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Will San Juan's 'Best Available Science' Get Better?

May 10, 2011 in Blog

Two weeks ago, we noted some flaws in San Juan County's "Best Available Science" document for their proposed Critical Areas Ordinance. The document misquoted the science on sea level rise and temperature increases, projecting impacts much higher than the data indicate.

Upon seeing our critique, a San Juan County planner called and we had a good discussion about how to address the concerns I raised.

Friday Environmental Accountability Post

May 6, 2011 in Blog

It's Friday, so here are a couple quick hits on environmental accountability to finish the week.


Sustainable Seattle Speaker Says One Man's Eco-Terrorist is Another's Eco-Patriot

'Cute' Green Technology May Be Politically Popular, But Is Not the Answer

May 5, 2011 in Blog

In an interview with Wired Magazine, Bill Gates notes that many of the trendy environmental technologies we hear about all the time will not make a significant difference in reducing environmental impact.

He tells Wired, "If you’re interested in cuteness, the stuff in the home is the place to go," but real solutions require more innovation. He goes on to tell Wired:

Greens vs. Science: San Juan County's "Best Available Science" on Sea Level Is Pretty Bad

April 27, 2011 in Blog

One of the most commonly cited impacts of climate change is the impact of rising sea levels. As an island county, San Juan County is building those potential impacts into its new Critical Areas Ordinance.

In the document outlining the "Best Available Science for Frequently Flooded Areas," the county makes some pretty basic errors.

First, they make some basic factual mistakes. For instance, they claim:

Free Markets Make Every Day Earth Day

April 22, 2011 in Blog

Each year, Earth Day offers an opportunity for politicians and others to highlight their support for environmental policies. Most of the work of environmental sustainability, however, occurs quietly every day as the free market encourages individuals to conserve energy and resources while planning for future prosperity.

This Earth Day, we celebrate not the public acts of environmental symbolism, but the quiet, everyday acts that have made the real difference in environmental sustainability. Here are five of countless examples that come to mind.

Green Logic on Gas - Monday: Gas Prices are Too High. Friday: Gas Prices are Too Low.

April 20, 2011 in Blog

Earlier this week, Senators Cantwell and Murray called on the federal government to rein in "speculators" in the oil market in an effort to cut gasoline prices. Senator Cantwell sent out a statement saying "Seattle drivers are paying at the pump for excessive oil speculation, while federal regulators have blown off deadlines and failed to act."

King County Executive's Climate Change Chat Shows County is Falling Short of Promises

April 18, 2011 in Blog

King County Executive Dow Constantine hosted an online chat earlier today to highlight the county's efforts to address the risks from climate change. We asked a couple of questions regarding the science behind the county's efforts thus far.

First, Lara Whitely Binder of the University of Washington's Climate Impacts Group (CIG) and Ross Macfarlane of the environmental group Climate Solutions argued in the online chat that we are already seeing the impacts of climate change.

Greens vs. Science: Climate Change Through Beer Goggles

April 15, 2011 in Blog

Over at the environmental blog Grist, they have a bit of fun trying to explain the impact of climate change using beer. They show what happens to beer as the temperature increases.

My favorite part of the graphic is the tiny disclaimer at the bottom: "This infographic is loosely based on IPCC's 2007 report." The IPCC is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN organization that is the go-to source for climate information, especially for the political left.

State Requires You to Comply with CO2 Regulations, But Won't Say How

April 15, 2011 in Blog

A major part of Governor Gregoire's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the risk from climate change is the requirement to calculate the potential increase in CO2 emissions from major projects. This is part of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), which requires certain projects to identify all potential environmental impacts.

Prioritizing for Salmon Using Science

April 13, 2011 in Blog

The recently passed House Budget includes a proviso requiring the Department of Fish and Wildlife to prioritize spending on hatcheries using science. Now, the Senate Democrats' budget, released last night, echoes that same sentiment.

The proviso, found on page 89 of the Senate bill, reads:

Budget Language on Salmon Echoes WPC's Environmental Priorities Act

April 7, 2011 in Blog

For the past two years, the Washington Policy Center has included the Environmental Priorities Act in our annual environmental recommendations to the legislature. In this year's "Fresh Start on the Environment" agenda, we again proposed the legislation that would use sound science and economics to prioritize those efforts providing the greatest environmental benefit for the available funding.

Does Earth Hour Increase Energy Use?

March 25, 2011 in Blog

For the fifth year in a row, WWF will sponsor Earth Hour, an effort to get people around the world to turn off their lights to symbolically demonstrate the need to use less energy to fight climate change. While the effort is considered symbolic, there are numerous claims that the effort actually saves significant amounts of energy.

Environmental News: Forests Expanding, Access to Water Is Not

March 21, 2011 in Blog

UN Says Forests in Northern Hemisphere Steadily Growing

Despite concerns about worldwide deforestation, the United Nations announced today that forest area in the Northern Hemisphere expanded steadily during the past two decades. They noted "Forested areas in Europe, North America, the Caucasus and Central Asia have been increasing steadily, growing by 25 million hectares over the past two decades."

Climate Change: Where the Rhetoric Defines the Science, Part 2

March 18, 2011 in Blog

Two weeks ago, the Seattle Times ran a story discussing the impact of climate change on the Costa Rican coffee crop. This line in the story stood out:

Global warming — more accurately called climate change — poses "a direct business threat to our company," Starbucks executive Jim Hanna told an Environmental Protection Agency panel in 2009 in Seattle.

The Ugly Tone of Environmental Debate in Olympia

March 10, 2011 in Blog

For the emblematic example of the ugly tone of discussion about environmental policy in Olympia this year, one need look no further than this March 8 tweet from the Washington Toxics Coalition.