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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist to sign global warming pact with Britain --like Ah-nold



Florida Gov. Charlie Crist plans to sign an agreement Friday with the government of England to work together on combating global warming, according to a spokeswoman for the British Consulate. A similar agreement was signed a year ago by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

British officials took pains to point out that they weren't trying to go behind the White House's back in signing pacts with various states.

"We're not trying to go above the U.S. government by any means – it's just a partnership," said Annette Hugues, a spokeswoman for the British Consulate in Miami

But last year, when Schwarzenegger signed a pact with then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, the California governor contended that states had to forge their own global warming agreements because the White House and Congress had been dragging their feet.

"California will not wait for our federal government to take strong action on global warming,” Schwarzenegger said at the time.

Florida officials would not talk about the agreement before the signing.  "We'll be prepared to talk about it tomorrow," said Crist spokeswoman Erin Isaac.

"There is no question the world is looking to the larger states like California and Florida to take the lead," said Terry Tamminen, who served as Schwarzenegger's environmental chief and convinced Crist of the urgent need for action by Florida.

In addition to hosting the two-day summit in Miami, Crist is slated to sign three executive orders that mandate sweeping changes in Florida's energy policy, including cutting greenhouse gas emissions from utilities and revamping the building code to require greater energy efficiency.

Tamminen said he is hopeful that Florida's actions could persuade other states in the Southeast to take similar steps, so that Florida could anchor a regional trading system.

 --Asjylyn Loder and Craig Pittman

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:39pm]


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