to work with Indonesian and Brazilian states and provinces 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. The other six signees are Gov. Antônio Waldez Góes da Silva of Amapa, Brazil; Gov. Eduardo Braga of Amazonas, Brazil; Gov. Blario Maggi of Mato Grosso, Brazil; Gov. Ana Júla de Vasconcelos Carepa of Para, Brazil; Gov. Yusof Irwandi of Aceh, Indonesia; and Gov. Barnamas Suebu of Papua, Indonesia.

This agreement is the first state-to-state, sub-national agreement focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and land degradation (REDD) programs. The agreement will focus on improving forest carbon accounting methodologies and will work to link state greenhouse gas mitigation programs with REDD efforts in Brazil and Indonesia.