Virginia, United Kingdom Sign Climate Change Agreement

February 13, 2009

Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine and the United Kingdom's Ambassador to the United States, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, signed a bilateral Climate Change Action Agreement at the Virginia Capitol on February 12. The agreement commits each government to combat the effects of climate change and develop a more climate-friendly economy.

Virginia is the fifth state to enter the agreement, joining California, Florida, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Under the terms of the agreement, Virginia and the United Kingdom (UK) agree to:

  1. Promote policies that cut emissions and develop a green economy at home
  2. Promote market-based policies that reduce emissions globally
  3. Improve scientific understanding of the effects of climate change
  4. Develop technology to mitigate and reduce the effects of climate change
  5. Encourage climate-friendly economic development
  6. Raise public awareness of the effects of climate change.

The agreement emphasizes the importance of a market-based cap-and-trade program to limit carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming, and builds on efforts both governments have made toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Virginia's efforts include Kaine's proposal to reduce electricity consumption in Virginia by 19 percent by 2025. Great Britain already participates in the European emissions trading program, which aims to reduce greenhouse gases on a continental scale by 8 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

The Virginia and UK governments have promised to share research and encourage trade in the alternative and renewable energy industries, especially in offshore renewable energy production, including wind, current, and marine biomass production. Virginia's colleges and universities and the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium are developing these technologies domestically. The UK is conducting offshore tidal and wind energy research and developing those technologies.

"Virginia and the UK recognize that climate change is a global phenomenon and combating it requires global partnerships," Kaine said. "Sir Nigel and I believe this agreement will help bring together Virginia and UK researchers, entrepreneurs, and environmental educators to achieve greenhouse gas reductions, promote energy efficiency and independence, and promote the development of a green economy."

For more information, see the governor's February 12 press release and the agreement (PDF 32 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

To read more about renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Virginia, see: