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Climate Change

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
GHG Benchmarking

More Information:
Final White Paper

Benchmarking is an approach used to evaluate GHG emissions performance between and amongst similar facilities or operations in the same industrial sector. It uses an objective indicator of efficiency (a benchmark) to compare the facilities or operations to their industry standard or best practice.

In a cap and trade market benchmarking can be used to distribute free allowances to industrial facilities. Benchmarks can also recognize and reward facilities that have already invested in achieving emission reductions.

Executive Order 09-05, Washington’s Leadership on Climate Change, directs the Department of Ecology to:

  • Develop greenhouse gas (GHG) emission benchmarks by industry sector in consultation with business and other interested stakeholders – for facilities that Ecology believes will be covered by a federal or regional cap and trade program.

  • Support the use of GHG emission benchmarks in any federal or regional cap and trade program as an appropriate basis for distribution of emission allowances, and as a means to recognize and reward those businesses that have invested in achieving emission reductions.

  • Base the benchmarks on best practices reflecting emission levels from highly efficient, lower emitting facilities in each industrial sector.

  • Develop benchmarks for their application as state-based emission standards — should they be needed to complement the federal program, or in the absence of a federal program.

Final White Paper

  • Issues and Options for Benchmarking Industrial Greenhouse Gas Emissions - The final white paper builds on the insights gained from the benchmarking symposium (on May 19, 2010) as well as stakeholder comments.  We released our final draft this July in partnership with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).  The white paper examines a number of industrial sectors in detail including: aluminum, cement, chemicals, food processing, glass, heat, pulp and paper, and steel. Ecology and SEI worked with representatives from each of those sectors as they drafted the white paper during the spring of 2010.


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Hedia Adelsman, (360) 407-6222