This week, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) began a scoping study for a carbon cap-and-trade system for the state, which they anticipate will be linked with similar systems already implemented in California, Quebec, and other members of the Western Climate Initiative, the U.S.-Canadian subnational carbon-trading alliance. The scoping study was ordered by the state’s legislature, which did not pass a bill directing Oregon DEQ to implement a cap-and-trade system this year. In 2007, however, the legislature passed ambitious goals for Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions (i.e., 10% below 1990 levels by 2020, 75% below 1990 by 2050), and state Senator Chris Edwards said that if a market-based system is not adopted by 2020, “the possibility or likelihood of hitting (state climate) goals is very unlikely.”
The Oregon DEQ study will evaluate how a potential system would interact with existing state programs, other jurisdictions’ systems, and the stayed U.S. EPA Clean Power Plan. The study will also look at how other states’ programs control economic impacts on the regulated community as well as disadvantaged populations. The study, which will be presented to the legislature during the 2017 session, was funded at a level of $230,000.