Greens vs. Science: People for Puget Sound Skips the Facts on Plastic

December 3, 2011 in Blog

"There is no doubt that the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans is troubling, but this kind of exaggeration undermines the credibility of scientists."

Greens vs. Science: Ignorance Trumps Evidence In Ecology's Approach to "Toxics"

November 29, 2011 in Blog

Earlier this week, an article in the Seattle Times quoted Washington State Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant saying he was concerned that "new pollution" was undoing the cleanup of Commencement Bay in Tacoma. The new pollution, however, is not the toxic sediment being removed from the Bay. The article notes that the new "contaminants are called phthalates, used in piping, packaging, soft plastic toys and many other products."

Washington State Ranks 44th in Carbon Emissions Reduction Since 2004

November 16, 2011 in Blog

For much of the past decade, elected officials in Washington State have been talking about the critical need to limit carbon emissions to reduce the impact of climate change. The Governor, former Seattle Mayor Nickels and others have even highlighted their "leadership" on the issue.

Information released recently from the Energy Information Administration, however, shows that Washington is anything but a leader when it comes to actual results.

Eco-Fads: Paul Krugman's Silly Solar Claims

November 8, 2011 in Blog

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has a particularly silly column today in the Seattle Times, proclaiming "That's right: Solar power is now cost-effective." His central claim, after he finishes attacking natural gas exploration, is that "we're just a few years from the point at which electricity from solar panels becomes cheaper than electricity generated by burning coal."

He doesn't provide a source for this dramatic claim, and with good reason: it simply isn't true.

Why Environmentalists Lie: They Are Often Protected from Themselves

November 1, 2011 in Blog

Why do environmental activists feel so free to exaggerate or say things that simply aren't true? Today's Seattle Times offers a clue.

Today's Times has a story regarding logging roads and their impact on streams. It notes that the Office of the Attorney General has decided to join other states in appealing a decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which ruled that foresters have to receive permits from the EPA for their logging roads.

What stood out at me is this section:

As Greens Wring Hands Over Earth's Seven Billionth Resident, Poverty Declines Dramatically

October 31, 2011 in Blog

A great deal is being made of the fact that global population has surpassed 7 billion people today. A number of folks on the left are worried about what this means for the planet. The Seattle Times features a story about the milestone, saying it comes "amid fears of how the planet will cope."

Environmental Quotes of the Week

October 21, 2011 in Blog

To take you into a rainy Fall weekend, here are the best quotes of the week.

The first is from the Los Angeles Times. Reporting on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) decision to institute a cap-and-trade system in that state, the Times story, "California becomes first state to adopt cap-and-trade program," contains this claim about the impact of that system on jobs:

Shouting vs. Science: Environmental Activist Quote of the Week

October 10, 2011 in Blog

A company in Clark County is looking to build a biomass energy plant. We've written about the science of biomass plants in the past. Although the economics of such a plant are shaky without some government support, the science indicates the plants are one of the best ways to provide renewable energy. They are much cheaper than alternatives such as solar panels.

How Jeremy Rifkin's Reflexive Commitment to Trendy Environmentalism Harms the Environment

October 7, 2011 in Blog

Yesterday on KUOW, Jeremy Rifkin, who is promoting a new book, was asked by host Steve Scher about our research showing that "green" schools in Washington state don't pay for themselves and don't save energy.

Rifkin, without skipping a beat or looking at the research, answered confidently, "he doesn't know what he's talking about. I'm going to be very, very simple with you on this. If that's the case, then how is Germany doing this?" This section begins at 29:40 in the interview.

Did Advertising Kill the Electric Car?

September 30, 2011 in Blog

Ask an environmental activist about why electric cars haven't caught on and they will invariably mention the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car?" The basic message of the film is that GM and other car companies didn't want to make electric cars and set about sabotaging California's political efforts to mandate them. The movie cites a range of reasons they come to this conclusion.

Green Buildings: Group Confirms Our Critique While Attacking It

September 28, 2011 in Blog

Last week I discussed my new book "Eco-Fads" on KUOW's Weekday program and one of the topics we addressed was the failure of green building standards like LEED and the state's "High Performance" school building standards. As we've noted in the past, green schools are frequently less energy efficient than non-green schools in their same districts.

Spokane beverage company shows power of economics to do environmental good

September 19, 2011 in Blog

“Economics is a science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.”

The comment by the former head of the economics department at the London School of Economics holds an important insight for those of us who care about the environment. Environmentalism, at its core, is a concern about scarce resources. Economics is the study of the use of scarce resources.

Eco-Fads: Why Politicians Fell for Solyndra Deal

September 15, 2011 in Blog

The bankruptcy of solar-energy company Solyndra, taking half-a-billion taxpayer dollars down with them, has been described as the "first major scandal of the Obama Administration." E-mails are demonstrating the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had reservations about the deal and even predicted, virtually to the day when Solyndra would go bankrupt.

Responding to the Comments on My Eco-Fads Editorial in the Seattle Times

September 6, 2011 in Blog

Today, the Seattle Times published my guest editorial on how the rise of trendy environmentalism is harming the environment. The piece did not fail to attract a range of responses.

Some comments are purely personal: “myers is also a very boring writer.” I should note here that I’m also a very bad dancer.

Greens vs. Science: Ecology Replaces Science with Insinuation on Climate and Weather

September 5, 2011 in Blog

The passage of Hurricane Irene offered another chance for speculation about how climate change is "already" having an impact on the weather. Despite the fact that Irene was weaker than projections expected, it didn't stop folks from substituting speculation and insinuation for science.

Seth Preston at the Department of Ecology weighed in, arguing that some scientists were now saying that such weather was caused by climate change. He wrote: