SACRAMENTO - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger lauded an agreement Thursday that brings nine states in the U.S. heartland in line with his fight against global warming - his 11th such pact in little more than a year.
The latest accord was signed at a climate-change summit in Wisconsin. Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Kansas, Ohio, Wisconsin and South Dakota signed onto the pact, along with the Canadian province of Manitoba.
The pacts enlist governments - states, foreign provinces, even a coalition of European Union nations - to join a large emissions cap-and-trade system. Schwarzenegger and others believe such a program will create incentives for businesses to curb greenhouse-gas emissions by allowing them to trade and sell credits to those who don't.
"States and regions are making significant progress toward paving the way for a future federal program," Schwarzenegger said of the agreement. "Together, we're creating a network of climate initiatives that will form the foundation of an eventual national program."
Beginning Sunday, Schwarzenegger will appear in a 30-second, global-warming alert TV ad that Environmental Defense funded with $3 million to pressure Congress. The ad also features Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., a Republican, and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat.
Next month, Schwarzenegger is expected to join former Vice President Al Gore in a presidential forum on the environment - for candidates of both parties -in New Hampshire, shortly before the first state presidential primary.
California's governor has made high-profile appearances on global warming, including a United Nations address, while lobbying Congress and playing a role in the 2008 presidential race by drawing attention to the problem.
Schwarzenegger's aides said the agreement signed Thursday is modeled after the pact forged in February between California and the Western states of Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. Utah has since joined.
"Today's agreement is an important milestone toward achieving a cleaner, more secure energy future," said Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
The Midwestern accord will:
• Establish greenhouse-gas reduction targets and time tables.
• Develop a market-based and multiple-sector cap-and-trade mechanism to help achieve those targets.
• Foster development of additional steps needed to achieve reduction goals, such as low-carbon fuel standards, and regional incentives and funding mechanisms.
In September 2006, the governor signed California legislation that established regulatory and market mechanisms designed to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.