Governor Inslee and Climate Policy: Measuring Success and Failure
In his inaugural address today, Governor Inslee highlighted the need to reduce the risk of climate change from carbon emissions. He specifically emphasized the need to "replace rhetoric with quantifiable results." This is critical. Washington politicians have been heavy on rhetoric the past several years and the results have been poor.
From 2001-2009, the most recent data available, the United States saw a 15 percent reduction in carbon emissions. Washington state, by way of contrast, saw emissions decline 2.7 percent. California had a similarly poor record, seeing emissions decline only 3 percent. Oregon, called the top state in the nation for "green jobs" by Pew, actually saw emissions increase by 1.5 percent.
One simple metric would help change that poor record. Comparing strategies based on the amount of CO2 reduced for each dollar would allow taxpayers to receive the maximum amount of environmental benefit for every dollar. Continuing to fund strategies that waste time and money will simply make addressing carbon emissions more difficult and expensive in the future.