Caffeinated News

In yesterday's Fizz, I channelled local environmentalists who were grousing about Gov. Jay Inslee's carbon cap and trade plan; Inslee is proposing a $12 chit per-ton per-year on the state's biggest polluters (factories that emit 25,000 metric tons of GHG per year), gradually ratcheting down the chits from current estimated 94 million metric tons of CO2 until there are only enough chits left for 44 million metric tons total in the statewide system by 2050.

About 130 big polluters will be trading the carbon allowances. 

 The complaint?

$400 million of the expected $1 billion in first biennium carbon allowance revenue will go to Gov. Inslee's concomitant transportation plan which is lopsided in spending on new roads and road maintenance vs. multimodal transit dollars. A bit Sisyphean the environmental critics scoffed.

This morning, let's channel (half-heartedly, though ... because I'm not sure I agree) some other environmentalists.

Sightline, thrilled about Gov. Inslee's proposal, directly addressed the green gotcha in their summary of the governor's proposal by arguing that the seemingly competing policy choices would result in a net loss on carbon.

Sightline's Kristen Eberhard writes:

With driving in Washington flattening out or maybe even declining, building new megaprojects is a big waste of money. I wish the carbon pollution fee did not enable them in any way. That said, the beauty of a hard carbon cap is that highway expansions will not increase greenhouse gas pollution. The cap will see to that. Megaprojects may be ill-conceived and wasteful. They may squander resources better used on other things. But the cap itself will ensure that overall pollution declines. 

The ultimate problem policy makers have to address, though, is land use planning. By continuing to build out—with major roadways—rather than in, with a massive infrastructure reboot, policy makers are fighting a losing battle. 

Isn't it Weird That

I was nudged separately by yet another environmentalist leader this morning, who seemed to fine tune yesterday's initial critique with this snappy (and cynical) text: 

It's true. Raising half-a-million dollars from tunnel contracting companies, the Seattle chamber, the Downtown Seattle Association, and Microsoft, "Let's Move Forward" staved off the anti-tunned effort and saved the day for Bertha, which is stalled and has now delayed the plagued tunnel project until August ... 2017 (nearly two years after it's original Spring 2015 deadline.)


Filed under
Show Comments