Climate 411

Washington state’s carbon market continues to raise major investments, as state leaders consider linking to California-Quebec market

Results were released today for Washington’s third quarterly cap-and-invest auction, which was held on August 30th. The results from this sold-out auction continue to demonstrate strong demand for allowances in this program, which has brought in significant revenue for the state of Washington to reinvest in its communities. These results follow on two previous sold-out quarterly auctions, as well as an auction from the Allowance Price Containment Reserve last month which raised an additional $62,491,660 while functioning as a market stabilizing feature. In total, these auctions have generated $919,564,777 for Washington communities.

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August Western Climate Initiative auction results show strong demand, as California contemplates increased cap-and-trade ambition

This blog was co-authored by Katelyn Roedner Sutter, California State Director at Environmental Defense Fund.

Results of the August Western Climate Initiative auction were released today, and as expected we saw strong demand for allowances. At the same time, California Air Resources Board (CARB) is continuing its series of workshops exploring potential changes to the cap-and-trade program, which are an important opportunity to increase the state’s climate ambition.

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Washington state’s cap-and-invest program demonstrates cost containment features with special August auction

Yesterday, the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) released the results from Washington’s first Allowance Price Containment Reserve (APCR) auction, held on August 9th. At this auction, all 1,054,000 of the available APCR allowances were sold at the two APCR tier prices of $51.90 and $66.68, with 527,000 allowances available at each price tier. This auction, along with two previous sold-out cap-and-invest auctions, shows continued strong demand for allowances under Washington’s cap-and-invest program and demonstrates the important role that an APCR can play in building predictability and stability into allowances prices.

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California and Quebec have a major opportunity to raise the ambition of their linked carbon market

Photo of a solar farm in California

When the California Air Resources Board (CARB) finalized its Scoping Plan last year, it marked a critical milestone in charting an ambitious – but achievable – path toward a safer, climate future for communities across the state. Now, it’s time for CARB to put that plan into action.

The good news is that air regulators are taking a key step forward with a new joint workshop between California and Quebec on June 14 that will focus on potential amendments to the linked cap-and-trade program. The workshop will discuss the status of the current regulation and, critically, the scope of potential updates to bring the regulation in line with CARB’s 2022 Scoping Plan, which sets a goal of 48% emissions reductions by 2030 – an essential target to ensure California reaches its long-term reduction goals.

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Washington state’s second cap-and-invest auction shows strong demand

Photo of Olympic National Park

Photo Credit: Wendy Olsen Photography

Blog co-authored by Kjellen Belcher, Manager, U.S. Climate

Today’s results from Washington’s second cap-and-invest auction – most notably selling 100% of allowances – continue to signal strong demand for allowances and confidence in the program, bringing significant revenue for the state to reinvest in Washington communities. This is only the second auction held for the cap-and-invest program, following on a strong debut auction which also sold-out and raised almost $300 million in revenue which will be put towards efforts to further decrease Washington’s climate pollution and increase resilience to climate change.

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The lowdown on linkage: Why Washington and California should link their carbon markets

It’s been two months since the debut auction of Washington’s cap-and-invest program — the nation’s most ambitious climate program to date — which puts a firm, declining limit on climate pollution across the state’s economy. Since then, state leaders have turned their attention to the next major decision facing the program: whether to link up Washington state’s carbon market with California-Quebec’s market, a.k.a. “Linkage.” Put simply, linkage refers to joining carbon pricing systems — like cap-and-invest or cap-and-trade systems — across borders, whether those borders are state or national. In a linked market, all participating jurisdictions pool their supply of allowances, and conduct shared auctions.

Washington’s Department of Ecology recently concluded their public comment period on the issue of linkage, the first step required for pursuing linkage as laid out by the state’s Climate Commitment Act, with a goal of linking Washington’s carbon market with the joint California-Quebec carbon market by 2025. After Washington decides whether or not to pursue linkage — likely later this summer — California and Quebec will need to undertake their own processes to decide whether to link.

Washington, California and Quebec have a lot to gain from linkage. It can drive deeper cuts in climate pollution, lower prices and increase the stability of the carbon market. The programs in these jurisdictions are already aligned in the central ways needed to function as a linked market — but to unlock the greatest benefits of linkage, leaders need to align key aspects of these carbon markets in their respective processes.

Here’s what you should know about linkage and four key opportunities Washington and California-Quebec have to align their programs.

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