Inslee touts 'cap-and-invest' program to reduce carbon emissions
Author: Julia Lerner
The initiatives, including a new cap-and-invest program and the “Clean Fuel Standard” as part of the 2021 Climate Commitment Act, will target the state’s largest sector of carbon emissions: transportation. The two programs, combined with other legislation from the Climate Commitment Act and the 2035 zero-emission vehicle policy, will help remove more than 4.3 million metric tons of fuel emissions each year while meeting state-established climate goals, Washington Department of Ecology Director Laura Watson said. “By 2034, we will cut transportation fuel emissions by 20%,” she said during a joint conference with Inslee on January 3, 2023. “That equates to taking about 900,000 cars off the road. I’m talking about internal combustion engine cars.” The cap-and-invest program is one of the first in the nation to target emissions by limiting major emissions sources. Businesses will need to obtain emission allowances to cover their carbon emissions, Watson said. Each year, Ecology will release fewer and fewer allowances for auction, which will help the state reach emissions targets established by the 2019 Clean Energy Transformation Act. The act's current goals require the state to cut ties with coal and rely entirely on clean energy by 2040. Much of the battle, Inslee said, is reducing transportation emissions, which currently account for about 39% of state greenhouse gas emissions, according to the latest data from Ecology.