Washington State Ranks 44th in Carbon Emissions Reduction Since 2004
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.
From 2004-09, Washington state's CO2 emissions actually increased by 0.5 percent, placing Washington 44th in the country in controlling carbon emissions. Washington is one of only eight states that saw its emissions increase from 2004-09. Overall, the United States saw CO2 emissions fall by nearly 9 percent.
Over the last decade, Washington does better, ranking 24th, although the CO2 reductions are still lower than the national average. This means that Washington's carbon emissions reductions during the last ten years came early in the decade. Those reductions are associated with energy price spikes in 2001 that resulted in the closure of aluminum plants. Since that one-time windfall of carbon emission reductions, Washington has actually increased carbon emissions by 6 percent.
Put simply, it wasn't government policy that led to the one reduction in carbon emissions Washington did see in the last decade.
During the past several years, Washington state, Seattle and other jurisdictions have adopted a range of measures designed to cut carbon emissions. Given the poor results we are seeing, it is time to stop throwing good money after bad and consider a new approach to energy efficiency.