Tmyers

Green Games with Asthma Distract from Real Solutions

August 23, 2012 in Blog

The Seattle Times recently ran an excellent piece on an effort to prevent asthma in children and reduce attacks for those already living with asthma. The article, "Program uses home visits to help asthmatic kids breathe easier," highlights efforts to reduce the incidence of asthma among children by reducing the risk factors in homes. The article tells the story of one boy whose symptoms have disappeared...

Seattle and the U.S. Owe Carbon Reductions to Natural Gas

August 20, 2012 in Blog

When Greg Nickels was mayor of Seattle, he released a study of Seattle's carbon emissions, claiming the city would meet the emissions reduction targets in the Kyoto Protocol. When the report was released in 2007, Nickels announced "A new inventory of Seattle’s greenhouse-gas emissions shows we are meeting our Kyoto Treaty targets — reducing climate pollution to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012." The goal of the report was to highlight his leadership on reducing carbon emissions.

Greens vs. Science: Ecology Doesn't Want Improved Data on Phosphorous and Spokane River

August 3, 2012 in Blog

In my book Eco-Fads, I argue that many politicians and policymakers actively oppose auditing their policies because the benefit of the policies isn't environmental improvement, it is the good feeling associated with publicly supporting the policy. I wrote:

Auditing the results of a policy serves only as a tool to point out the shortcomings of favored environmental approaches. Data that are not collected cannot be used to show whether elected officials made a mistake.

Department of Ecology Overrules Legislature on Flame Retardant

July 18, 2012 in Blog

On Monday, the Washington Toxics Coalition announced that the Department of Ecology would begin the process to list a flame retardant known as Tris as a "chemical of high concern." They announced the decision on Twitter, writing "WE WON! is starting the process to list chlorinated Tris as a chemical of concern to kids!"

This announcement stands out for several reasons.

Air Quality and Economic Innovation: You Didn't Do That

July 17, 2012 in Blog

Asked by reporters how he felt after a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, former Chicago Bulls center Stacey King told reporters, “I’ll always remember this as the night that Michael Jordan and I combined for 70 points.” This is the comment that came to mind when President Obama told an audience recently, “If you built a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” The President went on to say, “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.”

Five Years Later: Another New Director at the Puget Sound Partnership. Still No Science-Based Priorities.

July 10, 2012 in Blog

"Science – not emotion or expediency – is the most reliable guide to achieving success. The Partnership supports and relies on continuing scientific research to inform its decisions, and to measure what’s working." - Puget Sound Partnership Action Agenda 2012 Draft

Plastic Bag Ban Begins in Seattle: What Will Success Look Like?

July 2, 2012 in Blog

Seattle's new ban on plastic grocery bags took effect yesterday and the question is "what will success look like?"

The immediate reaction might be that success means reducing the number of plastic bags used by consumers. The law is almost certain to do that, since the bags are banned and heavier plastic bags will cost 10 cents a bag.

How is Creating Green Jobs Like Banning Tractors to Create Farm Jobs?

June 25, 2012 in Blog

Recently the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts released a graphic purporting to show "green" technologies create more jobs than traditional energy sources. The graphic below has been distributed widely by advocates of creating "green jobs." This is a common assertion from the environmental left.

As I note in my book Eco-Fads, this claim is made by many on the left.

The West Coast Electric Highway: Shades of the West Coast Hydrogen Highway

June 1, 2012 in Blog

Celebrating the creation of electric car charging stations along I-5 and US-2 today, Governor Gregoire offered this optimistic forecast:

Westin Makes the Free-Market Green Choice

May 19, 2012 in Blog

If you have stayed at a hotel recently, you have seen a card in the bathroom exhorting you to help the planet by reusing your towels, thus reducing the amount of water, energy and detergent used by the hotel. Such appeals are typically based on guilt - you reuse the towels and the hotel receives the financial benefit.

The success of such efforts, however, is tenuous because it is entirely contingent on the convenience and good will of the guests.

Westin Hotels, however, have harnessed the free market to find a better way.

Ecology's New Report on Climate Change Impacts Ignores 'Consensus' Science

May 2, 2012 in Blog

One of the most common mantras from the state's Department of Ecology about climate change is to note the strong "scientific consensus" regarding the impacts of climate change. The consensus science comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN agency that releases reports highlighting what it believes is the best science on climate change and the impacts.

Two Environmental Victories From the Legislative Session

April 19, 2012 in Blog

After one of the most contentious legislative sessions in recent history, there are some good stories to tell. On the environmental front, two stand out.

Car Sharing

Eco-Fads: Does Recycling Save Trees? Seattle City Light Gets It Wrong.

April 4, 2012 in Blog

We have all seen signs on paper towel dispensers and elsewhere telling us that by using less paper we are saving trees. The City of Seattle is now echoing that claim, tweeting out this claim:

Did you know?! For every household that recycles its daily newspaper, five trees are spared every year.

It seems logical enough. The more we recycle, the fewer trees we need, leaving more trees unharvested. That logic, however, doesn't hold up in the real world.

Want to Get the Science Right? Go To the Free Market.

April 3, 2012 in Blog

An excellent Reuters story featuring a former Amgen researcher highlights the important role companies in a free market play in developing new technology and avoiding scientific error.

The story highlights a disturbing trend in academic science, noting that many "discoveries" in cancer research are quite shoddy and cannot be replicated. The article tells the story:

Earth Hour is Symbolic...But What Does It Symbolize?

March 30, 2012 in Blog

Once again, environmental groups are encouraging you to turn off your lights tomorrow night at 8:30 as part of Earth Hour. Supporters understand this is a symbolic effort, so they don't make too many claims about how much energy will actually be saved. Earth Hour, however, ends up providing a nice contrast between the current green approach and the alternative provided by the free-market incentives to do more with less.