Washington state, California and Quebec look to link carbon markets

By Anne C. Mulkern | 03/21/2024 06:52 AM EDT

They will begin negotiations on an agreement to marry their cap-and-trade programs, even as Washington faces a repeal effort for its fledgling market.

Steam pours out of a smokestack at the Conoco Phillips refinery in Rodeo, Calif.

Steam pours out of a smokestack at the ConocoPhillips refinery in Rodeo, California, in 2008. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California, Washington state and Quebec announced Wednesday that they’re formally considering whether to link their carbon markets.

If the negotiations are successful, the resulting market would be the largest in North America, forcing many large businesses to pay for their greenhouse gas emissions. But it’s far from a sure thing.

The plan must first clear regulatory hurdles in the two states and Canadian province. Meanwhile, a GOP-backed November ballot measure will ask Washington state voters whether they want to repeal the state’s fledgling market.


But the announcement is an important signal, said Dallas Burtraw, senior fellow at Resources for the Future and chair of a California independent advisory committee on cap and trade.