Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Why are BOTH the Political Left and the Right Working Against Effective Action on Global Warming?

Both the political left and right in Washington State have been ineffective in dealing with future climate change.  

A good example:  the extremes of both sides are not supporting a revenue-neutral carbon tax, expressed by Initiative I-732.   

On one hand, there are left-leaning environmental and labor groups such as the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, Climate Solutions, the Northwest Progressive Institute, the Machinist and SEIU unions.  And on the other, there are those on the right, such as the leadership of the WA Republican party.
Allies

Both are putting their political agendas ahead of rational decision making and the public good. Both are distorting or ignoring the science for their own agendas.  Both need to change their approach and work towards a rational, facts-based, strategy to deal with climate change.

Consider,  I-732, the revenue-neutral carbon tax facilitated by a grass-roots Washington State group, CarbonWashington (CarbonWA).  Led by economist Yoram Bauman, CarbonWa, an army of enthusiastic volunteers across the State collected over 360,000 signatures for the initiative, which is now before the Washington State Legislature (only 250,000 valid signatures are needed).   The initiative calls for a modest tax on carbon fuels, with ALL proceeds refunded by reducing the sales tax by 1%, removing the B&O tax, and funding a tax rebate for working families.  Revenue neutral.


This initiative is good policy in many ways. A carbon tax will encourage conservation without picking solutions.   Governments have a very bad track record in picking energy solutions, promoting expensive disasters such as biofuels and the now defunct Solyndra photovoltaic company.  Far better to allow free markets to make the decisions and investments.  Furthermore, the initiative will make Washington State taxes less regressive (and they are very regressive today).    A very similar tax was adopted with great success in British Columbia, resulting in less carbon usage and no negative economic impacts.


Importantly, the revenue-neutral carbon tax could be bipartisan, since it reflects the values on both sides of the aisle.  Republicans are not going to support a revenue-positive carbon tax or cap-and-trade alternative.

Groups and individuals from all sides of the political spectrum and major leaders of  the business community support the revenue-neutral carbon tax as an effective approach for slowing the growth of carbon in the atmosphere.  For example, at the recent AGU meeting, I heard world-class entrepreneur Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and Space-X, and the originator of PayPal, suggest that a revenue-neutral carbon tax is a crucial part of the solution.


Todd Myers of the free market, Washington Policy Center, is a strong advocate of the I-732 revenue neutral carbon tax approach, as is Bill Finkbeiner, former Republican majority leader in the Washington State Senate.  Well known Democratic party leaders such as Mike McGinn, former Seattle mayor, Ron Sims, former King County Executive, and Peter Steinbrueck, former Seattle City councilmember support I732.  Major church groups such as the Washington State Unitarian Climate Justice effort believe I732 is a major advance.

The carbon tax is superior to cap and trade schemes, which have generally failed where they have been tried (such as in Europe), with plummeting carbon prices and the funds going for political pet projects.  The revenue-neutral carbon tax is simple, effective, and will not be gamed by politicians.  It is based on the proven economic principle of taxing what you don't want.  If the WA legislature passes it in their current session, our state will prove that reasonable, bipartisan action on climate change is possible;  it would be an example to the nation.

Unfortunately, here in Washington State, folks on the left and right are not supporting the carbon tax for their own partisan reasons.   On the right, there are influential state legislators like Senator Doug Erickson, chair of the Senate Energy committee, who opposes I732, doubts the validity of greenhouse gas warming, and who invites ill-informed "experts" (like Don Easterbrook) to testify to the legislature. Another major Republican figure, Senator Andy Hill, has not commented publicly on I732 but doubts the seriousness of human-induced climate change.  If you want to read something disturbing, take a look at a section of the platform of the WA State Republican party dealing with the environment:

"Climate change occurs naturally and warming from human generated greenhouse gases has yet to be proven. ... At present climate change science does not provide sufficient basis to formulate public policy."

This statement is false.  There is plenty of scientific basis to formulate public policy.

A number of Republican leaders are using three claims to support their inaction:

1.   The worldwide temperatures have not risen in the last decade (a.k.a., the pause or hiatus).   This proves nothing because scientists expect periods of little change occasionally due to natural variability.  In the end, increasing greenhouse gases will dominate.

2.  That many of the claims of environmental activists are exaggerated or wrong.    This is true, many of the claims of CURRENT impacts of greenhouse gas emissions are hyped or wrong (such as killing of baby oysters here in Washington State).  But the Republicans are missing the point.  The threat is not the impacts NOW, but the large impacts expected later in the century.  Those future impacts are what everyone should be worried about, including them.

3.  Washington State, with all its hydropower, is only a small part of the global greenhouse emission problem, why should we do anything?  The truth is any one area, state, or country is a small part of the problem.  But the big problem is really a lot of small problems that can only dealt with if everyone is part of the solution.

Republican leadership is missing in action regarding supporting I732 or dealing with future climate change.  They have developed a collection of invalid excuses for inaction (see above).   This is an example of leadership following from behind, since more and more Republicans are concerned about the future impacts of greenhouse gas warming. I know this because I have given talks on climate to mainly Republican groups, such to the Rotary Club and growers in Yakima, or the Association of Washington Businesses.  Ask growers about their concerns for future water resources or ranchers worried about wild fires. Republicans need to be part of the solution, not frittering away time doing nothing.

The left-leaning "environmental" groups are just as bad.  For example, a group that is opposing I732 is the Alliance for Clean Energy and Jobs, which doesn't like the carbon initiative because of its revenue neutrality--they want an initiative that will produce large amounts of revenue to be used for social programs.


The Alliance, which supposedly represents a lot of environment groups, unions, and social action efforts, wants a carbon-positive tax that would pump billions of dollars into their pet projects.  They are really into social action and using the money for minority and low-income groups, who they claim (without any proof) are somehow more affected by climate change.   I do not believe they are correct; climate change will affect everyone; we are all going to suffer from it.  From well-to-do farmers in eastern Washington and shellfish growers, to the ski industry, to those in big cities like Spokane impacted to smoke, to all of us who need hydropower.

I can't  understand why the Seattle Times and others give any credence to organizations like the Alliance.  It is led by an individual with a history as a Democratic political operative, with no background in environmental science or policy, and has funding from a left-leaning billionaire climate advocate (Tom Steyer).

I had a long conversation with a leader of Seattle's Climate Solutions--his group won't support I-732 because they want funds going to a variety of social programs.  I think this group needs a new name--they are part of the problem, not the solution.

Seattle's left leaning environmental community is long on symbolism, but short on doing anything meaningful to deal with climate change.   They are ready to jump on their kayaks for an ineffectual and meaningless protest regarding the Shell drilling platform.  But they are missing in action in dealing with the carbon waste of Seattle's gridlock traffic.  Uber liberal Seattle has completely inadequate bus service, does not maintain its bicycle paths, and  expanding its rail at a pace that can only be called glacial.   Environmental activists also love to fly all over the world (particularly for global warming meetings), which has a huge carbon input to the atmosphere.  And they are not supporting I-732.

Now, let them work on the region's gridlock

The Governor?   Although he is extraordinarily committed to dealing with climate change, he has not supported I732.  Instead he first pushed a revenue positive cap and trade proposal, which was not even supported by other Democrats.  Now he is proposing to go alone in capping carbon for major industries, a move that will enrage the Republicans.

So we have a problem.  Ineffective Democrats who prefer not to deal with real solutions regarding climate change but like to appeal to their base on social issues.  Republican leadership that have found all kinds of excuses to do nothing. Together they have produced a strange type of bipartisan environmental gridlock.

And then comes Yoram Bauman and the I-732 crowd who change the game. Against all expectations they secure the needed signatures.  An effective bipartisan approach to reducing carbon usage.  The "social justice" environmentalists in the Alliance and elsewhere then panic and try to buy I-732 off, offering nearly a million dollars if the I732 signatures are not handed in, leaving the field open to their replacement initiative, in which carbon taxes would be used for social programs.

Yoram Bauman:  Heroic Effort

Wisely, I-732 leadership declined this offer and submitted the signatures.
And now the issue is in the hands of the WA State Legislature.

Conventional wisdom is the I-732 will not pass, due to the issues noted above.  But I am not so sure.   If I-732 supporters (hundreds of thousands of them!) and rational moderates put pressure on the legislature, perhaps it can be passed during the next few months. But it will take a massive effort and heavy lobbying of our legislature.   But it may well be possible. The Republican party needs to understand that a revenue-neutral carbon tax is something they can and should support.  And if they sit on their hand, the alternative may well be less to their liking.  Democrats must accept that real progress depends on bipartisan action and a series of modest steps like I-732.  And that they shouldn't mix their social justice issues with climate change.

So my request:  contact your legislators and ask them to vote for I-732.

Let me end by noting that there are so many climate-related issues that Washington State Democrats and Republicans should agree that need attention:

1.  Fixing our degraded east-side forests
2.  Water conservation and building a robust water supply infrastructure
3.  Understanding the regional impacts of climate change.
4.  Positioning our state to be a leadership in energy technology
5.  Fixing our transportation grid-lock
6.  And yes, a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

We need mature, rational political leaders that can understand the effective bipartisan action is required and possible.



34 comments:

JeffB said...

Because everyone can see this is an adaptation issue over 50-100 years or more and not an immediate crisis. The Alarmism is not warranted.

Garry Klouzal said...

Did you mean to say you CAN understand why the Seattle Times ... Or did you really mean to say you CAN'T understand.

IMFletch said...

Here are links to some conservative support for the idea:

Shultz and Becker Urge Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax - http://volokh.com/2013/04/08/shultz-and-becker-urge-revenue-neutral-carbon-tax/

A Conservative's Approach to Combating Climate Change - http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/05/a-conservatives-approach-to-combating-climate-change/257827/

Unknown said...

Although I appreciate the work you put into this post, and I usually agree with you, I think you've missed the story with the Left. The reason they don't support the initiative is that the initiative, while virtuous in itself, is self-characterized as a tax and therefore is very unlikely to pass. The coalition of climate people on the Left tried to fashion an initiative that would pass, hence how it is characterized and the inclusion of revenue streams to causes the public will hopefully support. This fight is a classic example of political sausage being made. In a better world (Canada?) where the electorate is not steeped in disinformation and a anti-tax climate doesn't prevail, I-732 would be a no-brainer. But that's not our world right now.

And by the way, I was disappointed at your inclusion of the right-wing Solyndra talking point. The vast majority of those DOE loans were paid back (companies like Tesla). Government kickstarting in new tech can pay vast dividends to the economy.

Bruce Kay said...

The above first comment (JeffB) completely nails the fundamental problem. All of us - Left , Right or otherwise - can't comprehend the moral imperative of acting now in order to set us up for the future. It is classic loss aversion, the fear of losing what we have now based on probabalistic forecasting into the future.

There is much more to it of course, such as ideological imperatives such as irrational contempt for a bedrock of civilization (taxation) but te significant problem is loss aversion as a euristic response to risk.

Anyone who actually cares and is truly curious ( as opposed to bring grounded in tribal dogmatism) nood only spend a week or two exploring the topic of Problem Complexity, specifically "Wicked Problems" or in the case of AGW, "Super Wicked Problems".
There you will eventually find there is no "solution", there is only risk management.

Unfortunately, as Cliff seems to be alluding to, management of wicked problems requres colaboration of all stakeholders, wich ideological dogmatism is incapable of. Although the "Left" may be more onside with the facts (science), they can still be as idiortically dogmatically deluded about solution as much as the right. Up here ( Squamish) this is evident in the current conflict regarding LNG as a potentially cleaner carbon based fuel. There are many reasons to oppose it ( a typical wicked problem!) but wat you will see on "the Left" is a predictable discounting of the potential for benefit and a willingness to exploit that. It often appears suspiciously like rank nimbyism.

Of course that as well usually is a gross generalization that only generates more stereotypes and further heuristic clumsyness.
Anyway, in regard to Carbon Tax.... first you just need to accept the science ( not invent your own) then simply look where carbon Taxation has been implemented (BC for instance) to see that it actually works with little risk.

But the main problem is simply understanding that probability of outcome is very high ( temerature going up, quickly) Consequence is extreme ( worst case - ecological colapse on a global scale) and exposure is total.

That leaves vulnerability and without a doubt, that must invilve throttling back GHG emmisions.

RLL said...

I am disappointed to see repeated assertions of false equivalence. I am in favor of the carbon tax. Even if properly labelled as a tax. But I understand Democratic politicians fear of 'raising taxes'. Of course the truly great growth of science and prosperity in the US came during times of high taxes.

David B. said...

Please. This is a classic example of the fallacy of the political moderate: when faced between an argument between two sides as to whether 2 + 2 is 4 or 5, to conclude that the correct answer must therefore be 4.5.

The problem in taking action on global warming is not the Left. It is the Right. Many of us on the Left supported the revenue neutral carbon tax. As much as are supporting the new competing proposal? No. But get it right: I am actually involved with the kayaktivists, and I am hardly alone in that group in supporting the revenue-neutral carbon tax.

The rub is that proposal got exactly zero support from the Right.

Eventually a competing proposal was put forth that got more support on the Left because it catered to other classically Left concerns (such as poverty and inequality) as well as the environment. That competing proposal is now gaining traction.

What's the point of trying to compromise with the Right if the answer from them is always not just "No." but "Hell, no!"? Isn't it in such a situation more productive to try and seek support from those who are willing to actually consider supporting such a thing?

Compromise is only possible with those who are willing to entertain the idea of compromise. It was other groups, on the Left of the political spectrum but not who normally had environmental issues as their top concerns, who were willing to play give-and-take with the advocates of a carbon tax.

Therefore the compromise that is emerging is the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy proposal.

Don't like it? Blame the side that facts show was actually unwilling to compromise.

Chris Mc said...

Jeffb 50-100 years from now, if nothing changes, the people are sure going to wish we had been alarmed by what we (industry) were doing. I hope everyone can recognize that 50-100 years goes by in a blink..

The same type of taxes should be written for plastics. Should cost more to buy a plastic spoon that lasts generations. Who cares about recycling when you can go buy 500 more for a buck.

Imo

Bob Hall said...

I agree with most of your post and will be contacting my representatives to ask them to suport I-732.

However, several things you said bothered me:

"Governments have a very bad track record in picking energy solutions, promoting expensive disasters such as biofuels and the now defunct Solyndra photovoltaic company."

Compared to who? Are you suggesting that the private sector has a better record? Government created nuclear power and hydro power. The "free market" (which is exists more in theory than in reality) doesn't have the capacity to invest in long-term research that might result in energy solutions. Government giving loans to a variety of groups in order to spur research (including companies that fail, like Solyndra) actually begins to approximate a free-market system. Some of the experiments fail, and some succeed. It's not like they're *still* pumping money into a failed experiment.

Secondly, you cite "Fixing our transportation grid-lock" as a way to help reduce emissions. Let's get one thing straight: non-congested highways filled with gas powered cars still emit CO2. Solving congestion is not the issue. Building cities where people can get around despite congestion is the solution. Look at NYC: they have amazing transit (compared to Seattle), yet it has not solved car congestion. But it doesn't matter, because everyone who isn't in a car can still walk or take the subway. The result: New Yorkers contribute the least amount towards emissions from transportation than any other city in the US. So please tell me where there is a correlation between cities with low congestion and cities with low total emissions.

AdrianS said...

I hear I-732 is actually revenue negative, losing ~$700 million over the first few years: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/analysis-of-carbon-tax-initiative-predicts-hit-to-state-revenue/

Placeholder said...

I will vote against this for the following reasons:

1. I don't believe that human activity is changing the climate.

2. If #1 is wrong, I don't believe this tax would have any impact.

3. In any case, I don't believe that global warming has anything to do with this. To me, this is the usual Puget Sound "progressive" excuse for yet another tax increase.

Bruce Kay said...

RLL - It is true what you say about false equivalency. There is no doubt that "the left" is more correct simply because they are most aligned with what the science tells us. The aversion to the word "Tax" is moronic beyond belief but as you note, even the democrats have the disease.

The signoficant problem, again what i think Cliff is driving at, is that some "left" ideological imperatives are generally hogwash and if the left is smart, they will drop them in favour of being persuasive to the vast majority of reasonable "right of centers" who feel the bile rise up when they suspect an agenda of social justice rather than the more important lower GHG emissions.

The first thing we need to accept - after the fact of AGW despite the wisdom of Placeholder - is the fundamentals of human judgement. An excellent place to start is The righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt.

Unknown said...

Placeholder, show us the data! Else, you're just blabbing denialist talking points, lacking in substance.

Ansel said...

I'm curious as to what you guys think of the proposed "mileage tax". Rumor has it our WASDOT wants one. I say no! For now, we should stay with the gas tax which is a de facto carbon tax. Too bad if the electric vehicles get a free ride for a while- we need the incentive! If necessary we can raise the gas tax a little. A mileage tax is harder to formulate, harder to enforce, and has privacy issues. I agree that our state tax system is far too regressive. I'd go so far as to cancel the property taxes for primary homes and the sales tax (except for gas and certain
"sin taxes") and institute a progressive state income tax.

Anyway I was curious what other progressive think. I was having a lively debate with one of my environmental activist friends who is in favor of the mileage tax.

Ansel said...

Placeholder, I can't understand why, global warming or not, you aren't willing to make the tax burden more fair. It clearly demonstrates that it will ease the tax burden on the needy- and ours is the most regressive tax structure of any state.

Placeholder said...

@Ansel, if the goal is the "make the tax burden more fair," then the so-called "progressives" should pursue that goal rather than use some phony climate scare. I realize that it's a futile request to ask a "progressive" to tell the plain truth, but until they do it they won't have a prayer of getting my vote.

Dan McShane said...

Thanks for tying to get your head around this and saying what you think. I see lots of flaws in the Carbon Washington initiative; however, the alliance has brought forward nothing and the legislature will take no action it appears. Flaws or no I will vote for the initiative.

Dana Knickerbocker said...

Why not just cut the outrageous war budget which is around a trillion dollars in half, plant 200 billion trees and call it good. Also, let's protect every last acre of ancient forest. All of fancy technological and complex solutions are tedious and unknowable in their effectiveness. We have cures for cancer and sponges for carbon. They're called forests and coral reefs. The minutae of whether a carbon tax will or will not work is boring.

Logicpath said...

While I support carbon taxation and will vote for I-732, it is not the solution Cliff makes it out to be, nor are other proposals "working against effective action on global warming." Ask yourself, how much less gasoline will you buy if it goes up 25 cents? And how many people will take their sales tax savings and use it to pay for their gas?

Let's be clear: I-732 is more about taxes than reducing carbon emissions. Just look at their home webpage.

But there's one more thing that's worse than the smallness of the reduction of fossil fuel usage. What we REALLY need it to find a path to ZERO emissions this century, and "actions" such as this will have many folks thinking the problem is solved when it actually falls far, far short, thus causing better follow up solutions getting little attention.

Patrick H said...

I don't understand resistance from Republicans. I'm a conservative and I've been preaching this approach to all my (mostly liberal) friends. It's the perfect middle ground solution where both sides get something.

Neel Blair said...

Republicans are absent because they are in the tank for entrenched energy and industry interests. These interests don't want to be accountable for their own externalities, and IF those externalities start being internalized (aka - they actually have to pay for them), then CERTAINLY don't want to have to compete on a level playing field with alternatives.

This isn't even about the science. It's about influence peddling and entrenched, obsolete industries trying to stay profitable even while they rot from the inside.

Mark said...

I'm not a fan of politics. I have little faith in any political party. I support democracy because the alternatives are worse. I love the sciences and I am a scientist. I'm a veteran of the southeast Asian war (aka Vietnam) too.

I'll support a carbon tax. It's not the solution but the alternative is "do nothing".

Washington state produces more hydro power than any other state in the Union about 30% of total US hydro power. Despite that, Washington ranks only 9th lowest in per capita CO2 emissions (behind New York state and California 2nd and 3rd respectively). The biggest offender is Wyoming where per capita emissions are more than 10 times greater than Washington state.

Of the three main fossil fuels, coal has the largest carbon footprint, natural gas the lowest and oil is between the two. CO2 per kilowatt generated is about double for coal compared to natural gas.

About 37% of U.S. carbon comes from electrical generation and much of that from coal. About 31% of carbon comes from transportation (mostly oil).

Switching from coal to natural gas is the quickest way to lower the nation's carbon footprint. Coal producing states don't like that at all.

The break through technology we need is an inexpensive method of storing large (commercial quantity) of renewable energy. There is ample solar and wind energy available to power the world but we need base load and peaking power. The absence of economical storage makes solar and wind a poor choice for base load and peak power generation. One alternative to renewables is nuclear power.

Natural gas electrical generation works better with renewables than coal. It takes more time to cool down and fire up a coal fired generator than a natural gas generator.

On a more interesting note: We have two January hurricanes. One in the Atlantic (Alex) and one in the central Pacific (Pali). I think having two January hurricanes at the same time is a first.

Global temperature anomalies for November 2015:
Land +2.36F
Ocean +1.51F
Land and ocean 1.75F ranks #1 as warmest November of record in 136 years.

December numbers will be available January 20th.

The global land and ocean temperature is within what is considered the 'Safe Zone' for a stable climate (less than 1.5C or 2.7F). At this temperature anomaly, it is believed that the cryosphere and climate will be stable. It is troubling that the world is experiencing an increase in extreme weather events despite being in the 'Safe Zone'.

As for the Republican party not acknowledging AGW, I don't care. It's politics not science. The Vatican threatened Galileo with death until he recanted that indeed the sun revolves around the Earth. The Earth is the center of the Universe. Politics!

Jim Little said...

@CliffM Thanks for this post. I will contact my legislators and will encourage my family and friends to do so also.

I-732 seems like the best bipartisan opportunity for WA to do our part in limiting carbon emissions. It’s a start. But we will need to do much more here in our state, nationally and globally. Like you say, fix our forests, conserve water, research and deploy clean energy, optimize energy efficiency. In addition, we need to cut fossil fuel subsidies, eliminate coal from our electricity generation, and counteract misinformation from ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies. We, the public, and our governmental leaders must rely on you and other climate experts for the ongoing best science about how this battle is progressing.

@JeffB

We can’t put off switching to clean energy for 50 years. Climate change is here now and will get worse. We only have about 650 billion tons of CO2 remaining in our carbon budget (to keep warming to < 2 deg C); at our current rate of carbon emissions, that leaves only ~20 years to become carbon neutral. This is a huge global challenge, that we must begin to address now.

Bruce Kay said...

The thing to remember about Carbon Taxation is that it works ....Immediately.

That is what we need - an actual immediate brake applied to GHG production, even if it is not ideal, at least it is immediately acheivable. That is a huge plus.

It would also create a psychological breakthrough in acting on the science, rather than perpetually denying or dithering.

If enough "Conservatives" can be sold on the merit, revenue neutral is a fair compromise - if for no other reason, to get the ball rolling while the hard and long work of massive tech and infrastructure transition occurs.

Just look around. Various carbon taxes are in place world wide and functioning just fine economicaly and at least adequate in slowing GHG. The more this is implemented globally the more efficient it will function. Compared to everything else we need to do, its a no -brainer.

Bruce Kay said...

Mark - that was an interesting post. For sure, NG offers an important potential to transition out of coal. This creates a serious conundrum for typical "environmentalists". On one hand, the usual "localized" hazards of poisoned aquifers or catastrophic pipeline failures demand opposition, yet one has to ignore the benefits of iNG as a cleaner burning fuel in order to be dogmatically entrenched about it. Same goes for nuclear.

This is where I find the "enviro - typicals" to show their irrationality. Inevitably, they circle the wagons around what they can comprehend - short term local ecological issues like whale populations or air polution from flaring stacks. Like everyone, the concept of gradual, almost imperceptible yet relentlessly worsenng global wide effects that trumps everything is too abstract even for those who should be most aware.

Some full on triage is going to have to happen at some point in terms of our choices in energy. First things first however - carbon tax first.

jniles said...

The Federal Record of Decision in the environmental review process for University Link Light Rail documented in 2006 that the construction of the light rail subway line from downtown to Northgate put more carbon into the atmosphere than the carbon emissions that will be reduced as future rail customers park their cars and ride on the trains.

For example, diesel trucks moving tunnel dirt and manufacturing the concrete rings that line the tunnel both generate a lot of carbon.

The explanation and documentation of this troubling, inconvenient conclusion is at http://www.bettertransport.info/pitf/globalwarming.htm .

Since that result came out a decade ago, further evidence has emerged that makes this result even more disturbing, namely, that (1) future cars will be emitting less carbon as the Federal 55 mpg efficiency standards for new cars take hold, and (2) there continues to be zero evidence that the implementation of light rail reduces driving significantly, as documented in the long range transportation plans of the Puget Sound Regional Council.

There are better ways to reduce carbon than building electric trains, for example, pushing for more electric cars and buses.

Sea Vet said...

Various carbon taxes are in place world wide and functioning just fine economicaly and at least adequate in slowing GHG.

The data are in, and it could hardly be any clearer: The global warming predictions were wrong. False patriotism is the Achilles Heel for the right wing, and the Achilles Heel for "progressives" is their belief that they are more intelligent than mere mortals.

In the case of global warming (and other things), the "progressives" simply cannot bear to ever admit that they were wrong. Instead, they pile it higher and deeper.

Jim Little said...

@ Sea Vet

Here's Ted Cruz and Judith Curry piling higher and deeper.

http://grist.org/article/the-truth-about-satellite-measurements-and-global-warming-hint-ted-cruz-has-it-wrong/?utm_source=syndication&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=feedgrist

christine said...

FYI - one relevant thing to point out for Washington and Oregon is that each state only has one coal power plant, and both are set to be phase out by about 2020. These would be Centralia, and the Boardman Oregon biomass/coal plants. Yet, some of the local power companies buy a significant amount of coal powered electricity from Wyoming and Montana (Colstrip) via transmission lines. Wind and hydro are sort of in competition for space on power lines. they always need hydro as a backup because wind is fickle

Sea Vet said...

Grist? Seriously? Those people are some of the worst Kool-Aid drinkers you have. It's truly a sign of desperation when "progressives" start denying the satellite record.

Jim Little said...

@ Sea Vet

This is from Climate Desk collaboration and Yale Climate Communication (linked to from Grist). Watch the video. Here’s the gist, spoon fed:

"It goes to show you the amount of confirmation bias going on in this debate. … These people accept the satellite data completely uncritically, because it tells them what they want to hear.

... You can’t cherry-pick when you start the temperature measurements, and you can’t cherry-pick the data sets themselves ...

... the satellite data are one small part of a vast amount of data that overwhelmingly show our planet is warming up: retreating glaciers, huge amounts of ice melting at both poles, the “death spiral” of Arctic ice every year at the summer minimum over time, earlier annual starts of warm weather and later starts of cold weather, warming oceans, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, more extreme weather, changing weather patterns overall …”

Ted Cruz and Judith Curry were misrepresenting the science or in your words, piling it higher and deeper.

Chris Mc said...

Over the last few years listening to people's opinions on proper earth care. I've noticed that people who will not accept that we have an effect are generally highly religious. The argument can never be won, because in their eyes, their god (s) are all powerful and they have no effect on the world that God gave them..

Any rational mind could easily see that human activity is obviously changing the world..
Trash everywhere
Glaciers & forests dissappearing
All sorts of animal Species going extinct
Ocean dead zones
Pollution everywhere

Whether or not it's causing hot or cold Temps isnt the main concern. The fact is, if we maintain, this planet will not be able to support us in only a few generations. All because of a poor leadership. Capitalisms great, but it's going to kill us all unless we put more value (taxes) on the planet. Heavy polluters need to be forced to clean up. With capitalism that means fines, or taxes. Shouldn't be the people's issue. Giant corps need to be accountable.

Of course this can't happen the way the country is rigged at the momment.

Best option in my opinion, take money out of politics. If they didn't get paid, only already successful, driven people would apply.

Awful how a corporation can buy a party and rely on them to make laws tailored just for them.

Both the left and right, even the middle are a bunch of greedy, short sighted ass holes.

Worst part, at this point they're all so well dug into their positions that nobody can remove them, even a good president.

Imo

Sea Vet said...

Trash everywhere, even if it were true, has nothing to do with global warming. But it really doesn't matter to liberals, does it? In the end, it's not about trash or about global warming. It's about raising taxes.

Forests disappearing? We have more forests now than we did 100 years ago.

Glaciers disappearing? Well, that depends very much on where you are. Some are receding and others aren't. But we've been in a natural warming since the "little ice age" ended in the mid-1800s. Glaciers should be receding, in aggregate. When that reverses, glaciers will advance, in the aggregate.

"Ocean dead zones" and "pollution everywhere" also have nothing to do with global warming.

So, Chris Mc, nothing you've written was actually about global warming. You are one more Seattle "progressive" who wants more taxes, and who wants to tell everyone else what to think, what to say, and how to live.

The answer is simple: "NO. And mind your own business for once."

Chris Mc said...

Sea vet, I would never tell anyone what to think. I wrote what I think, and tried to provide a reason why. I absolutely do not care how you live.

I read cliffs article, read through the comments and decided to share my frustrations about the world and how it currently works.

Taxes suck, especially when the funds generated are poorly managed (toll lanes). However, I do like the idea of using taxes to stop outdated, dirty methods from continuing, just because a large Corp has invested interests in a method, and the math says it saves money to continue, rather than update.

This is just my opinion. Lucky for you (sea vet) I have absolutely no weight in politics. If oneday a like minded person did find a way to change things, I think your future generations would appreciate a clean place to live.