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

Green Games with Asthma Distract from Real Solutions

August 23, 2012 in Blog

The Seattle Times recently ran an excellent piece on an effort to prevent asthma in children and reduce attacks for those already living with asthma. The article, "Program uses home visits to help asthmatic kids breathe easier," highlights efforts to reduce the incidence of asthma among children by reducing the risk factors in homes. The article tells the story of one boy whose symptoms have disappeared...

Seattle and the U.S. Owe Carbon Reductions to Natural Gas

August 20, 2012 in Blog

When Greg Nickels was mayor of Seattle, he released a study of Seattle's carbon emissions, claiming the city would meet the emissions reduction targets in the Kyoto Protocol. When the report was released in 2007, Nickels announced "A new inventory of Seattle’s greenhouse-gas emissions shows we are meeting our Kyoto Treaty targets — reducing climate pollution to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012." The goal of the report was to highlight his leadership on reducing carbon emissions.

Greens vs. Science: Ecology Doesn't Want Improved Data on Phosphorous and Spokane River

August 3, 2012 in Blog

In my book Eco-Fads, I argue that many politicians and policymakers actively oppose auditing their policies because the benefit of the policies isn't environmental improvement, it is the good feeling associated with publicly supporting the policy. I wrote:

Auditing the results of a policy serves only as a tool to point out the shortcomings of favored environmental approaches. Data that are not collected cannot be used to show whether elected officials made a mistake.

Department of Ecology Overrules Legislature on Flame Retardant

July 18, 2012 in Blog

On Monday, the Washington Toxics Coalition announced that the Department of Ecology would begin the process to list a flame retardant known as Tris as a "chemical of high concern." They announced the decision on Twitter, writing "WE WON! is starting the process to list chlorinated Tris as a chemical of concern to kids!"

This announcement stands out for several reasons.

Air Quality and Economic Innovation: You Didn't Do That

July 17, 2012 in Blog

Asked by reporters how he felt after a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, former Chicago Bulls center Stacey King told reporters, “I’ll always remember this as the night that Michael Jordan and I combined for 70 points.” This is the comment that came to mind when President Obama told an audience recently, “If you built a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” The President went on to say, “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.”

Five Years Later: Another New Director at the Puget Sound Partnership. Still No Science-Based Priorities.

July 10, 2012 in Blog

"Science – not emotion or expediency – is the most reliable guide to achieving success. The Partnership supports and relies on continuing scientific research to inform its decisions, and to measure what’s working." - Puget Sound Partnership Action Agenda 2012 Draft

Plastic Bag Ban Begins in Seattle: What Will Success Look Like?

July 2, 2012 in Blog

Seattle's new ban on plastic grocery bags took effect yesterday and the question is "what will success look like?"

The immediate reaction might be that success means reducing the number of plastic bags used by consumers. The law is almost certain to do that, since the bags are banned and heavier plastic bags will cost 10 cents a bag.

Surprise: GMA restrictions drive housing prices higher

July 2, 2012 in Blog

Wendell Cox, who spoke at our transportation lunch in May, has a great post about how the Green Belt around London drives home prices higher. The Green Belt restricts the supply of land available for development around the city core and is very similar to the restrictions found in our state’s Growth Management Act (GMA).

How is Creating Green Jobs Like Banning Tractors to Create Farm Jobs?

June 25, 2012 in Blog

Recently the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts released a graphic purporting to show "green" technologies create more jobs than traditional energy sources. The graphic below has been distributed widely by advocates of creating "green jobs." This is a common assertion from the environmental left.

As I note in my book Eco-Fads, this claim is made by many on the left.

The West Coast Electric Highway: Shades of the West Coast Hydrogen Highway

June 1, 2012 in Blog

Celebrating the creation of electric car charging stations along I-5 and US-2 today, Governor Gregoire offered this optimistic forecast: