Monday, December 29, 2014

Washington State Offers Ambitious Cap-and-Trade Plan

Seattle, Washington. (Credit: Washington State Department of Transportation/flickr)  Click to Enlarge.
If Washington’s governor gets his legislative holiday wish, the Evergreen State in 18 months will launch one of the world’s most sophisticated and all-encompassing climate-pollution pricing programs.

Draft legislation released last week by the office of Gov. Jay Inslee (D) would — if sufficient support can be mustered from state lawmakers — raise an estimated $1 billion a year through a new levee on greenhouse gas pollution.

The program would cap statewide pollution rates at levels that decline over time, with polluters allowed to trade state-sold pollution allowances among themselves.  It would affect as great a share of carbon as any similar program operating in the U.S., while avoiding pitfalls of other programs, such as giveaways for certain polluters.

The program was crafted to help Washington get on track toward meeting its goals, established by the legislature in 2008, of producing no more greenhouse gases in 2020 than had been the case in 1990, with a further 50 percent reduction by 2050.  Windfall revenue under the cap-and-trade proposal would ease entrenched shortfalls in transportation and education spending, reduce taxes and fund household energy efficiency improvements for poorer residents, and help meet the general costs of running the state.

Read more at Washington State Offers Ambitious Cap-and-Trade Plan

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