Environment

WPC's Center for the Environment brings balance to the environmental debate by promoting the idea that human progress and prosperity work in a free economy to protect the environment.

Environment Blog

On Earth Day, Seattle Prioritizes Political Results Over Environmental Effectiveness

April 22, 2014 in Blog

Today is Earth Day and Crosscut has our piece highlighting the free-market approach to environmental policy. You can also hear my short interview on KUOW about the conservative approach to environmental policy.

Gov. Inslee's Three Reasons to Support Cap-and-Trade: Politics, Politics and Politics

April 4, 2014 in Blog

Earlier this week, Governor Inslee, speaking at the University of Washington, explained his support for imposing a cap-and-trade system in Washington state to reduce carbon emissions.

Cap-and-trade, the system used by Europeans and others as part of the Kyoto Protocol, has two key elements. First, it sets a total cap on the amount of carbon emissions allowed, typically over the course of a year, by covered entities in the state. Second, covered entities are allowed to buy and trade permits to emit carbon.

A Step Forward for Environmental Accountability

April 2, 2014 in Blog

A tax break for a natural gas plant in Tacoma offers a nice step forward for a bipartisan approach to environmental accountability and effectiveness.

One of the primary failures of Washington's environmental approach is that politicians choose policies that make them look good but do little to ensure those policies actually work. For example:

News Story on Oso Landslide Quotes Geologist Who Thinks Firebombers Are "Eco-Patriots"

April 1, 2014 in Blog

Yesterday, The Seattle Times published a story on a nine-years old timber harvest that Times reporters believe may be linked to the tragic landslide in Oso. The article, "State used outdated data to allow logging on slope," argues that part of that harvest was in an area that had previously been restricted.

The story notes there could be several factors contributing to the slide:

WTO Anarchists May Have Been Seattle Police in Disguise Says Rainforest Action Network Founder Randy Hayes

March 25, 2014 in Blog

Who was really underneath those black masks violent protestors wore during the 1999 WTO riots in Seattle? The founder of the Rainforest Action Network Randy Hayes thinks they may have been Seattle police.

A Few (Six Actually) Problems With the State's New Cost Estimates of the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard

March 4, 2014 in Blog

Yesterday, the Governor's office released an analysis of the potential cost of a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS), arguing the cost is as low as four cents per gallon. The purpose was to respond to analyses, like ours, showing the potential cost was much higher.

The analysis, however, suffers from a number of shortcomings.

How High School Students Proved A Nobel Prize Economist Right on the Environment

February 23, 2014 in Blog

What happens when you give high school students goldfish crackers and tell them to act like commercial fishermen? Interestingly, they prove the validity of a couple tenets of environmental economics.

Predicting Environmental Catastrophe Embiggens the Smallest Activist

February 16, 2014 in Blog

Imagine a friend telling you his goal in life was to end all jaywalking. You might wonder if there wasn’t something more important he could do with his life.

Now imagine someone telling you he is working to save the planet from imminent destruction – for people, for wildlife, for future generations. Suddenly, they seem more righteous, more important. Environmentalists seem to believe, like Jebediah Springfield, that tackling a potential catastrophe "embiggens the smallest man."

Giving the Rich a Tax Break on Electric Cars Creates $1 of Environmental Benefit for Every $304 Spent

February 3, 2014 in Blog

Amid the talk about closing tax loopholes, there is one loophole some in Olympia want to protect in the name of the environment. Currently, Washington state waives the sales tax on electric vehicles, like the $90,000 Tesla Model S.

The goal of this loophole is to reduce carbon emissions. The impact of the loophole, however, is probably very small and wastes huge amounts of money for tiny environmental benefit.

Internal Administration E-mails Show Effort to Hide Pacific Coast Climate Agreement from Legislature

January 23, 2014 in Blog

Last week Governor Inslee sent a letter to the legislature, reproaching them for comments about the potential cost to consumers of a Low-Carbon Fuel Standard. Since he has not outlined his plan, he argued, it is impossible to estimate costs.

He also said it was "offensive" to imply that, "I have in some way been hiding my intentions." He suggested, "If in the future you have questions about my intentions, I suggest you ask me."