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Climate Comments 2009 Archive

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Share your comments on Washington's efforts to address climate change.

December 2009

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Washington Should Note the Success of the Other Washington

COPENHAGEN - Governor Chris Gregoire made a presentation about the successes of Washington state in building a clean energy economy at an official COP 15 side event hosted by the Pew Center and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development. A packed room listened to how the experience of the Washington out West should provide insight for national policymakers of the Washington in the East.

—  Michael Tubman on Thu, 12/17/2009


 Climate Updates

Terri, I've just finished browsing the latest "Updates" and the adaptation reports and other resources. Clearly, it absolutely necessary that state agencies plan for 'what if' scenarios. But I'm missing two essential planning phases: an assessment of how the overall interdependencies of each component (forests, transportation, biodiversity, agriculture, invasive species, urban water supply, rural water supply, fisheries, will work antagonistically and synergistically; and the overall economic impacts for the state of the "perfect storm" of climate change.

I don't see a conceptual model, of the type developed by Carl Walters and Fritz Hollings, that takes all the variables, shows their interactions, quantifies those that are quantifiable, and leads to the development of numerical models. What I've read in the adaptation reports reads a lot like what they say in Minnesota: "Well, a guy could do this, or a guy could do that." Nowhere did I see (I haven't read every word of every report), "What if precipitation in western Washington decreases 25% and falls mostly as rain in the next 25 years? If forests are drying, being attacked by insects, burning and converting to savannahs and grasslands, how do we cope/adapt? How does this affect all of the components of our ecology and economy, listed above, and lots more?" In other words, I see a piecemeal approach with descriptions of what might happen in each sector, but little discussion of the consequences of an altered environment and economy.

Ecologists like to point out that everything is connected to everything else, like a spiderweb. You shouldn't build reservoirs in eastern Washington if rainfall will decrease. If aquifers aren't recharged what does that bode for irrigated agriculture and residential use? How will exports of agricultural products be affected? What will be the impact of all of that on employment, the tax base, the ability to maintain infrastructures, etc.

Some things are pretty unpredictable, and that is especially true of human behavior in the face of crises. And we seem to only respond to crises. A state financed independent body could conduct analyses based on what we know and present the results, with possible alternative actions, so that people could wrap their minds around the possibilities, and politics and worries about elections were somewhat displaced.

What we definitely need is a holistic approach that looks at all the interconnections and tries to develop a path, or paths, for the state to follow as the environment changes. An action agenda; not just a study of impacts.

— Herb Curl

Comment from public meeting; 30 November 2009

After listening to the presentations and discussion during the public meeting on Monday, I have a question on the method of assembling this climate impacts statement/plan. It will be very easy, particularly with the resource constraints the group must work under, to define discrete issues or places without an effective systemic overview of the relationships between the many disparate elements that need to be considered.

The question that comes to mind for me is whether there is a means of developing a systemic description of climate impacts and adaptations? Can we define systemic adaptations that prevent or mitigate impacts on multiple levels of concern? How does the planning group hope to integrate and relate the information and recommendations developing from the various technical advisory groups? Can a holistic systems approach be used?

Also, I am interested in participating in this process on an advisory group.

Thank you,
Scott Morgan
Sustainability Coordinator, Office of Sustainability, The Evergreen State College

Ecological issues

To whom it may concern,

I would like to bring up a few ecological issues as you are very well aware of, as well as ask you how you are planning to come up with a solution to solve these problems.

Penguins in Antarctica...Many of their colonies are already gone from the western Peninsula region. On Biscoe Island the number has declined from 2,800 to less than 1,000. The reason for this is ice breaking because of the drastic change in climate in that region. As the sea ice breaks apart and drifts, it becomes an obstacle for penguins when they attempt to walk from breeding colonies to the sea for feeding. It also doesn’t let most of them come back to their young to feed them. To consider the fact that the changing weather is affecting krill, an important penguin prey. Every year, penguins along with several kinds of birds, die by tens of thousands in oil spills, fishing nets, get run over near their breeding colonies on land and starve due to commercial overfishing.

What about the campaign started by Sara Palin, where she and her administration completely disregards the well-being of Alaskan national park, by ordering to kill most of the wolves in Alaskan territory? They kill them from a helicopter by flying over them! After her arrangements are brought to life, this would only leave 1-2 wolves per 1,000 square kilometers in the Upper Yukon Wolf Control area, the lowest known wolf population densities in Alaska.

As you can see, this is destroying the natural balance in that region, simply because of the fact that wolves are known to destroy the sick and injured animals, by which they help to maintain the healthy animal population. There hasn’t been a case when wolves would attack humans. If we lose these amazing healers of the natural habitat, we would destroy the nature’s simple way to maintain the healthy wild life population.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s decision to eliminate federal protections for wolves in Idaho, Montana and other area in Oregon, Washington and northern Utah, doesn’t leave much chance for survival for these helpless creatures, not to mention his abandoning the Polar bears and leaving them adrift, whose habitat is melting because of global warming. According to the US Geological Survey, the loss of summer sea ice will lead to the demise of two-thirds of the world’s polar bears by mid-century, including all of Alaska’s polar bears.

Why is Salazar not placing the immediate protection for the bears? The polar bears’ Arctic sea ice habitat is melting away, the arctic seals who are the main prey for the bears, are becoming scarce, and the climate is drastically becoming warmer.

Animals are helpless, they can’t cry for help- we have to figure it out on our own. We are losing the planet as it is, as well as the animals that are an important part of its natural heritage by abusing the sources the planet has provided for us. Is your Environmental Office in power to make a change not only for us, but for many future generations to come? You can enlighten people to be more aware of their surroundings, receive more information on the wild life habitat, reduce production as well as consumption, protect marine areas and understand that if we don’t start being more considerate to our planet today, we may have nothing left tomorrow...

Ghenrietta Libby


I'd like to know why you are spreading false lies about "climate Change"

I'd like to know why you are spreading false lies about "climate Change" It is evident that you people seem to be following Al Gore blindly and are not looking at the other side of the debate of Climate Change. You people also need to stop harassing businesses with your damn fees that are just ridiculous. But seriously, start listening to both sides of the argument on Climate change and then maybe you might have a better understanding on what's happening in Washington AND the world, because I sure as hell am not feeling any "Global Warming" happening.

Tanner Waterbury

Fluorescent lights

First of all, I love your website. Great job. There is one problem I have with the suggested home lighting. I have known since the late 1960's that fluorescent lights are bad for our eyes. I don't believe we should use them just to save money or the carbon footprint when there are better alternatives. I have heard of a light bulb that has UVA and actually is good for you and gives you vitamins. My nephew (41 years old) came from the East coast and told me about them. I would much rather upgrade my lights and pay a little more than get something that is cheaper and helps the environment but hurts me and my family. Fluorescent lights should also be taken out of schools. They make children lethargic and depressed. Let's have a better, healthier, environmentally safe world!

Terry E. Box

It is cynical to use "Greenhouse Gases" as a reason to tax the citizenry.

It is cynical to use "Greenhouse Gases" as a reason to tax the citizenry. If one looks at the actual science, one can see that it is incredibly premature to tag "Greenhouse Gases" as the significant cause of "Climate Change." Our current climate is entirely within the range of normal climate variability.

Senator Carrell has done an excellent job of describing the situation on his website.  There are tens of thousands of scientists, perhaps even the majority of the world's scientists are in agreement with him.

The "consensus" of the IPCC does not exist.

W.P. Wooten


Puget Sound Energy is selling 100% of their green electricity to California!

I would like to express concerns that now Puget Sound Energy has been bought by an Australian company, now they have announced (As reported today in the Olympian) that they are selling basically 100% of their green energy portfolio -- clean energy from Washington State Windmills -- to California. At the same time Governor Christine Gregoire has proposed free allowances under her proposed "Cap and Trade Bill" to allow utilities to continue to pollute CO2 from their coal power plants and from their other fossil fuel plants. This also ties into our legislatures' current efforts to establish the Western Climate Alliance and its regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. It also ties into issues of fairness to PSE customers like myself who have been paying a premium to PSE for "green electricity" in order to support PSE's efforts to install clean energy windmills to provide clean energy to Washington State. And now PSE is selling the environmental credits to that green energy to California, so that California can claim those credits, rather than Washington State. And Washington State is left holding the Coal Powered Bag.

If you look into the federal records at EPA you will find, and I am happy to provide links to, information that shows that Washington State already generates enough non-CO2-emitting electricity in state to meet the needs of 98.7% of its citizens.

However, Washington State also exports about 20% of its electricity to other states -- we are a net exporter of electricity. It turns out that that 20% is almost identically the 20% of the electricity generated in Washington from Coal and other Fossil Fuel Power Plants. But are our utilities like PSE allowing Washington State to keep its clean energy? No, they are selling it to California and selling us the notion that they need to keep running their dirty coal power plants! This in turn interferes with our "Cap and Trade" initiatives before our legislature, and also gives California benefits under the Western Climate Initiative that we should be keeping for Washington State. Getting rid of coal is literally 200X less expensive for Washingtonians than other methods of getting CO2 out of our environment, such as plug-in hybrid cars and light rail.

We need to keep clean electricity in Washington State, not sell it to California! Please act to reserve clean energy generated in Washington State FOR Washington State, so that we can efficiently meet our emerging requirements under the Western Climate Initiative, the governor's Cap and Trade proposals, and under President Obamas' emerging April 2 announcement of CO2 regulation by the EPA!

--Thank You, James Adcock

Revenue neutral

With regard to HB 1819 and SB 5735, the decision to require all proceeds from the auction of allowances be deposited in the state treasury for appropriation by the legislature for other energy related purposes strikes me as a poorly considered revision from an economics standpoint. Most reviewers would agree that the costs of purchasing allowances will result in price increases and to that extent consumers will pay indirectly for the cap and trade program. Most reviewers would agree that the desirability of a cap and trade system is the proven efficiency of emitters' choices and responses under the program, leading to the lowest cost to society for the mandated reduction of emissions.

I can support a revenue neutral program, perhaps something like the Alaska Permanent Fund or perhaps flat rebates to residential power customers. I think adapting the cap and trade program into an indirect tax is a big mistake. While the bill is still in discussion, please get the reactions of Jim McIntire, Dick Conway, and the state team of economic advisors.

--Eleanor Hungate

Cap and trade

I was just reading your cap and trade resolution, and I must ask to stop for a moment and revaluate what you are about to enact. Your measuring the climate by a 150 yrs of weather, out of a 3 or 4 billion year total. That is like trying to judge a persons life why the speed by you at 500 mph. How can you accurately judge or find out who somebody is by this small glance. This is a simple, very simple contrast of how people that claim man is creating global warming. The science is nothing more then a guess, not a factual review of earth's weather by measuring one tenth of one millimeter of length. Again it is just like trying to figure out how many miles is it to Japan from Seattle by just looking at that small measurement. Please, stop and look at the weather objectively, not emotionally. The earth geologically speaking as warmed up and cooled off more dramatically in shorter periods of time. Please look at the facts, educate yourself and the public before starting a costly cap and trade program.


Reducing CO2 is Folly and Will Be a Financial Disaster

I am a 59 year old engineer and have been studying this issue for 5-6 years. It is all nonsense. Even a non-technical person has only to ask three or four simple questions to cut through all the hype:

  1. Has the earth ever been warmer in the recent past (in geological time), and did the Greenland or Antarctic ice caps melt then?
    Answer – YES there were warmer periods, and NO the ice caps die NOT melt.
    1. The Medieval Warm Period – from the years 900 to 1350, a 450 year period when grapes were grown in Scotland and the Vikings established colonies on Greenland, where grain crops were grown, and where they raised sheep and cattle on pastures. Temperatures were 1-2 degrees C warmer than today.
    2. The Roman Optimum Warm Period – about 2500 years ago, which also lasted several hundred years. Temperatures were 2-3 degrees C warmer than now.
    3. The Holocene Optimum – a period lasting over 2000 years from 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. Temperatures were 3-4 degrees C warmer than today.
  2. Have there ever been periods when the CO2 levels were higher than today?
    Answer – YES. In fact, we are in one of only TWO periods in the past 600 millions years, where the CO2 levels were LOW. Most other times, the levels were as much as 5-20 times greater than today.
  3. Does rising CO2 cause the global temperature to increase, or do rising temperatures cause the CO2 levels to rise?
    Answer – Changes in CO2 Levels Always FOLLOW Changes In Temperature.
    1. The Antarctic Vostok ice core samples clearly show that CO2 levels remain high thousands of years after the Earth enters an ice age.
    2. Therefore, CO2 can not be the driver of climate, but a result.
    3. Cold water stores more CO2 than warm water, so as the globe warms up, CO2 is released from the oceans causing an increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. We are still coming out of the “Little Ice Age”, and warming oceans have been releasing stored CO2.
  4. How much of a temperature increase can one expect if the CO2 levels are doubled from present levels?
    Answer – Only About 0.3 Degrees The effect of increasing CO2 levels is logarithmic, that is - a Decreasing incremental effect as the CO2 levels Increase.
  5. What causes changes in global climate?
    Answer – The SUN. This is the one many people have trouble grasping. The combination of the eccentricity of Earth’s orbit around the sun, the axial tilt of the Earth, and the precession of the Earth’s orbit, result in an ice age approximately every 110,000 years, with warm periods only lasting about 12,000 to 15,000 years.
    1. Just examine the Vostok ice cores, which show the temperature and CO2 levels of the Milankovic Cycles, especially the last peak of about 120,000 years ago. The graphs clearly show that as the global climate temperature plunged from its high, the CO2 levels remained high for several thousand years. This is the cause of the long term climate changes.
    2. Shorter time period climate changes are controlled by the sun-spot activity levels, and by the length of the sun-spot cycles. When there are periods of very low sun-spot numbers the earth cools, and when there are periods of high numbers of sun-spots, the temperature increases. The best theory I have seen is that high levels of sun-spots shield the Earth’s atmosphere from some of the cosmic radiation, which reduces the formation of cloud cover, allowing more sunlight to reach the surface of the Earth. Conversely, when there are low numbers of sun-spots, more cosmic radiation reaches the lower atmosphere, helping form more clouds, which reflect more sunlight, resulting in cooler temperatures. See the work of Henrik Svensmark of the Danish National Space Center (DNSC), the DNSC report of 3/2007 by Christiansen, Haigh, and Lundstedt. Also read the article by Dr. Kelvin Kemm, in the 31 Oct 2008 article of Engineering News Online.

Two last questions one might ask –

What are the benefits of increased CO2 levels? Plants love higher levels. Commercial green-houses inject CO2 into the enclosure and raise the levels to 1200 – 1500 parts per million (vs. the 385 ppm we now have).

Why do they do that? There are literally hundreds of University studies which show the plants grow more root mass, more above ground mass, produce more of the “stuff” we grow them for (fruit, grain, wood mass etc.), are more resistant to insects, more resistant to disease, more resistant to drought, and require less water!

Where is the crisis in that?

We need to keep members of the Washington State Legislature informed and accountable.

-- Allen Rogers