Washington Policy Center Commentary on the Draft Recommendations of the State Climate Advisory Team

By TODD MYERS  | 
POLICY BRIEF
|
Jan 7, 2008

Here's a little known secret. Environmental activists here and abroad don't really care about global warming.

The Washington state Climate Advisory Team released its draft recommendations in December, outlining their plan to reduce carbon emissions and strategies aimed at “transforming our economy and our lifestyles.” Washington Policy Center submitted our comments in three pieces, including general comments, a discussion of jobs and the climate strategies and a detailed analysis of one of the more expansive recommendations that calls for changes in growth management, building codes and even the name of the Department of Transportation.

There are some elements of the proposal we believe are appropriate, such as the emphasis on looking at a range of incremental changes and the recognition that technology is key to reducing greenhouse gases.

The draft, however, is burdened by a very heavy reliance on political decisions and the hand of government. We have three general critiques of the draft:

It is incomplete, leaving the most significant area of carbon reductions, transportation, to future decisions and planning.

The economic estimates are very rosy. In a number of cases the cost estimates for the recommendations are low or artificially lowered.

The greenhouse gas projections are often only targets and others are unlikely to materialize. The projections often are built on the belief that government can more effectively choose the correct direction of technology and investment than the market – an assumption that has shown time and again to be unsupportable.

Washington has an opportunity to responsibly, efficiently and effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The CAT proposal, however, takes us in the wrong direction relying on strategies that have not borne fruit in the past and are needlessly bureaucratic.

Read the full Policy Brief here