Three things stand out about the Executive Order Governor Inslee issued today.
First, the Executive Order contradicts itself. Governor Inslee calls for an emphasis on the environmental effectiveness of various strategies, then he orders the expansion of two strategies the Governor’s own analysis shows are the least effective: solar panels and so-called “coal by wire.”
Also, Governor Inslee says his carbon reduction strategies must avoid simply moving carbon emissions elsewhere, known as “leakage.” His effort to reduce “coal by wire,” however, will likely result in that coal-based energy simply going to other states, contradicting the Governor’s announced goal of avoiding leakage. This is the experience Seattle officials had when they sought to go “carbon neutral.”
Second, the Governor ignores the lowest cost approaches to reducing carbon emissions, such as removing current, wasteful spending and regulation policies and replacing them with a flat price on carbon and tax cuts. This is the system used effectively by the conservative government in British Columbia.
Instead, Governor Inslee wants a cap-and-trade system that is notorious for its failure in Europe and resulted in widespread manipulation and cheating. Such systems are favored by politicians because they can be politically designed to reward supporters.
By promoting a cap-and-trade system, Governor Inslee prioritizes political control over environmental effectiveness.
Third, the Governor’s Executive Order mentions old work by the University of Oregon on the potential impact of climate change on Washington state. This research is outdated and has since been proven to be extremely inaccurate.
Additionally, the Oregon study falsely characterizes research regarding climate and air quality. We will follow up on this later, but it is surprising that Governor Inslee cites such an outdated and inaccurate study in today’s Executive Order.