Five Environmental Questions the Scott Walker Protestors Won't Answer

September 5, 2013 in Blog

Tonight, union and environmental activists are threatening to protest Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's speech at our annual dinner. Such protests, of course, are long on rhythmic chanting and short on thoughtful argument.

It is notable, however, that the announcement of the protest encourages "environmental activists" to protest the Governor's "environment-damaging policies." So, here are five questions for environmental activists who decide to show up tonight.

Yakima School District Passes Climate Change Seriousness Test

August 28, 2013 in Blog

Yesterday, a Yakima TV station reported that a small group was pushing the Yakima School District to put solar panels on the new Eisenhower High School. KNDO reported on the picketers:

Washington State's Failed "Energy Freedom" Loans Are 0-for-3, Risking $4.4 Million in Taxpayer Funds

August 26, 2013 in Blog

Today, the Washington State Department of Commerce released its assessment of the Energy Freedom Program, created in 2006 to "promote public research and development in bioenergy." As part of the program the state loaned just over $10 million to four companies, in partnership with public entities, to generate biofuels and renewable energy. One company just began operations in July, but the other three have been operating for a few years now and are a useful guide to the failure of political efforts to create a "green" economy.

Environment Washington Fails the Climate Change Seriousness Test

July 15, 2013 in Blog

Are you serious about climate change? Do you think it is a policy worth addressing? How can we tell who is really serious from the everyday poseur who is simply engaging in public preening? Here is a simple test.

What do they think about solar panels?

Today, Diana Lloyd-Jones of Environment Washington pens an ode to solar panels, calling them the "wave of the future," and saying that if enough people supported solar panels "we could start a movement."

Dept. of Energy's Claim About Climate and Hydro Doesn't Hold Water

July 11, 2013 in Blog

The U.S. Department of Energy yesterday released a report on "Impacts to the Energy Sector from Climatic Conditions." It notes "climate change is happening -- and the effects are already being felt across the country." The report examines how "decreasing water availability" and other impacts are harming energy production.

This claim caught my attention:

Some Fourth of July Environmental Reading

July 3, 2013 in Blog

Here's a grab bag of stories to read while eating your burger, brat and steak tomorrow. It's what the Founding Fathers would want.

Using the Free Market to Save the Rhino

Here's a great (and moving) piece from NPR's Planet Money on a proposal to encourage the breeding of rhinos in an effort to flood the market with rhino horn (which grows back) and undermine poaching by driving prices down. At the current rate, poaching will cause a decline in the rhino population in 2016.

Inslee Vetoes Environmental Effectiveness Studies

July 2, 2013 in Blog

The budget passed by both chambers of the legislature last week contained a few hopeful signs toward measuring the environmental effectiveness of government policies. When Governor Inslee signed the budget on Sunday, however, he vetoed three sections of the budget that would have helped assess and promote the effectiveness of the state's environmental policy.

Environmental Effectiveness in the Proposed Budget

June 28, 2013 in Blog

There are some promising signs that legislators are beginning to demand environmental effectiveness when funding projects designed to protect Washington's natural resources. In addition to the clause in the Governor's climate bill requiring projects to be prioritized based on carbon reductions per dollar spent, there is budget language requiring a similar approach in other environmental arenas.

Obama's Climate Policies Contrast with Inslee/ALEC Approach

June 25, 2013 in Blog

Today, President Obama outlined his new strategy on climate change, calling for more support for a range of politically chosen strategies. Prior to the speech, Governor Inslee released a statement saying the approach is "a smart, practical and cost effective set of policies."

The approach proposed by the President, however, stands in contrast to Inslee's own climate legislation and model legislation passed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Jon Talton's Failed Peak Oil Predictions Show Why The Free Market Works

June 24, 2013 in Blog

It is a simple reality that you are more careful with your own money than with others'. The latest example comes from Seattle Times business columnist Jon Talton, who has argued repeatedly that the world is about to run out of oil. The theory, called "Peak Oil," says that since oil is a finite resource, we will run out in the near future, causing massive economic disruption. This is often used as an argument for increased political control of the economy.

Coal Decision Highlights Seattle's Do As I Say, Not As I Do Climate Policy

June 19, 2013 in Blog

The Army Corps of Engineers announced it won't consider the impacts of burning coal in China when examining the proposed export terminal in Washington state. Those who oppose exporting coal from the U.S. to China argue that such an analysis was necessary to understand the full impact of the exports.

Attempting to calculate all potential carbon emissions from coal exports, however, is completely unscientific and contradicts Seattle's own position when analyzing its carbon footprint.

Seattle's Climate Policy on Drugs

June 17, 2013 in Blog

Sometimes the simplest things can expose so much. Seattle's debate about the impact on climate policy of growing pot within city limits demonstrates how silly and ineffective some of Seattle's climate policies really are, contradicting the city's own "buy local" efforts.

As KUOW reports today, Seattle City Councilman Mike O'Brien is concerned that growing marijuana in Seattle will make it difficult to meet the City's goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. O'Brien told KUOW:

Taxpayer-Funded "EcoConsumer" Avoids Data While Attacking Private Alternative to Government Program

June 11, 2013 in Blog

When innovators working in a free-market come up with a better, environmentally friendly solution to a problem, what is the reaction of government agencies? Attack it.

Tom Watson, a King County employee who calls himself the "EcoConsumer," offers his thoughts on how to be a good environmentalist. On his (taxpayer-paid) blog, you will find a range of topics, from praise for Occupy Wall Street to recommending that people eat more kimchi (he calls it one of the "most enviro-friendly foods you can eat" but doesn't explain why).

Kirkland Poll on Plastic Bags: Strong Opposition to a Ban

June 3, 2013 in Blog

After other local cities have banned plastic grocery bags, the City of Kirkland commissioned a public opinion survey to see what residents would think about bringing the policy to the community. Not much, apparently.

Two results stand out.

Thurston County Taxpayers Pay for County Staff's Unscientific Campaign on Plastic Bags

May 30, 2013 in Blog

As part of its (taxpayer-funded) campaign to ban plastic bags, the staff at Thurston County Solid Waste released a new report called "Reducing Our Use: Plastic Shopping Bags," that purports to provide the science of the impact of plastic bags. The report, however, includes claims that have been called false by the nation's leading science organizations. Other claims simply ignore key data to reach the politically desired conclusion.