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

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."

Governor's Climate Report Estimates Low-Carbon Fuel Standard Would Add $1.17 Per Gallon

January 16, 2014 in Blog

According to The Seattle Times, Governor Inslee is upset at a Republican claim that a Low-Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) would increase the price of a gallon of gas by $1. Recently, some have expressed concern that the Governor will impose an LCFS using an executive order.

Climate Policy in Washington: The Republican Proposals

January 10, 2014 in Blog

As part of the Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup (CLEW), Republican members offered their ideas for effectively cutting carbon emissions in Washington state. On the whole, the Republican proposals yield more environmental benefit per dollar spent, but do not yield significant emissions reductions.

The key shortcoming of these policies is that they focus only on electricity. Washington state's electricity is already extremely decarbonized. As a result, focusing on electricity (as many of the Democrats' proposals do as well), is not going to make meaningful reductions.

Climate Policy in Washington: Comparing the Republican and Democratic Proposals

January 8, 2014 in Blog

After months of study and discussion, the Republicans and Democrats of the Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup (CLEW) in Olympia released two different draft proposals designed to cut Washington's carbon emissions.

The two approaches are quite different but both claim to meet a standard of environmental effectiveness. For example, the proposal offered by Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island) and Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Burien) claims: