Ecology is expected to start developing the rules for the Climate Commitment Act this fall
Last week, the Washington Department of Ecology launched its efforts to develop the program and regulations necessary to implement the Climate Commitment Act, a new law signed in May by Gov. Jay Inslee and designed to reduce gas to greenhouse effect from the state’s largest sources.
The Climate Commitment Act creates a ‘cap and investment’ program, which sets a cap on greenhouse gas emissions statewide, then auctions or allocates emission rights to suppliers fuel, industrial sources, power producers and other major sources of emissions. Over time, the cap narrows, pushing emitters to find ways to increase efficiency, improve processes, switch to non-emitting technologies, or support programs that reduce or capture carbon emissions. . The law requires the new program to be in place by 2023.
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The ‘investment’ part of the program refers to the proceeds from the auction of emission rights, which will support climate resilience programs, such as flood mitigation, securing water supplies and water supply projects. ‘clean energy.
Washington is only the second state to adopt an economy-wide carbon cap program, after California, but this approach to tackling greenhouse gases is used around the world. Thirty nations participate in the European Union’s emissions trading program, which has been in operation since 2005; and China launched its own national emissions cap-and-trade program earlier this year.
The Climate Commitment Act has a number of features designed to protect and invest in communities that today bear a disproportionate burden of pollution or are at high risk from the effects of climate change. This includes directing at least 35% of investments made under the Climate Commitment Act to these overburdened communities and establishing a new air quality monitoring program in these areas.
Ecology leads three related regulations to develop different aspects of the Climate Commitment Act program:
- Rules of the cap and investment program – This regulation establishes the structure of emissions allowances auctions, the allocation of other allowances and the associated requirements.
- Criteria for Emissions-Intensive and Trade-Exposed Industries – The Climate Commitment Act provides special rules for emissions-intensive industries like pulp and paper mills and refineries, providing incentives to invest in emission reductions while ensuring that these companies can continue to operate at Washington. In this rulemaking, Ecology will establish criteria that will define how new or existing businesses qualify as being emissions-intensive and exposed to trade.
- Declaration of greenhouse gas emissions – These regulations will update Washington’s existing greenhouse gas reporting program to align with the requirements of the Climate Commitment Act.
As this new program is developed, Ecology will be seeking public input on the design and operation of the program this fall. There will be both informal public workshops where people can learn about the design of the program and formal hearings where the public can give their opinion on the proposed structure. Ecology will announce the details of these meetings in the coming months.
You can stay up to date on Ecology’s progress, proposals and public engagement opportunities by subscribing to the Climate Commitment Act mailing list.
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