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Regional Cap-and-trade Re-booted – WCI edition

August 3, 2010

So the US Senate climate bill flop puts the focus back on the regional schemes under development. Most notably, the Western Climate Iniative (WCI). In an effort to demonstrate that the momentum will not fade, the WCI partners have just released a report outlining their shared vision for the design of the scheme. I still think this will be hard to do effectively given a) the state of the economy, and b) the Meg Whitman factor in California (she wants to can California’s ETS which would have been the backbone of WCI). But we’ll see.

Here are some of the more interesting aspects of their proposal:

  • Emission offsets from sources not covered by the program can be used in limited quantity along with emission allowances to comply with the program.
  • Allowing entities to turn in allowances in three-year periods provides flexibility as to when emissions reductions are made.
  •  To ensure that the program is not only affordable, but also supportive of economic growth and job creation, the WCI Partner jurisdictions are considering a number of options to address unforeseen circumstances. These include an allowance reserve in the event of high-price conditions, increased flexibility regarding compliance periods, and special purpose mechanisms to address specific local conditions.
  • Between now and the planned program start date of January 2012, the WCI Partner  jurisdictions will address remaining program design issues and take the steps necessary to make regional trading operational.



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