Washington places cap on large carbon emitters - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, GHG Emissions, Industrial, Regulation  -  September 19, 2016

Washington adopts rule to cap large carbon emitters

Regulators in Washington state have adopted a new rule requiring large carbon emitters —including businesses, large industrial companies in particular —to gradually reduce their emissions over time. 

The Seattle Times reported the news Sept. 15, following a state news conference in which Washington Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon said: "When we consider the challenges our communities face from climate change, we are compelled to act.”

Calling the clean air rule the first of its kind, the state said in a news release that it applies to businesses that emit 100,000  metric tons of carbon pollution annually; those Washington companies will be required to cap and then begin reducing emissions by an average of 1.7% a year starting in 2017.

If a business cannot limit its own emissions, other options are available. The state said businesses could alternatively develop a project that somehow reduces carbon pollution in the state such as an energy efficiency program; purchasing carbon credits from other organizations or from approved carbon markets is another option for compliance. 

The state said its plan "relies on businesses to trade independently among themselves and with other markets." All emissions reductions, projects and trading will be need to be validated by independent auditors with oversight from the Department of Ecology. More information is available on the department's website.

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