Climate 411

The Climate Commitment Act could be game-changing for Washington state and the country: Here’s what you should know

Washington has an opportunity in the Climate Commitment Act to adopt transformative climate policy. It would enable the state to slash greenhouse gas emissions at the pace and scale necessary to fight the climate crisis, help address the disproportionate and historic pollution burden in many low-income communities and communities of color, and provide a policy model for other states on how to achieve their emission reduction goals.

There are many reasons the Legislature should act swiftly to ensure this landmark policy becomes law. Here is a rundown of the key features, how they work and why they matter.

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Washington state moves closer to comprehensive climate policy, strengthening its climate leadership

This post was co-authored with Kjellen Belcher, Senior Analyst, U.S. Climate Policy at EDF.

Washington state capitol.

The Washington Legislature has just advanced ambitious climate policy that would make the state the second in the nation to place an enforceable, declining limit on climate pollution from the largest-emitting sectors of its economy. This is a fundamental step toward protecting the people of Washington state from the most severe consequences of climate change.

The Climate Commitment Act, which passed 7-3 out of the Environment, Energy, and Technology Committee on Thursday morning, places a firm limit on the state’s climate pollution and puts a price on carbon to ensure continued investments in community resilience, green jobs, sustainable transportation, and clean energy. The bill would guarantee that greenhouse gas emissions from across the state are slashed in line with Washington’s strong statutory climate goals.

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Posted in Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Comments are closed

Latest Western Climate Initiative auction sells out; still space for more climate ambition from cap and trade

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

The latest California-Quebec auction was fully subscribed, based on results released today. This is the second quarter in a row where all allowances sold, which is good news for the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. There is still opportunity, however, for more ambition in the program moving forward.

Today’s results, by the numbers

  • All 54,773,607 current vintage allowances were offered for sale. This is the second consecutive auction where all current allowances sold. It should also be noted that there were just under 2 million more allowances offered in November compared to February, mainly due to the annual decline of the emissions cap.
  • Current vintage allowances cleared at $17.80, 9 cents above the floor price of $17.71. This is 87 cents above the November 2020 settlement price of $16.93.
  • All of the 8,306,250 future vintage allowances offered for sale sold, just as 100% sold in the previous auction. These allowances may not be used for compliance until 2024.
  • Future vintage allowances sold at $18.01, 30 cents above the floor price of $17.71, and 66 cents above the $17.35 settlement price from November 2020.
  • California raised almost $650 million for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, some of which the Legislature may allocate during the ongoing budget process for priorities such as the Community Air Protection Program and the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Program.
  • Quebec raised just over $150 million (just over $190 million CAD) to invest in their own climate priorities.

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Posted in California, Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Comments are closed

Washington state can make good on its climate promises and close the emissions gap

Editor’s note: This post was last updated Jan 12, 2021.

After a harrowing year, which included a record-breaking wildfire season in Washington that burned over 700,000 acres, Washington state lawmakers now have the opportunity to make meaningful climate progress in the new 2021 legislative session. Governor Inslee recently unveiled a comprehensive legislative framework for the upcoming session, which focuses on securing reductions in climate pollution consistent with the state’s science-based reduction targets. The package proposes a Clean Fuel Standard, doubles-down on curbing pollution from buildings and investing in clean energy, and critically, includes a firm, declining limit on greenhouse gas emissions that can guarantee pollution is slashed in line with Washington’s climate goals. The proposal also centers environmental justice by ensuring that frontline communities have a prominent role in designing policy and climate investments. Governor Inslee’s leadership is welcome news following the release of a report by Environmental Defense Fund which shows that states with climate commitments, including Washington, are off course for bringing their emissions down consistent with science-based trajectories for 2030.

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Posted in Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Comments are closed

Emissions are down and cap-and-trade revenue is up, but California’s Scoping Plan must accelerate climate ambition

Downtown Los Angles at sunset. Chad Ehlers / Alamy

Downtown Los Angles at sunset. Chad Ehlers / Alamy

Recent California climate news is about the past, present, and future of climate policy. Last month the state released their 2018 emissions inventory, showing a decline in transportation emissions. Today, results of the most recent Western Climate Initiative cap-and-trade auction were released and show a rebound in demand for allowances despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and an increase in revenue for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. But as the California Air Resources Board previews priorities for the Climate Change Scoping Plan updated, set to begin in early 2021, it is clear that the state needs to ramp up its emission reductions.

Let’s start with today’s auction news.

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Posted in California, Carbon Markets, Cars and Pollution / Comments are closed

Western Climate Initiative auction strengthens as state has opportunity to increase its climate ambition

Caption: Solar farm in the Mojave Desert, California

Solar farm in the Mojave Desert, California

The results of the latest Western Climate Initiative cap-and-trade auction were announced today and showed stronger demand for allowances than in the May auction. This meant significantly higher revenue for California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

While the auction was still undersubscribed for the second quarter in a row, this is not a surprising outcome due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the renewed closures in parts of California’s economy, and the overall economic uncertainty.

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Posted in California, Carbon Markets / Comments are closed