North American Carbon Markets

Learn about the program design and market history for the WCI, RGGI and WCA programs.

North American Carbon Markets: WCI, RGGI and WCA Programs

North America features three tradable carbon markets – the Western Climate Initiative (WCI – California & Quebec), Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and Washington Cap and Invest program.

WCI is one of the world’s largest carbon markets and aims to decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 40% by 2030 below 1990 levels. Launched in 2013 and covering multiple industries from utilities to industrial plants to fuel distributors, the WCI market cap-and-trade has grown into a $6.6 billion market.

RGGI is currently made up of 11 northeast states in the US. It places a cap on generators of 25MW or higher with a goal to reduce emissions 30% by 2030, from 2020 levels. Launched in 2008, RGGI is the first US mandatory carbon cap-and-trade system with a market value of more than $333 million annually.

Washington state launched its program on January 1, 2023. An economy-wide program, it covers nearly 70 million tons of CO2 annually. WCA futures and options are listed on Nodal Exchange.


Market Overviews

WCI: California Carbon Allowances

  • California Carbon Allowances (CCAs) are the tradable instruments of the Western Climate Initiative and connect with Quebec’s market
  • Launched in 2012, California’s emissions cap declines 3% per year
  • Each allowance is a permit to emit 1 metric ton of CO2
  • The Compliance Instrument Tracking System Service (CITSS) is the market’s registry
  • In 2017, the program was extended to 2030
  • California has allocated $18.3 billion from auctions since 2014
  • Sectors Covered: industrial, transportation, electricity, commercial and residential, agriculture, waste and high global warming potential gas producers

RGGI States

  • RGGI Includes: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey and Virginia
  • RGGI covers fossil fuel electric power generators
  • RGGI’s emissions cap declines cap about 3% per year
  • RGGI state emissions have fallen 59% from 2005 to 2020
  • Each allowance is 1 short ton of CO2
  • The RGGI CO2 Allowance Tracking System (RGGI COATS) is the market registry
  • In 2017, the program was extended to 2030
  • RGGI quarterly auction proceeds have totaled $4.7 billion from 2008 – 2021


California, RGGI and Washington futures and options are listed on Nodal Exchange, IncubEx’s partner exchange for North American products. Nodal is a CFTC regulated futures exchange and features the world’s largest set of environmental contracts and electric power locational (nodal) futures contracts with over 1,000 power and gas contracts on hundreds of unique locations. All contracts are centrally cleared on Nodal Clear.

Market Participants

Western Climate Initiative

  • 725-plus market participants
  • 325+ commerical/utilities
  • 400+ general market firms
  • Source: WCI

Washington Cap and Invest

  • 75% of statewide emissions covered
  • Entities that exceed 25,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent
  • Companies covered include: fuel suppliers, natural gas and electric utilities
  • Source: Washington Dept of Ecology 

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

  • 700-plus market participants
  • 250+ compliance entities
  • ~450 general market (non-compliance) accounts
  • Source: RGGI



North American Carbon Markets
on Nodal Exchange


Washington State
Carbon Market


NA Carbon Contract
and Exchange Info

This page is for illustrative purposes only. For official contract and trading information, please visit Nodal Exchange