Earlier this week, Governor Inslee, speaking at the University of Washington, explained his support for imposing a cap-and-trade system in Washington state to reduce carbon emissions.
Cap-and-trade, the system used by Europeans and others as part of the Kyoto Protocol, has two key elements. First, it sets a total cap on the amount of carbon emissions allowed, typically over the course of a year, by covered entities in the state. Second, covered entities are allowed to buy and trade permits to emit carbon.
Yesterday, The Seattle Times published a story on a nine-years old timber harvest that Times reporters believe may be linked to the tragic landslide in Oso. The article, "State used outdated data to allow logging on slope," argues that part of that harvest was in an area that had previously been restricted.
The story notes there could be several factors contributing to the slide:
Who was really underneath those black masks violent protestors wore during the 1999 WTO riots in Seattle? The founder of the Rainforest Action Network Randy Hayes thinks they may have been Seattle police.
Yesterday, the Governor's office released an analysis of the potential cost of a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS), arguing the cost is as low as four cents per gallon. The purpose was to respond to analyses, like ours, showing the potential cost was much higher.
The analysis, however, suffers from a number of shortcomings.
Imagine a friend telling you his goal in life was to end all jaywalking. You might wonder if there wasn’t something more important he could do with his life.
Now imagine someone telling you he is working to save the planet from imminent destruction – for people, for wildlife, for future generations. Suddenly, they seem more righteous, more important. Environmentalists seem to believe, like Jebediah Springfield, that tackling a potential catastrophe "embiggens the smallest man."
Last week Governor Inslee sent a letter to the legislature, reproaching them for comments about the potential cost to consumers of a Low-Carbon Fuel Standard. Since he has not outlined his plan, he argued, it is impossible to estimate costs.
He also said it was "offensive" to imply that, "I have in some way been hiding my intentions." He suggested, "If in the future you have questions about my intentions, I suggest you ask me."
According to TheSeattle Times, Governor Inslee is upset at a Republican claim that a Low-Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) would increase the price of a gallon of gas by $1. Recently, some have expressed concern that the Governor will impose an LCFS using an executive order.
As part of the Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup (CLEW), Republican members offered their ideas for effectively cutting carbon emissions in Washington state. On the whole, the Republican proposals yield more environmental benefit per dollar spent, but do not yield significant emissions reductions.
The key shortcoming of these policies is that they focus only on electricity. Washington state's electricity is already extremely decarbonized. As a result, focusing on electricity (as many of the Democrats' proposals do as well), is not going to make meaningful reductions.
After months of study and discussion, the Republicans and Democrats of the Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup (CLEW) in Olympia released two different draft proposals designed to cut Washington's carbon emissions.
Today, Governor Inslee announced the appointment of Sheida Sahandy as the new Executive Director of the Puget Sound Partnership. Sahandy comes from the City of Bellevue and PSP Chair Martha Kongsgaard noted that while in Bellevue, Sahandy "created the City’s first suite of environmental indicators and targets." This is similar to the PSP's approach of using "Vital Signs," with targets for 2020.
It is a familiar pattern. Politicians promise to take a science-based approach to climate policy only to ditch the science and data for partisan politics and feel-good rhetoric when deadlines draw near.
Last month, Kirkland City staff released a report advocating a ban on plastic grocery bags, arguing "single-use plastic bags have proven to be detrimental to our environment and a drain on our non-renewable natural resources." The report argues a ban achieves the greatest balance of business, environmental and public benefits.