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Washington State Tells Businesses to Eliminate Emissions by 2050

The new law, the most aggressive in the U.S., creates a market where polluters buy and sell credits from the state for every ton of greenhouse gases they emit.

Jay Inslee

Jay Inslee

Photographer: John Moore/Getty Images North America

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is set to sign a law today mandating that a broad swath of industries essentially eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The new standards, the most aggressive in the nation, will go into effect in 2023.

The Climate Commitment Act sets a cap on greenhouse gas and creates a market where polluting industries buy and sell credits from the state for every ton of greenhouse gas they emit. Over time the state will reduce the numbers of credits it sells, forcing polluters to adapt or compete for a dwindling number of allowances. Businesses that have to buy and sell in the new marketplace include refineries, manufacturers, and power companies. Agriculture is exempted.