Why doesn't the environmental left turn to the creativity of the free market for solutions that reduce resource use, environmental impact and improve energy efficiency? Maybe because they don't understand, at a basic level, what the free market is.
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."
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.
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 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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.