Wash. state climate change bill signed into law

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SEATTLE (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law Tuesday a bill he championed that would study the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the measure, an independent consultant would review efforts to cut carbon emissions in Washington state and elsewhere. A newly created work group of legislators and other leaders would use that evaluation to recommend actions to reduce pollution associated with climate change.

The group will be expected to prioritize strategies that are the most effective and provide the greatest environmental benefit for the money spent.

Supporters say the measure would help the state reach its target of reducing greenhouse gases. A 2008 state law called for Washington to return to 1990 emissions levels by 2020, and for reductions beyond that.

The Democratic governor, who signed the bill at The Bullitt Center in Seattle, has championed the issue of climate change as a key concern. He appeared before committees in the House and Senate to urge the bill’s passage, saying that climate change threatens industries in the state and Washington is poised to take a lead in fighting global warming.

Environmental groups lauded the bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island.

“This law is an important first step toward reducing climate pollution in Washington,” said Joan Crooks, Executive Director of Washington Environmental Council and co-chair of the Environmental Priorities Coalition.

Language in the original bill warned that Washington state is particularly vulnerable to a warming climate, and noted that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities posed a threat to public health and the environment.

But such language was removed in the Republican-controlled state Senate. House Democrats elected not to reintroduce that language, instead sending the bill to the governor for his signature.

Todd Myers, environmental director for the Washington Policy Center, said the measure marks an important change from past policies that he called “little more than symbolic gestures.”

“With this legislation, Washington will begin prioritizing climate efforts based on environmental effectiveness, contributing to a cleaner world and making sure taxpayers get the environmental benefits they pay for,” Myers said in a statement.

According to the latest numbers, published in 2010, about 101 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent were emitted in Washington in 2008, about 2.3 percent less than in 2007 but about 9 percent more than in 1990.

Tuesday’s measure won’t be the first time the state has studied strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Under former Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire, the state came up with a plan in 2008 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The plan’s centerpiece was a cap-and-trade program that would limit how much pollution large industries could emit as well as set up a regional market for polluters to buy or sell credits if they pollute more or less than their limit.

Gregoire aggressively pushed for and failed to get lawmakers in 2009 to approve a market-based carbon trading system, but later signed an executive order that same year aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Among other things, it directed state agencies to work with large industries to find ways to cut emissions, and called for plans to be drawn up on how the state’s largest counties can reduce the number of vehicles driven.

Comments

Igor 1 year, 3 months ago

The “Science is Settled” crowd really ought to read the article in yesterday’s The Economist , which was cited in “The New Climate Deniers,” a column by Rich Lowry in yesterday’s U.B. on the subject of global warming.

“Over the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar,” The Economist writes. “The world added roughly 100 billion tons of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO2 put there by humanity since 1750.” Yet, no more warming.

Those of my friends who belong to the The Church of Global Warming have absolutely no patience for non-believers like me who dare to challenge their doctrinal beliefs. If you even suggest that there might be just a few chinks in their system of beliefs they become irate and will scold you claiming that "the science is settled."

I learned a long, long time ago that there's little to be gained by attempting to engage a "true believer" in a discussion on the validity of his religion because most religious beliefs are founded on faith. That is, it's impossible to empirically prove the existence or non-existence of the Resurrection. Christians accept things like this as true on the basis of faith and ancient anecdotal evidence.

However, when it comes to pseudo religions like global warming it really is possible to test the tenants of the faith of the true believers. Alls you gotta is measure temperature dummies. The planet has warmed and cooled and warmed and cooled long before carbon emissions. And the fact of the matter is the planet ain't gotten any warmer over the past fifteen years despite what the faithful know and believe to be Gaea's honest truth.

In his State of the Union address Obama railed that if Congress won't act to save the planet then he will by executive fiat. Totalitarianism is all about control and what better way to control the masses than to make them think that they're all gonna perish if we don't do something about global warming now! How insidiously perfect for a leftist tyrant!

This sort of nonsense has been going on since the first publication of Silent Spring. There seems to be something about the human condition that makes people want to believe in this sort of hogwash despite all evidence to the contrary. And that's why the likes of Obama and Inslee continue to push for more and more stupid, needless, economically destructive, environmental regulation. Whatever it takes to gain and remain in power. That’s all that matters to these hucksters.

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blue_streak 1 year, 3 months ago

Nobody should be fooled by Rich Lowry's dishonest attempt to flip the terms of debate so that "denialists" applies to people who take climate change seriously.

The Economist article that he selectively quotes from is available online and is much more thorough and nuanced than Lowry would have you believe.

The Economist's own conclusion is nicely summarized in their editorial headline: "Climate change may be happening more slowly than scientists thought. But the world still needs to deal with it."

The article discusses whether it would be better to spend multiple billions to adapt to climate change rather than multiple billions in a fruitless attempt to prevent it.

In neither case, would the multiple billions to strengthen our power grid, improve seawalls and coastal buffer zones, and accelerate the adoption of renewable energy be a waste of money, let alone bring about a collapse of the economy.

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grammaphyllis 1 year, 3 months ago

Igor:
You hit it on the head!! Enough of the fear mongering. Lacking ancient knowledge of the historical variations in global temperature, it has become "Mod" to grab on to the latest fad such as "Global Warming" which changed to " Climate Change" because warming was not happening. Soon it will be "Moderation of the Normal" Defined as: when your head is in the oven and you are sitting on a block of ice, your Navel is NORMAL. Then things change. The biggest problem is that this uninformed distraction is very costly to those countries that buy into it. The enemy surrounds us. Condition impossible, I attack.

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fatherof5 1 year, 3 months ago

Not being a scientist myself, I rely on what other scientists say about climate change, particularly those who are published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Among those, it has been virtually unanimous that the climate is changing and that this change is likely caused by human activity.

I genuinely wish they weren't saying such things, but that's what the credible, peer-reviewed scientists are saying. The article cited in Rich Lowry's column and which Igor (above) refers to is subheadlined: "The climate may be heating up less in response to greenhouse-gas emissions than was once thought. But that does not mean the problem is going away." (Note the second half of the headline.)

I'm not a "fear mongerer" or "irate" or a supporter of "leftist tyranny" or "totalitarianism," all of which were stated above. I just don't know why - on the subject of climate change - I should believe a politically motivated English and history major like Rich Lowry over the scientific organizations listed below, each of which has stated that the climate is changing and that it is likely caused by man.

Are any of you more scientifically credible than the following:

National Academies, NASA, Geological Society of America, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Meteorological Society, American Society of Agronomy, American Society of Plant Biologists, American Statistical Association, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, Botanical Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Ecological Society of America, Natural Science Collections Alliance, Organization of Biological Field Stations, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Society of Systematic Biologists, Soil Science Society of America, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, Australian Institute of Physics, American Physical Society.

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namvet60 1 year, 3 months ago

How about Mother Nature has taken her ups and downs for the last million years. What's better yet is that she will probably continue to do so and the weather will change until the (end of my time).

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fatherof5 1 year, 3 months ago

I would prefer that interpretation, too, Namvet. It's those darn scientists I listed above who are complicating matters.

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namvet60 1 year, 3 months ago

The only problem is that next year the story will change. Just a thought.

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