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Gov. Charlie Crist

Working together on energy solutions

This week, I join California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in co-hosting other governors and international leaders at the Governors' Global Climate Summit. In spite of little movement on the federal level, states lead the way in addressing this global challenge. Canadian provinces, Mexican states, China and India are also moving forward, while the subnational governments in Brazil and Indonesia are taking steps to preserve rainforests. By working together we can create a cleaner future for all.

I applaud Gov. Schwarzenegger's call for collaborative action across the globe. His leadership has led to California laws and policies that protect the environment, including our nation's first laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and control emissions by curbing sprawl. California has also led the way by adopting the world's first vehicle greenhouse-gas emissions standards and working toward 20 percent power generation from renewables by 2010, and 33 percent by 2020.

In Florida, we are also making progress. In 2007, I signed three executive orders with three goals: reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050, increase energy efficiency and increase our use of renewable energy. State government is leading by example, working to reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2025. To help us reach these emissions targets, I appointed a diverse group of environmental and business leaders — an Action Team — to create a plan. They have recommended strategies for conserving energy and producing more renewables, nuclear and biofuels. This plan will create more sustainable communities and a low-carbon economy while protecting Florida consumers.

Building on this framework, I signed bipartisan, comprehensive energy and economic development legislation this year. As a result, alternative energy like ethanol will make up 10 percent of Florida's total fuel supply by 2010. We are also developing a renewable portfolio standard, increasing our use of wind, solar and other renewable energy. Florida is leading the Southeast in advancing a cap-and-trade program, and new buildings will have to be 50 percent more efficient by 2019.

Florida continues to promote the use of alternative and renewable energy technologies, including creating a consortium among state universities to grow Florida's green tech industry. Entrepreneurs, along with our universities, can develop the technology to power our homes and move our people and products in energy-efficient ways. Already their research is developing energy technologies — ethanol at the University of Florida, solar power at the University of Central Florida and ocean energy at Florida Atlantic University.

Our Action Team recommendations call for increased investment in zero-carbon power generation and greater energy efficiency across our economy. We have found that by doubling Florida's biofuel requirement by 2020, instituting smarter growth and increasing transit ridership, we can significantly reduce our emissions and save more than three years' worth of petroleum at 2006 usage levels between 2009 and 2025. We are also considering measures that will enable our natural systems to be more resilient over time, addressing the impact of rising sea levels on Florida's coastlines, coral reefs and fish and wildlife.

Florida's rapid progress has become possible only through partnership agreements with the United Kingdom and Germany, and with the help of my good friend, Gov. Schwarzenegger. This progress comes only as we work together — not at the expense of future economic growth, but as a necessity for the future prosperity of all.

Charlie Crist is governor of Florida.

Working together on energy solutions 11/19/08 [Last modified: Sunday, November 23, 2008 4:52pm]

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