Washington Governor Proposes Carbon Market


By Lynn Doan      (Bloomberg) — Washington Governor Jay Inslee proposed a carbon market, a statewide fuel standard and $60 million dedicated to clean energy projects and technologies in an effort to help curb global warming.

The carbon market, similar to ones run by California and a group of states in the eastern U.S., would generate about $1 billion annually, according to an overview of the plan posted on the governor’s website.

“I believe it’s our destiny to lead in clean energy,” Inslee said in an e-mailed statement. “Washington may be less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the world’s population, but we’re number one in the world in software, in aerospace, in apples, in online retailing. We can choose cleaner air, more efficient cars and a better transportation system.”

Inslee has expressed interest for months in developing the state’s own carbon market and fuel standard. He established a climate change task force in April to make recommendations and Washington is part of a coalition of western U.S. states and Canadian provinces that agreed last year to work together to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. California’s air chief Mary Nichols has said her agency is recruiting other governments in the U.S. West to form a regional carbon market. Nichols described Inslee’s proposals as “timely and effective climate action.”      “California’s experience shows that reduction of greenhouse gases can take place as the state economy registers healthy growth and innovation,” she said by e-mail.

Annual Limit

Inslee’s plan would set an annual limit on emissions and require companies to purchase allowances to cover their pollution while gradually shrinking the number of permits available, a practice known as cap and trade. California, Quebec and Northeastern states known collectively as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative operate similar cap-and-trade markets in North America.      California and Quebec linked their systems Jan. 1 so that companies can trade allowances within their systems. Should Inslee’s legislation pass, “Washington state could become the next partner to join the linked Quebec/California carbon market,” David Heurtel, Quebec’s environment minister, said in an e-mailed statement.