Washington state’s new cap-and-trade rule tackles global warming

By Associated Press & Tri-City Herald.

Washington state adopted a controversial rule Thursday to limit greenhouse gas emissions from large carbon polluters, joining a handful of other states in capping emissions to address climate change.

State environmental regulators finalized the Clean Air Rule, which requires large industrial emitters to gradually reduce carbon emissions over time. The change affects power plants, oil refineries, fuel distributors, pulp and paper mills, food processors and other industries and will cost millions if not billions of dollars to implement.

Some of the Mid-Columbia’s largest businesses will be affected by the new rule, though not until 2020 under a schedule the Washington Department of Ecology published this spring.

The rule requires businesses that emit more than 100,000 metric tons of carbon pollution per year to reduce their emissions by 1.7 percent annually, or in lieu of that, create off-site programs to mitigate their emissions or to purchase carbon credits, a type of environmental security. It would be extended to smaller polluters in succeeding years.