WA Department of Ecology seeking public input on Climate Commitment Act rule

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FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2020 file photo, a ThyssenKrupp coking plant steams around the clock for the nearby steel mill in Duisburg, Germany. The cuts in greenhouse gas emissions pledged by governments around the world aren't enough to achieve the headline goal of the Paris climate accord, according to a United Nations report published Friday. The U.N. climate office said it reviewed all the national commitments submitted by Paris pact signatories until July 30 and found that they would result in emissions of planet-warming gas rising nearly 16% by 2030, compared with 2010 levels.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Ecology is seeking public input on a new “cap-and-invest” rule for the Climate Commitment Act.

This rule would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s largest sources along with committing $500 million per year to address climate change.

“The Climate Commitment Act is one of the most important environmental laws in 50 years, and a key policy driving Washington’s push to reach our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050,” said Laura Watson, the director of the department. “The new cap-and-invest program will invest an estimated $500 million a year in reducing emissions and protecting Washington communities from the effects of climate change.”

The Climate Commitment Act requires major sources of greenhouse gases to obtain emission allowances. Over time, the total number of allowances will be reduced, pushing these sources to reduce their emissions. acting as the “cap” part of the program. Some of the allowances will be sold at auctions. The funds raised by the program will go towards reducing emissions, supporting disproportionately affected communities and building climate resiliency against flooding, wildfires, ocean acidification, drought and severe heat. This is the “invest” part of the program.

“Climate change is already harming Washington,” said Kathy Taylor, manager of Ecology’s Air Quality Program. “We have no time to waste in eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and preventing even worse impacts in the years ahead. This is your chance to learn about the design of the cap-and-invest program and provide input as we move toward the clean energy future we all urgently need.”

Under the legislation passed in 2021, Ecology must have Washington’s cap-and-invest program up and running by Jan. 1, 2023. The department invites public input on the program’s rule through June 30, 2022.

Want to make a comment? You can do so here.

You can also attend a virtual public hearing on June 21, 22, 27, and 28, or email your input to Mark Grice, Department of Ecology, Air Quality Program, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA, 98504-7600.

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