California and U.S. States

On this page:
Washington State
Other states with mandatory GHG reduction laws
Regional State Programs: WCI, RGGI, MGGRA


Carbon Share's initial focus has been on California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, also called AB32. AB32 committed the State to reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In 2016 California passed SB32, committing to reducing emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The State has since extended their Cap & Trade program to 2030 to meet this goal.

Click here for the webpage on California and AB32.

Here is a brief history of California's public hearings and committees discussing a carbon market under AB32, and links to some of our public comment at those hearings.

2017: With bill AB 398, California extends its Cap & Trade program to 2030 to meet the goal of SB 32, which passed in 2016. Another bill, SB 775 would have created a Cap & Dividend program, but it did not get to a vote.

2015: Legislature passes bills to extend GHG goals to 2030, and recondiered the allocation of auction proceeds, creating a California Climate Investments program (but neglecting dividends).

2014: First distribution of the "climate dividend" in April. Legislature considers how to allocate auction proceeds. Governor's plans favor high-speed rail, with some to affordable housing, and a set aside for disadvantaged communities.

2013: ARB released a final auction proceeds investment plan to replace the draft investment plan. They accepted public comment for the April 25 public hearing on the use of auction proceeds. Dividends are not a recommended use in the draft plan.

2012: First auction takes place November 2012, CPUC proceeding includes first "climate dividend"

2011: Scoping Plan reviewed and re-adopted due to lawsuit, CPUC opens proceeding on allocation of allowances in the electricity sector

2010: December 2010: ARB considers and adopts Cap & Trade Regulation

2009: ARB continues hearings on AB32 implementation

In May 2009, Cal EPA announced they are convening a new Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee to continue to advise the State on cap and trade design under AB32. In his welcome letter to the members of the Committee, Governor Schwarzenegger wrote, "one idea in particular I would like you to explore among other options: the concept of returning the value of allowances back to the people, including through an auction of allowances and distribution of auction proceeds in the form of a rebate or dividend, in order to minimize the cost to California consumers and maximize the benefits to the state's economy." The first EAAC meeting was on July 1, 2009 from 9-3 at CalEPA Bldg in Sacramento.

2008: ARB Scoping Plan discusses designs for California's Carbon Market

AB32 gave the California Air Resources Board (CARB) the authority to impose an economy-wide cap on state-wide greenhouse gas emissions. CARB has a multi-track process which includes considering market mechanisms in its Scoping Plan.

We followed the discussion of market mechanisms in the ARB's AB32 Scoping Plan. The final Scoping Plan was adopted at the end of 2008. After the Scoping Plan is adopted, CARB will embark on a 2-year effort to develop specific implementation policies. Click here for upcoming public hearings on the Plan.

2007: Market Advisory Committee considered designs for California's Carbon Market

California passed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB32), committing the state to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. A Market Advisory Committee (MAC) was formed to advise the state on market measures, especially cap and trade. Dozens of citizens provided public comments to the Market Advisory Committee, including:

  • Polluters should pay to use the atmosphere, and revenues should be used to compensate residents for higher energy prices and invest in a clean energy future.
  • The carbon cap should cover all carbon entering the economy.
  • Companies should not be allowed to buy cheap offsets overseas.

Click here for more information on California and AB32.


A group in Oregon called Oregon Climate conducted a campaign to implement Cap & Dividend at the state level. The bills they promoted are here: SB965 and HB3250 would set a fee on polluters and return the money to Oregonians as a $500 to $1,500 annual dividend.

News about this effort:

Portland Business Journal 6-11-15:

Radio show about Oregon's efforts 6-18-15:

Kristin Eberhard at Siteline Institute 4-2-15: What If Polluters Paid and You Got the Money?

Kristin Eberhard's testimony to the Oregon legislature 6-15-15: Everything Oregon Legislators Need To Know About Stopping Climate Pollution

Washington State

A group (CarbonWA) in the state of Washington sponsored a ballot measure in 2016 that would use revenues from a carbon price to reduce taxes, similar to British Columbia's revenue neutral carbon price.

David Roberts on Vox 10-18-2016: The left vs. a carbon tax

Kristin Eberhard and Alan Durning from Siteline Institute 8-3-2016: Weighing the Critiques of CarbonWA's I-732

Washington Post 11-10-15: These could be the first U.S. states to tax carbon — and give their residents a nice paycheck

Kristin Eberhard on Siteline Institute's blog 4-16-15: Three Things to Know About CarbonWA’s Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax


In May 2017, Governor Terry McAuliffe released Executive Directive 11, tasking the Department of Environmental Quality to come up with a plan to cap carbon emissions and enable Virginia to trade carbon allowances across state lines. Link to DEQ page on Greenhouse gases.

"Regulation for Emissions Trading [9 VAC 5 ‑ 140]: The purpose of the proposed action is to develop a regulation, in accordance with Executive Directive 11 (2017), "Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Electric Power Facilities and Growing Virginia's Clean Energy Economy," that (i) ensures that Virginia is trading-ready to allow for the use of market-based mechanisms and the trading of carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances through a multi-state trading program, and (ii) establishes abatement mechanisms that provide for a corresponding level of stringency to CO2 limits imposed in other states with such limits."

Other states with mandatory GHG reduction laws


New Jersey

New York


States with Climate Action Plans

New Mexico
North Carolina (Text of Senate Bill 1134)

Regional Carbon Trading Programs

The Western Climate Initiative (WCI),

The Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Accord (MGGA),

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI),






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