As part of Ontario's request to join the 10 Western Climate Initiative partners, including Utah, officials with the Canadian province announced a "Go Green Climate Change Plan" that includes full closure of all coal plants by 2014. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty submitted the formal request Thursday.
The WCI on Friday announced it intends to recognize Ontario as the group's 11th partner, collectively comprising 73 percent of Canada's economy and 20 percent of the U.S. economy, Utah Department of Environmental Quality spokeswoman Donna Spangler said in a statement.
The Ontario coal plant closures are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 million tons per year. Its Climate Change Plan includes investing in renewable, clean energy, protecting the province's 1.8 million-acre greenbelt, millions in public transit and permanently protecting more than half of the Northern Boreal region.
Utah, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Montana are all WCI member states. WCI observers that may join include Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada and Wyoming.
The WCI cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions began in February 2007, and each WCI member must adopt a "rigorous" cap program for those emissions. Ontario agreed to reducing its emissions by 6 percent below 1990 levels by 2014 and 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.