The state of Virginia might soon put a price on carbon, using a cap-and-trade system to limit pollution from energy producers.

Dowd: “Back early in 2017, the governor thought it was imperative for the state to do something about climate change, about regulating carbon emissions.”

That’s Michael Dowd, director of Virginia’s air and renewable energy division. His office is creating a proposal for a carbon market. With a cap-and-trade system, the state will determine how much carbon pollution companies are allowed to emit. Those that pollute less than their permit allows can sell their excess to companies that emit more than their allowance.

Dowd: “We believe that market-based trading programs are really the most effective way to control emissions.”

After a 90-day public comment period, Dowd’s team may make changes to their proposal and will present a final version to the state Air Pollution Control Board.

Dowd: “We expect the state to adopt a final carbon trading rule before the end of the year.”

Dowd says if adopted, the program will begin in 2020. And Virginia will be the first southern state to trade carbon through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – a cooperative market among states in the Northeast.

Reporting credit: Alison Fromme/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Bruce Lieberman

Bruce Lieberman, a long-time journalist, has covered climate change science, policy, and politics for nearly two decades. A newspaper reporter for 20 years, Bruce worked for The San Diego Union-Tribune...