( AP ) - A second wave of Americans has landed on this tropical island, envoys of state and local governments who have come to tell the U.N. climate conference that not all U.S. leaders oppose mandatory cuts in global warming gases.
"We are laying the groundwork for what we feel will soon be a national policy," said California's environmental protection secretary, Linda Adams, whose state has led the way with legislation paring down emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for rising temperatures.
Adams was referring to expected changes in U.S. national policy after the January 2009 end of the Bush administration, which has opposed emissions caps under a legally binding treaty.
The "other American" message will be delivered by headline spokesmen: a larger-than-life California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, addressing the conference by live video link on Friday, and a life-size New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaking in person that same day.
The governor and the mayor will follow by one day the appearance of climate crusader and former Vice President Al Gore, fresh from his Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Norway.
This competition between national and state governments doesn't faze the veteran chief U.S. climate negotiator.
"It gives the world the opportunity to see the diversity of views in the U.S.," said Harlan Watson.
Besides Adams' 30 Californians, larger than many countries' delegations, a consortium of northeastern U.S. states is represented here by a New York state official, and local governments, from Annapolis, Md., to King County, Washington, who have sent chief executives or other envoys.
They began arriving last weekend, midway through the two-week, 180-plus-nation conference, and immediately entered into a schedule of presentations and meetings with European delegates and others, to report what they're doing at home and to learn what more might be done to head off the impacts of climate change.
In California, the threat of severe water shortages and other potential problems due to rising temperatures led the Republican governor and his Democratic-led legislature last year to enact legislation to reduce emissions by utility plants, oil refineries, cement factories and other major industries by an estimated 25 percent below what they otherwise would be in 2020.
The state is establishing a cap-and-trade system by which businesses can buy and sell emissions credits - selling extra allowances if they come in under their quotas, and buying them if needed to overshoot the ceiling. The European Union established the first trading system under the Kyoto Protocol, the emissions-reduction agreement rejected by the U.S.
Five other Western states, meanwhile, have joined California in a Western Climate Change Initiative, setting a regional goal of 15 percent greenhouse-gas cuts below 2005 levels by 2020.
The European Union, by contrast, has committed to 20 to 30 percent reductions below 1990 levels by 2020.
In the U.S. Northeast, New York and nine other states have agreed to reduce power plants' carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent below 2005 levels by 2015. They will launch a cap-and-trade system in 2009.
Five Midwestern states and Canada's Manitoba province last month announced their own plan for a regional cap-and-trade plan.
State officials are consulting across regional lines and with the European Trading System to harmonize such elements as how to measure emissions, account for credits and trades, and capitalize the market - by grants of credits to industries, as in Europe, or by auctioning off credits, as U.S. states envision.
In October, the talks produced an information-sharing agreement, the International Climate Action Partnership, bringing together California, New York and New Jersey with the European Union, Canadian provinces, New Zealand and Norway.
The pact is an "important step toward extending the global carbon market," Portuguese delegate Nuno Lacasta said here in Bali.
"Ideally, we'd like to have a harmonized system across borders," Peter Iwanowicz, New York state's climate change director, said before jetting to Bali.
Since only Washington can establish such foreign relations, any U.S.-international emissions trading system must await U.S. acceptance of Kyoto-like emissions caps, something many believe a post-Bush administration, whether Democratic or Republican, is likely to do.
The Climate Registry, a California-based nonprofit agency, isn't waiting. With 39 states already on board, it's already establishing a nationwide system for measuring and verifying emissions by the many elements of the complex U.S. economy.
At the same time, U.S. cities are taking on targets. Bloomberg's New York has decided to reduce emissions within city limits by 30 percent by 2030. Seattle says city operations have cut emissions by 60 percent through motor pools of hybrid cars and other measures.
"This is really democracy at its best," said Climate Registry spokeswoman Nancy Whalen. "In other countries, the top tells you what to do and you follow. Here, it's the states leading the way for the federal government."