Hello, CarbonWA friends: In case you missed it, we released the essential climate change voters’ guide for Washington State! It identifies a number of key races that we need to win for climate action at the state level. Vote, donate, and volunteer because the climate is on the line this election. Don’t believe us? Take a look at the just released IPCC report which projects greater impact and cost of climate change than earlier reports and urges nations to seriously reduce emissions over the next decade.
The Pragmatic Case for 1631
If you’ve been following the Initiative 1631 debate, you’ve probably seen that we endorsed the initiative, but also that some of CarbonWA’s friends and allies are landing on both sides of this one. We’ll level with you: I-1631 isn’t perfect. We liked some of the previous carbon pricing iterations better. But if you are on the fence please read our pragmatic case for why we want you to vote yes: (more…)
A newly released study exploring the impacts of initiative 1631 by the NERA economic consulting group, funded by the No on 1631 coalition, should not be used by lawmakers or voters when evaluating Initiative 1631. Below, a handful of essential issues with the study are explored. Additional technical flaws exist as well, but are not addressed in this analysis.
Betting Against Renewable Energy
A significant unknown facing climate policy advocates and detractors alike is that rate at which cleaner, greener technologies will become affordable and reliable enough for widespread use. Most models address this by modeling multiple scenarios that try to capture this uncertainty.
The NERA study is underpinned by a significantly conservative forecast of future clean energy prices and deployment, produced by the EIA. The EIA is, in general, regarded as a respectable and transparent outlet for energy-related data. However, their future forecasts have come under severe scrutiny as most of their renewable forecasts in recent years have failed to track with actual reality. As one peer reviewed examination of the EIA forecasts put it, “most of EIA’s projections for renewables sharply under-projected generation or capacity.” You can dig into this more here, but a sharply conservative forecast for future renewables growth will skew every result that follows it, and the failure of the NERA study to also present an ‘optimistic’ case, leads to an imbalanced result. Which leads us to our second concern: (more…)
From The Guardian: “The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5 degrees C [2.7 degrees F], beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
“The authors of the landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on Monday say urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to reach the target, which they say is affordable and feasible although it lies at the most ambitious end of the Paris agreement pledge to keep temperatures between 1.5C and 2C.
“‘It’s a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now,’ said Debra Roberts, a co-chair of the working group on impacts. ‘This is the largest clarion bell from the science community and I hope it mobilises people and dents the mood of complacency.’”
The Youth Climate Trial that has meandered through Washington’s court system has stalled for the moment.
The case, pursued by eight young petitioners and supported by attorneys from the Western Environmental Law Center and Our Children’s Trust, asserts that the state is failing to protect young people from climate change impacts, and that young people have a right to a stable climate under the Washington State Constitution and the Public Trust Doctrine. King County Superior Court Judge Michael Scott has dismissed the case as of August 14. However, the plaintiff’s plan to appeal, so we don’t expect this to be the last word on the case. Read more about the legal background and the trajectory of the case: https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/washington
Despite the failure to compel state action, the case holds a number of lessons for climate advocates as we advance policies to reduce carbon emissions. (more…)