The Washington Department of Ecology recently held its first auction of greenhouse-gas pollution allowances, selling almost all 6.2 million allowances and generating an estimated $300M. Each allowance represented one metric ton of greenhouse gas emissions, and the settlement price was $48.50 per ton, which is higher than that in similar programs in California and Quebec. Polluting businesses can purchase allowances at quarterly auctions, proceeds of which will go to the state Legislature to spend on other programs to reduce emissions.
Washington’s carbon pricing program is the centerpiece of the state’s 2021 Climate Commitment Act, which sets a statewide cap on greenhouse-gas emissions and a goal of decarbonization by 2050. See more about Ecology’s cap-and-invest program here.