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.
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.
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.
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.
Step one of any twelve-step program is "admit you have a problem." Left-wing environmental groups like FUSE still aren't there. As a result, Washington state has wasted millions on failed climate policies and some seem determined to keep doing that.
This week, the Wall Street Journal is publishing four pieces I wrote addressing various aspects of energy and environment policy. You can read them all at the WSJ Experts page. There are some nice pieces by others as well, so it is worth a look at all of the articles.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).