mga.JPGThe governors of a group of nine Midwestern states have signed a joint climate accord to limit local greenhouse gas emissions and encourage environmentally friendly energy generation.

Where the Federal government has dragged its feet in setting standards, individual states have made far more progress in local consensus-building. Twenty-three (full list at bottom) have now signed onto regional accords which cover nearly half the nation’s population.

Each region’s agreement differs, and is generally determined with the local economy in mind. The Midwestern states are pushing to create a market for buying and selling pollution credits, increase the use of non-petroleum sources of electricity, and set goals for sales of ethanol fuel mixes at gas stations.

Notably, the agreements emphasizes corn-based ethanol. Ethanol produced from corn has been questioned, with critics that it is inefficient and that its use is pushing up food prices. Midwestern states like to support corn-based ethanol, though, because it puts money in the pockets of the region’s farmers.

However, the agreements also support solar and wind generation. Such measures should help boost innovation, by forcing utilities to buy into the market for cleaner energy.

Some of the more specific targets the states are calling for include 15 percent of gas stations to mix ethanol with their gasoline, a two percent reduction per year in energy consumption, and for 10 percent of all electricity generation to come from renewable sources, with a 30 percent target by 2030.

The list of states below includes only signatories to the three regional accords. A number of other states are observers, meaning that they’ll probably sign on to one or another of the agreements if it seems to go well.

Midwestern: Midwestern Governor’s Association (MGA) — Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin, plus the Canadian province of Manitoba.
Northeastern: Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont.
Western: Wetern Climate Initiative (WCI) — Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington, plus the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Manitoba.