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Florida-UK partnership on climate change

Charlie Crist, governor of Florida and Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of California. (c) Getty Images

US states are moving faster than the US government to cut carbon emissions and increase their alternative energy sources. The latest to sign up is Florida.

Charlie Crist, governor of Florida and Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of California, together at the signing. (c) Getty ImagesCommitment to renewable resources

High on the agenda is a commitment to renewable resources such as solar and wind, as well as a search for alternative energy like ethanol and hydrogen.

This latest undertaking was music to the ears of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who have been working locally with the state government to help the project along.

So when state governor, Charlie Crist, signed up to the new carbon emission cuts, he also signed a partnership agreement with the United Kingdom to promote joint action to broaden the Kyoto Protocol.  

The Foreign Secretary's special representative on climate change, Dr John Ashton, signed the agreement for the UK government. "In the end, what the United States does collectively is going to be a very powerful shaping force in the global effort," he said.

Exchange of delegations

John Ashton, the Foreign Secretary's special representative on climate change.The state will exchange delegations with the UK to share public policy experiences and science and technology on renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.

Keith Allan, the British consul general for Florida, says that although the ultimate goal is national action, the UK has been strongly encouraging state actions in the US and offering help to those interested.

Progress and developments

As well as a joint renewable energy conference, UK advisors will be meeting Florida government officials to discuss progress and developments. There will also be collaboration between Florida and UK academic institutions to advance wind-turbine research.

Crist says he believes that Florida, with its nearly 2,000 kilometre coastline, is especially vulnerable to climate change impacts such as rising sea level, storm surges and hurricane strikes, which could severely threaten its economy, and so should be a leader in taking action.

California agreement

Mr Crist was joined at the Florida signing by Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of California, who a year ago signed a similar climate change agreement with former UK prime minister, Tony Blair.

The Californian agreement pledged to work towards an international system of carbon trading to reduce the emissions believed to cause climate change.

A hurricane just about to hit Florida. (c) Getty ImagesIt became the first state with a legally binding plan in place by September 2006, at which stage several other states already had plans in place or in development that included ambitious emissions reduction goals.

Many US states join up

According to the magazine Nature, that number has now grown to include almost half the states in the US. Activity has been most focused in the West and the North-East of the country, but all regions have at least some participants, the magazine says.

See more about how the FCO promotes a low carbon high growth economy.

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