Tuesday Jolt: Bad News Equals Good News for Inslee; Seattle Bus Measure Picks Up Endorsements
The day's winners and losers.
1. Winner: Gov. Jay Inslee
A headline-grabbing scientific report overseen by a broad advisory committee (including, it should be stressed, representatives from Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Monsanto) and released by the White House today, is almost Biblical in its scary assessment of the "escalating" devastation that's in store this century—"torrential" rains, flooding, insect plagues—due to global warming.
The New York Times spins the news as a win for President Obama, who is pushing to limit carbon emissions.
Similarly, we think the report is a political win for Inslee, who just last week released his sweeping proposal to fight global warming, including looking at a cap and trade-style GHG limit and altering how we fund and plan transportation.
Calling "the costs of inaction on climate change" "unacceptable for our state," Inslee released a statement on the news today, reminding people of the climate change agenda he released last week:
"Today's National Climate Assessment release further illustrates the costs that we know climate change is already having on Washington state, and the unacceptable dangers posed by a future without action to reduce carbon pollution. Reduced snowpack threatens essential water resources for communities and agricultural industries in places like the Yakima Valley. Hotter, dryer forests are driving increased and more devastating wildfires in places like Cle Elum and Wenatchee. And ocean acidification threatens our historic shellfish industries and salmon fisheries in places like Shelton and Mason County. And these challenges are increasing.
"Fortunately, we have the knowledge and the tools to rise to this challenge. Washington state is uniquely positioned to lead in reducing carbon pollution, through the development of new clean energy technologies and increasing the energy efficiency of businesses and homes in our state. Last week I outlined a series of actions that our state will take together in the coming months to design a carbon-reduction and clean energy plan that will work best for Washington.
(By the way, another person on the advisory committee that oversaw this troubling National Climate Assessment report is Paul Fleming, the sustainability manager at Seattle Public Utilities. He boasts an impressive bio on the NCA homepage.)
The ominous report includes a section on the Pacific Northwest, which begins: "Changes in the timing of streamflow reduce water supplies for competing demands. Sea level rise, erosion, inundation, risks to infrastructure, and increasing ocean acidity post major threats. Increasing wildfire, insect outbreaks, and tree diseases are causing widespread tree die-off."
2. Loser: Gov. Jay Inslee
We're using Inslee as a proxy here.
Check out the final conclusion of the report.
According to the NYT: "The report pointed out that while the country as a whole still has no comprehensive climate legislation, many states and cities have begun to take steps to limit emissions and to adapt to climatic changes that can no longer be avoided. But the report found that these efforts are inadequate compared with the magnitude of the problems that are coming."
The NYT article also says this:
In recent years, sudden, intense rains have caused extensive damage.For instance, large parts of Nashville were devastated by floods in 2010 after nearly 20 inches of rain fell in two days. Last year, parts of Colorado flooded after getting as much rain in a week as normally falls in a year. This March, a landslide killed dozens after heavy rains in Washington State.
3. Winner: Seattle Bus Initiative
Keep Seattle Moving got some impressive endorsements today.
Speaking of cities taking their own steps.
Keep Seattle Moving, the desperation Seattle-only property tax campaign (they need 20,000 signatures by June 4 to get the measure on the November ballot)—a response to last month's losing King Countywide Prop. 1 measure to prevent deep Metro bus cuts—got some impressive endorsements today.
To date, former mayor Mike McGinn was the only high-profile political name hyping it.
Today, add these names to the list, a crew of Seattle state legislators:
West Seattle Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34); West Seattle Rep. Eileen Cody (D-34th); Ballard-area Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-36); Southeast Seattle Sen. Adam Kline, 37th; Southeast Seattle Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-37th); North Seattle Rep. Jessyn Farrell (D-46); and North Seattle Rep. Gerry Pollet (D-46th).
Rep. Pettigrew said in a press release: "Many of my constituents rely on transit to reduce the cost of gas and parking. That savings can be the difference between a family being able to stay in Seattle or having to move outside of the city."
Perhaps more noteworthy, Shoreline area state Rep. Cindy Ryu (D-32) endorsed the measure today as well. One criticism of the measure—coming from Metro itself—is that a Seattle-only solution undermines the regional logic of the King County agency.
We have a call in to Rep. Ryu.