Tmyers

Climate Policy in Washington: Comparing the Republican and Democratic Proposals

January 8, 2014 in Blog

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.

The two approaches are quite different but both claim to meet a standard of environmental effectiveness. For example, the proposal offered by Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island) and Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Burien) claims:

New Puget Sound Partnership Director Faces Big Challenge

January 7, 2014 in Blog

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.

Politics are More Fun Than Climate Leadership

December 20, 2013 in Blog

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.

In his editorial board meeting with the Olympian, Governor Inslee had this to say about the climate policy he wants:

Kirkland Staff Report Advocating Plastic Bag Ban Cites Social Media as Scientific Source

December 7, 2013 in Blog

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.

Bees, T-Shirts and Corn: Three Items on GMOs

December 1, 2013 in Blog

Last month, voters in Washington state rejected labeling biotechnology crops, known as "genetically modified organisms" or GMOs. The issue, however, isn't going away. Here are three bits of GMO news and information since the labelling initiative was turned down.

Bees and Bt Corn

As a beekeeper, I ran across this one in my winter reading.

PEMCO's Solar Roof Five Years Later: $346.87 Of Environmental Benefit

November 21, 2013 in Blog

Today is the fifth anniversary of something many drivers stuck in Seattle traffic have become familiar with: the PEMCO solar panel reader board.

Vague and Contradictory Data Make State's Climate Report a Policy Rorschach Test

November 18, 2013 in Blog

The state's Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup (CLEW) is examining policies designed to reduce the state's carbon emissions. The key tool in that process is supposed to be a report analyzing the effectiveness of those strategies. The report, however, provides very little useful information about what strategies are best.

Will Lands Commissioner Goldmark Stand Up for His GMO Crops?

November 10, 2013 in Blog

Now that the GMO labeling debate has subsidized (it will assuredly return), it is time for many who support biotechnology, but were unwilling to say so during the campaign, to stand up for that technology. One person who was noticeably absent from the recent debate about biotechnology crops was Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark.

When he ran for office in 2008, Goldmark, a PhD molecular biologist, spoke frequently of his creation of a GMO strain of wheat. In his voters' pamphlet statement in both 2008 and 2012 he listed himself as a "wheat breeder/scientist."

Inslee Proposal to Combine Cap-and-Trade and Low-Carbon Fuel Standard Is Costly and Ineffective

November 6, 2013 in Blog

When Governor Inslee signed the regional climate agreement last week, it included two policies he had already advocated publicly as part of the Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup (CLEW) process. It called for a cap-and-trade system and a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) which would require fuel to have less carbon per gallon than standard gasoline (among other things). Including both of these policies, however, makes it more expensive to reduce carbon emissions while doing nothing to increase those reductions.

Inslee Climate Agreement: Ineffective, Undermines the Bipartisan Approach and Promises Are Not "Legally Binding"

October 28, 2013 in Blog

As expected, Governor Inslee today signed the "Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy" along with other West Coast leaders and it includes promises that contradict the spirit of Governor Inslee's own legislation and the analysis provided as part of that process.

The section on a "low-carbon fuel standard" is the best example of how this agreement is at odds with the approach laid out in the Governor's climate bill, 5802. It reads:

Will Governor’s Climate Shortcut Destroy Opportunity for Bipartisan Agreement?

October 28, 2013 in Blog

This morning, Governor Inslee will be signing a climate agreement with other west coast governors and the BC Premier. According to the Governor’s office and press reports, the agreement will cover:

Effective Climate Policy for Washington, Step Two: Attempting to Cut Emissions with Renewable Electricity is Costly and Ineffective

October 23, 2013 in Blog

For the first time, Washington state is attempting to base its official climate policy on approaches that provide the greatest environmental benefit for every taxpayer dollar spent. Past efforts have done nothing to measure the actual climate impact or to prioritize the way tax money is used. As a result, Washington politicians have wasted huge amounts of money while yielding little or no benefit for the environment.

Effective Climate Policy for Washington, Step One: Count Emissions Correctly

October 21, 2013 in Blog

As part of Governor Inslee’s climate workgroup, known as CLEW, for Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup, state officials are taking public comment about the future of climate policy in Washington. The state hired a consulting firm, SAIC, to issue a report on various strategies to reduce Washington state’s carbon emissions.

This week, we will analyze that report and look at how we can get the greatest environmental benefit for every taxpayer dollar.

One of the Greatest Government E-mails I've Ever Received

October 20, 2013 in Blog

Updated below with reply from Department of Ecology

Last week, the State Department of Ecology announced a sole-source contract for $50,000 to study purchases of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). The announcement says the survey will...

describe new-car buyers’ valuation of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) and ZEV-enabling technologies, describe why people hold these intentions, and characterize the antecedents to these intentions, e.g., awareness, knowledge, motivations, and barriers toward purchasing ZEVs.

GMOs, Eco-Terrorists and the University of Washington

October 15, 2013 in Blog

This Thursday, a group called Responsible Choices Washington will host a debate about labeling of biotechnology crops, known popularly as GMOs, at the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture. The choice of the venue is ironic.

Twelve years ago, eco-terrorists firebombed the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture. The reason, as evidenced by the spray paint left behind, was opposition to the research being done on the genetics of plants.