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

Two Environmental Victories From the Legislative Session

April 19, 2012 in Blog

After one of the most contentious legislative sessions in recent history, there are some good stories to tell. On the environmental front, two stand out.

Car Sharing

Eco-Fads: Does Recycling Save Trees? Seattle City Light Gets It Wrong.

April 4, 2012 in Blog

We have all seen signs on paper towel dispensers and elsewhere telling us that by using less paper we are saving trees. The City of Seattle is now echoing that claim, tweeting out this claim:

Did you know?! For every household that recycles its daily newspaper, five trees are spared every year.

It seems logical enough. The more we recycle, the fewer trees we need, leaving more trees unharvested. That logic, however, doesn't hold up in the real world.

Want to Get the Science Right? Go To the Free Market.

April 3, 2012 in Blog

An excellent Reuters story featuring a former Amgen researcher highlights the important role companies in a free market play in developing new technology and avoiding scientific error.

The story highlights a disturbing trend in academic science, noting that many "discoveries" in cancer research are quite shoddy and cannot be replicated. The article tells the story:

Earth Hour is Symbolic...But What Does It Symbolize?

March 30, 2012 in Blog

Once again, environmental groups are encouraging you to turn off your lights tomorrow night at 8:30 as part of Earth Hour. Supporters understand this is a symbolic effort, so they don't make too many claims about how much energy will actually be saved. Earth Hour, however, ends up providing a nice contrast between the current green approach and the alternative provided by the free-market incentives to do more with less.

Green Car Technology: Free-Market Prius Zaps Government-subsidized Chevy Volt

March 21, 2012 in Blog

There could hardly be a more stark contrast between the ability of the free market to provide effective environmental solutions and the failure of politically dictated efforts than the difference between the Toyota Prius C and the Chevy Volt.

How to Solve Global Warming

March 20, 2012 in Blog

King County released an assessment of the county's total greenhouse gas emissions, including "consumption-based" emissions related to energy used outside the county to make products for consumption within the county. There is good and bad in this approach.

The good is that it more accurately reflects the amount of energy each of us uses for everything we buy and create.

Seattle and Washington Haven't Reduced Carbon Emissions. So Why Are Greens Claiming 'Success'?

March 14, 2012 in Blog

A new study showing that local climate plans fail to reduce carbon emissions is drawing some fire from the environmental left. I will write a separate blog about that study (which confirms much of what we've said in the past), but what interested me was this claim by K.C.

How The Lorax Came to Love Foresters

March 5, 2012 in Blog

Last weekend, the motion picture version of Dr. Seuss’s book "The Lorax" hit the big screen and it sticks in large part to the original 1971 storyline. In "The Lorax," a businessman, the "Once-ler," moves into town, cuts down all the trees and destroys the forest, air and water in the process. A furry creature, the Lorax, appears and proclaims, “I speak for the trees” and scolds the Once-ler for being "crazed with greed."

Ghost of Wasted Environmental Funding Haunts Puget Sound Partnership

March 5, 2012 in Blog

Last week, Crosscut featured an interview with the Chair of the Puget Sound Partnership Martha Kongsgaard. Martha complains about the $1.7 million in cuts to the agency, saying "the enforcement and the effectiveness of what they do and how they carry out their work is really eroded."

Legislative Environmental Proposals Put Emotion Before Science, and That Makes Me Cry

February 24, 2012 in Blog

The House Democrats' blog, "The Advance," offers this environmental statistic: "Over five million trees are cut down each year to print white pages directories." That led the caucus to title the blog post containing that statistic "Yellow Pages/White pages kill trees and that makes me cry."