Climate Commitment Act (CCA) auctions and trading

Businesses that are covered under the Climate Commitment Act (CCA) must obtain 'compliance instruments' equal to their covered emissions.

There are two types of compliance instruments:

  • Emissions allowances (which are issued by Ecology)
  • Offset credits (which come from investing in projects that help reduce carbon in the atmosphere)

Both types of instruments are equivalent to one metric ton of carbon dioxide.

Participating businesses can get emissions allowances by:

  • Purchasing them from Ecology at quarterly auctions.
  • Trading with other cap-and-invest program participants.
  • Receiving them directly from Ecology (for certain businesses, per the CCA).

Auctions and trading help desk

Auction and trading platform information

In December 2021, Washington joined the Western Climate Initiative, Inc. (WCI), the nonprofit that provides the auction and trading platform for the linked programs in California and Québec, as well as the stand-alone program in Nova Scotia.

We will hold the first of our quarterly auctions in the first quarter of 2023. To participate in an auction or trade allowances through the WCI platform, businesses must first register with Ecology and set up an account in the Compliance Instrument Tracking System Service (CITSS).

Program compliance

At the end of each four-year ‘compliance period,’ participating emitters must submit 'compliance instruments' — emissions allowances and offset credits, if applicable — equal to their covered emissions for all four years.

In addition, by Nov. 1 of each year, participants must submit compliance instruments equal to 30% of prior year emissions. That means if an entity only submits the required 30% annually, at the end of the four-year period they would need to submit the remaining 70% of their total emissions. However, entities can always submit more than the required 30% annual amount prior to the end of the compliance period.

We will provide more guidance about compliance and how to submit allowances and offset credits to Ecology as we approach the January launch of the program.

More resources

We'll hold training workshops in fall 2022 for businesses and individuals participating in the auction and allowance trading market.

Sign up to receive updates about upcoming trainings and registration information.

Starting in 2023, we'll host four auctions a year, each consisting of a single round of bidding by auction participants. The first auction will take place in the first quarter of 2023. We'll announce the auction date at least 60 days in advance. 

Information about the date and time of upcoming auctions will be posted on this page as soon as it is available.

Once our auctions have begun in 2023, we'll provide data to the public about:

  • Auction settlement prices and results
  • Auction proceeds
  • Allowances in each holding account

This information won't be available until after the first auction in the first quarter of 2023. You can check this web page after the auction for market data and sign up to receive auction and trading updates via email.