Contact: John Barnes
jbarnes [at] washingtonpolicy [dot] org
Today, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) and other state agencies submitted reports outlining the state’s strategy on climate change. Washington Policy Center’s Environmental Director Todd Myers had this statement regarding the reports:
“The state of Washington’s strategy on climate change continues to focus on policies that are not only expensive and harm jobs, they won’t make significant progress on reducing carbon emissions. Under the approach being offered, Washington emissions will grow five times faster than the national average, economic growth will slow (as it has in Oregon and California under their climate-change strategies) and our state will miss opportunities to make real environmental progress.
- Ecology’s Own Research Shows It Will Hurt Jobs and the Economy
The Washington Department of Ecology’s economic analysis last summer claimed that higher energy costs improved economic growth. The data it released showed the opposite. Ecology’s own data show a direct correlation between an increase in energy costs and the economic downturn of 2000-2002. Despite this, Ecology now claims the exact opposite will happen in the future. Additionally, the Department did not offer a real-world example that corresponds to its claim.
We asked the Department to offer a critique of that analysis in December and have not received a response.
- Under Ecology’s Strategy, Washington’s Emissions Will Rise at Five Times the National Average
Despite the cost, the strategy would actually increase carbon emissions. Ecology claims it would “limit emissions growth to 3 percent between now and 2020. However, the state isn’t on track to meet its statutory reduction limit for 2020 or beyond.” In fact, the state needs to reduce emissions to reach the target, not limit the increase.
Worse, Washington’s emissions will actually grow more rapidly than the national average. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that total U.S. carbon emissions will increase only 0.6% during the same period of time (2008-2020) .
- There is a Better Approach
In our 2011 “Fresh Start on the Environment” proposals, the Washington Policy Center has again offered policies that would help reduce carbon emissions, improve energy efficiency and reduce the amount of money the U.S. sends to hostile regimes.
2011 - A Fresh Start for the Environment 
- Ensure the state gets what it pays for in climate reduction. The Climate Change Accountability Act would require projects that promise reductions in carbon emissions put that promise in writing so taxpayers can be certain they get what they pay for.
- Cut innovation taxes and put a price on carbon. Innovation is the only strategy that improves energy efficiency and promotes economic growth. Cutting taxes on innovators and creating an incentive to cut carbon emissions would combine to effectively reduce emissions.