The Washington State Department of Ecology has finalized regulations for the state’s first cap-and-invest program, which will drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change. The program is a result of the Climate Commitment Act passed by legislators and signed by the governor last year. Under the cap-and-invest program, firms responsible for 75% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions must obtain allowances to cover their emissions. Over time, these allowances will be reduced, incentivizing businesses to cut emissions.
“This policy is among the most decisive actions we’ve taken in our history to confront climate change and protect our collective future,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “This new program will help us decarbonize our economy, improve air quality, and put Washington at the forefront of the fast-growing global era of clean energy.”
This is among several policies passed in recent years aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions 95% by 2050. Ecology is required to implement the landmark program – only the second of its kind in the nation – by Jan. 1, 2023. The first auction is planned for February 2023.
The revenue will be invested in activities that further reduce emissions and benefit communities disproportionately harmed by climate change. One example of how these revenues will be used is in this year’s Move Ahead Washington transportation package that includes unprecedented investments in transit – including free transit for all youth ages 18 and younger, electrification of ferries and cars, and other non-highway modes of travel.