party hat icon on mt adams in background, hop fields in foreground, text overlay: landmark climate leadership and investment
WA Dept of Ag
FINALLY! Polluters start to pay in WA!

Washington just raised $300 MILLION to reinvest in our communities in the first auction for allowances, with three more auctions coming this year! For the first time ever, our state will have billions of dollars available to invest in climate and clean energy solutions. There is a lot on the horizon to look forward to - unprecedented investments in a cleaner transportation system, cleaner homes and buildings, and cleaner air to breathe. It is truly an exciting time to live in Washington!

The Climate Commitment Act is a product of over a decade’s worth of work, continuously beating the drum on climate. We now have a first-in-the-nation cap-and-invest policy that actually centers justice and requires some of the steepest cuts in climate pollution in the country, and we are on the brink of seeing real benefits in our communities. 

Following our deep dive into the ins and outs of the Climate Commitment Act (CCA), we’re reporting back for a quick touch on the results of Washington’s first auction, which showed huge potential for pollution reductions statewide with funds generated by some of the state’s top polluters. The price of an allowance settled at $48.50, generating a whopping $300 million for climate and clean energy investments from this auction alone. 

Last month’s auction was just the first of many and offered a window into the immense promise of the CCA to fund programs that cut carbon from our biggest sources of climate pollution, including transportation, industry, and our homes and buildings. CCA funds will also play a pivotal role in improving air quality in overburdened communities, supporting Tribal Nations’ climate resilience and adaptation efforts, and bolstering natural infrastructure to increase resilience and sequestration capacity in our environment and our communities. At least 35% (with a goal of 40%) of CCA funds must also directly benefit overburdened communities. Working with the Environmental Justice Council, the Legislature has an incredible opportunity to reduce the disproportionate impacts of climate change and poor air quality in overburdened communities, while ensuring these communities experience the benefits of these new funds. 

You can learn more about climate and clean energy investment opportunities here. You can also read a quick summary of nationwide media coverage, including WA Director Kelly Hall in the Washington Post, in our previous edition of ClimateCast

What’s happening now? 

Legislators are actively determining how CCA dollars should be spent in the next biennium and you can act now to let them know what’s important in reducing climate pollution and ensuring cleaner air for all Washingtonians. 

Send a message to your legislator for investments in transitioning our medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to cleaner, zero-emission options. 

Send a message to your legislator to increase access to heat pump technology for low- and middle-income homeowners, schools, and small businesses.


Author Bio

Altinay Karasapan

Washington Regulatory Policy Manager, Climate Solutions

As Washington Regulatory Policy Manager, Altinay manages engagement with the ongoing implementation of key climate regulations and policies including Washington’s landmark Climate Commitment Act.

Prior to joining Climate Solutions, Altinay served as the Environmental Health Manager for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL). In this role, she advanced state policies on plastic pollution, toxic chemicals, and Mississippi River health through research & analysis, network-building, and outreach. After wrapping up at NCEL and moving to Seattle to pursue her graduate degree, Altinay also worked with the Washington State Department of Commerce. She assisted with various clean energy projects, touching on issues around energy efficiency, rural clean energy, and siting. Her time at Commerce culminated in an equity analysis of the state’s Clean Energy Fund to identify barriers to equitable program implementation.

Altinay received her BA from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, where she developed her love of the outdoors and environmental policy. She moved to Seattle from her hometown of D.C. to attend the Evans School of Public Policy at the University of Washington and has loved exploring Washington’s beautiful trails, coastlines, and lakes (and spending its many rainy days baking, drinking tea, and reading)