Oregon’s Carbon Offset Scam

Week after week, the issue of “climate change” dominates state and national public policy discussions. Although the federal government has yet to act on regulating greenhouse gases (GHGs) like carbon dioxide, Oregon already has adopted one of the most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction policies in the world: Oregon declares it will reduce the state’s GHG levels to 10% less than 1990 levels by the year 2020 and 75% less than 1990 levels by 2050. Oregon’s goals, however unrealistic, rely in great part on carbon offsets, defined as any activity that “avoids, sequesters or displaces CO2 emissions.”

Because cap-and-trade programs and other wide-ranging reduction strategies rely heavily on offsets to reduce compliance costs, Cascade Policy Institute audited the leading offset provider in Oregon, the Climate Trust. The report, Money for Nothing: The Illusion of Carbon Offsets, takes a close look into the Climate Trust’s offset portfolio and shows that numerous problems undermine the quality and true effectiveness of the organization’s purpose. The report casts serious doubt upon the entire carbon offset industry and the effectiveness of a cap-and-trade program that relies on carbon offsets.

In 1997, Oregon passed the nation’s first law (House Bill 3283) regulating and attempting to reduce CO2 emissions from base-load natural gas plants, non-base load (peaking) power plants using any type of fossil fuel, and non-energy generating facilities that emit CO2. The law established a permissible emission rate for CO2, almost identical to the “cap” in a cap-and-trade program. This “cap” was set 17% below the cleanest known plant in the country, and it is periodically adjusted to remain 17% below the state-of-the-art plant. Therefore, a regulated facility can never comply with the standard, no matter how emission-efficient the facility’s processes are. When the unattainable standard is not met, the regulated facility is required to offset excess CO2 emissions, which it accomplishes by paying the Climate Trust.

All regulated facilities in Oregon built since 1997 have made payments to the Climate Trust. But once these facilities hand over the offset money, what do they get in return? The answer is not much in terms of reduced atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The Climate Trust’s projects are plagued by numerous problems, such as lack of additionality (i.e., reductions in CO2 would not otherwise occur without the funding provided by the Climate Trust), lack of accountability of funds, inaccurate assumptions, difficulty of verifying and monitoring results, lack of permanence, and leakage issues.

A few discoveries from the audit reveal the absurdity of carbon offsets:

“¢ $106,000 of Climate Trust funds went to the Lummi Indian tribe for an annual Canoe Journey and an Indian college fund called the Northwest Indian College Billie Frank Endowment.

“¢ The Climate Trust claimed CO2 offsets from paying a lumber company to needlessly plant more trees on already mandated stocked land.

“¢ $120,000 of Climate Trust Funds went to start a website intended to motivate people to carpool and thereby reduce emissions. When the website only reached 4% of their goal after 5 years, the rest of the money was spent handing out bicycle helmets and pamphlets about how to get around the city on foot or bicycle.

“¢ The Climate Trust, in collaboration with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, spent $200,000 on CO2 offsets that were already created by preexisting wind farms.

“¢ The Climate Trust overpaid for offsets in numerous projects and essentially cheated regulated facilities out of well over $1.2 million dollars and over 890,000 metric tons of offsets equivalent to taking 178,142 cars off the road for a year.

Even staunch supporters of the carbon offset industry readily admit that the concept of offsetting CO2 is not without flaws. Yet, supporters also assert that through proper quality controls and standards the industry can develop robust offsets that significantly help the environment. But the Climate Trust’s offset portfolio is filled with serious problems that undermine the organization’s purpose.

The Climate Trust’s many failures are just a small taste of what would come with the implementation of a cap-and-trade program. Cap-and-trade programs typically involve a mechanism that allows regulated entities to purchase carbon offsets or emission permits rather than decrease emissions. The Western Climate Initiative (WCI) cap-and-trade program proposed for Oregon has established that regulated entities can use carbon offsets to meet up to 49% of their cap. This means that a large number of the facilities that fall under the WCI cap will be purchasing offsets. If a cap-and-trade program is implemented in Oregon, expect much higher energy costs and a thriving offset industry that does nothing but redistribute money into projects that do little for the environment.


Todd Wynn is the climate change and energy policy analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research center.

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  • Jerry

    I tried to help by not developing some property I own. I tried to lease the land to greenies to keep it undeveloped. Sadly, when asked to actually contribute to helping the earth the greens just walk away.
    I will now clearcut the land and sell the valuable timber, replant, and do the same thing all over again in 25 years.
    And why not?

  • John in Oregon

    Jerry:

    By harvesting your timber land and encapsulation the carbon in durable products you will sequester a large amount of carbon.

    By replanting with youthful vigorous timber you will encapsulate even more.

    Jerry, you should get carbon credits and that will be much more honest than what the green trusters do, in a Canoe

  • Ted K Sucks

    I hope all the Eco-Nazi fools that support this pile of environmental idiocy will enjoy the higher utility rates they will soon be paying. Please tell me eco-nazi fools, what you last actually did for the environment besides launching yet another expensive lawsuit?

    • eco-nazi fool and proud of it

      Oh my aren’t we angry? Let’s see, speaking as only one eco-nazi fool. I have:

      Worked mostly at home the past 13 years
      Use a bicycle and transit or carpool when going into town (most of the time)
      Farm and garden organically (and grow a lot of food)
      Raise our own chickens
      Ate our own sheep (he deserved it, the butt-head)
      Buy other food from local farmers
      Replaced all light bulbs
      Added south windows to home
      Insulated
      Voted democratic
      Pay the extra voluntary green energy charge
      Sell about 1000 native trees from our nursery per year (lots of good carbon storage there)
      Capture, filter, and use rainwater from roof
      Bought new energy efficient appliances
      Raised a kid to be responsible for his actions
      Am willing to pay higher yet utility rates to help reduce CO2 emissions.

      And…have never sued a living soul.

      Did I earn a pass? Or do you still hate me and anyone who thinks and lives like me anyway?

      • anti-nazi

        Hate? No. I feel sorry for deluded people like you. You don’t e even realize that the whole carbon scare is a big lie designed to make Al Gore rich.

        There is no man made global warming.

        Burning carbon based fuels merely returns carbon back to the atmosphere where it was millions of years ago and helps plants grow better.

        Freeing CO2 makes the Earth greener.

        • deluded eco-nazi fool

          Well…you have to hand it to that Al Gore fellow. Smart enough to fool the entire scientific establishment and nearly all the world’s political leaders that increased atmospheric carbon from burning fossil fuels is actually a problem that should be dealt with. And he has made money off the deal. My hemp hat is off to him. You have an awful lot of people to feel sorry for…but then you clearly have a big heart.

          Yes…a greener earth. Especially if Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets melt off. Well…a bluer earth anyway.

          But how did Al do it? We’ll probably never know.

    • David Appell

      It is your shame that you are so insecure and inexpressive regarding your position that you find the need to label your well-meaning opponents “nazis.”

      Let me remind you, the Nazis were terrorists who gassed nearly an entire race of to death, or shot them in the head, and brutally yanked families apart and and then hauled them around in freezing railroad cars like they were cattle.

      Your use of the same term to describe those who want to protect the earth is offensive, ridiculous, and ultimately cowardly.

      No wonder you write anonymously and are afraid to sign your real name.

  • dan

    I always knew carbon offsets were a scam.

    That full report is a little unnerving. I read the entire report front to back and it shows the ridiculousness of these offsets.

    Oregonians have been cheated!

  • Anonymous

    http://www.heartland.org/publications/environment%20climate/article/24739/Global_Cooling_Continues.html

    Global Cooling Continues
    Written By: James M. Taylor
    Publication date: 03/01/2009

    ———————————————

    Continuing a decade-long trend of declining global temperatures, the year 2008 was significantly colder than 2007, and global temperatures for the year were below the average over the past 30 years.

    The global temperature data, reported by NASA satellite-based temperature measurements, refuted predictions 2008 would be one of the warmest on record.

    Data show 2008 ranked 14th coldest of the 30 years measured by NASA satellite instruments since they were first launched in 1979. It was the coldest year since 2000. (See accompanying figure.)

    ******************************************************

    I once saw a Pirus on I-405 with a vanity plate.

    It was a green Prius and the plate read “I care”.

    I cried in envy. 🙂 Yeah,,,

    I supspect eco-nazi fool is as proud.

    However his bike and transit use, growing food, raising chickens & sheep, buying food from local farmers, replacing bulbs, adding
    south windows, paying green charge, selling trees,
    using rainwater, new efficient appliances and willingness to pay more to reduce the CO2 boogeyman is an extreme embellishment if not out right total fabrication.
    I’ve learned these little stories are usually BS.
    I mean he must be living on a farm in the middle of Portland where he can bike and transit around?

    But even so much of it was needlessly wasted time and effort that had to reduce his ability to make a living and spend time with his kid.

    Voted Democrat?

    I find that shocking.

    • proud eco nazi fool

      First, who said anything about Portland? Yes of course…I must have made the whole thing up. No one could possibly live like that.

  • Anonymous

    Enjoy your pride but your efforts to help with the hoax of global warming leaves you a bit weak in the perception and comprehension department.

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/EDBLICKRANT.pdf

  • Rupert in Springfield

    The point is, its perfectly fine to live with rituals like obsessive light bulb changing or bike riding. There is nothing wrong with it and if one thinks it makes a difference, therefore making them feel some importance in their lives, or these sorts of rituals make them feel good, then more power to them.

    Where they go wrong is when they find something that makes them feel good or think they are doing good and then insist others must do the same rituals. Its really no different than the crazed bible thumper on the street corner or the religious police of some countries. Both are convinced they are absolutely right and convinced it is right to force others to live as they do. We even see the same dogmatic approach, insisting they have the one truth, insisting that only those who are heretics disagree or outright denying any disagreement exists at all.

    We saw this before with David Appell’s rants. Constant shifting of the subject, saying anyone who disagreed with AGW was either uninformed or if they were informed were “old” and somehow disqualified on that basis. Its absurd. The only thing more absurd is these fools refusing to recognize the absurdity of their behaviour. But then again, introspection is never a strong suit in any fanatical movement.

    Someone who thinks riding their bike will change the temperature of the world is a silly but harmless person.

    Someone who insists there is no disagreement from anyone else of note with his proposition is both silly and deluded.

    Someone who believes the first two and thinks everyone else should be forced to participate in his beliefs is a is a fanatic.

    • anonymous too

      No Rupert…its called taking responsibility for one’s actions, and preventing others from acting in an irresponsible way that harms others. It’s not about “rituals” or “feeling good.”

      One need not be convinced of “absolute rightness.” One only needs to be convinced enough by the factual evidence to conclude that taking steps to wean ourselves from carbon-based energy is the only wise and responsible course until further, equally convincing, properly vetted information says otherwise.

      Yes…1 person riding a bike is not worth much. Lots of people riding bikes instead of driving themselves around in multi-ton vehicles that get 10 miles to the gallon does and will make a difference.

      Disagreement is perfectly acceptable, and I do not care what you believe or don’t believe. You can believe in Jesus, Yaweh, or the Giant Spaghetti Monster for all I care. I do care how much you and others pollute or don’t pollute…ok? It’s my planet too, and we have to share.

      Signed…Dean

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >No Rupert…its called taking responsibility for one’s actions, and preventing others from acting in an irresponsible way that harms others.

        Oh? Preventing others…? Hmm, how Taliban like of you.

        Well, call a spade a spade. So now you are out to prevent people from acting in ways that don’t conform to your views? Interesting.

        >It’s not about “rituals” or “feeling good.”

        Of course it is, you love the idea that a simple bike ride or switching over to some ugly light bulbs makes you feel like you are actually doing something. You hate the feeling of powerlessness, but don’t want to do anything that would require much real hardship. Changing a light bulb or bike riding is a relatively cost free way to feel superior to others.

        I look at it this way, what kind of nut takes pride in announcing their choice of light bulbs?

        Someone who clearly attaches a weird fetishism to the activity, who thinks its more important than what it is, a lighting choice.

        That’s a ritual if ever there was one, an act of little real significance outside of a devotional purpose.

        Look, get it through your head, you can ride your bike or do your little light changing rituals all you want. I really don’t care what you do in your free time and if these little trinkets make you feel good more power to you. I’m happy for you.

        Its when you try and force this idiocy on me that I start having a big problem.

        You are riding a bike, that’s all. It isn’t taking responsibility for your actions and your riding your bike doesn’t harm me or help me.

        Its just you riding a damn bike.

        Get over yourself.

        >One need not be convinced of “absolute rightness.”

        You sure do if you want to start shoving your idiocy down other peoples throat.

        >equally convincing, properly vetted information says otherwise.

        Well, my equally convincing properly vetted evidence is that the main proponents of AGW, Al Gore and the UN tend to ride around in private jets and live in mansions that suck down energy. Going by that you are very out of step with the most compelling evidence out there i.e. those screaming “fire” don’t exactly ride bikes.

        But hey, they tricked you into riding one!

        >Yes…1 person riding a bike is not worth much.

        Wrong – It’s worth a lot to you. I gives you a feeling of doing something, of purpose. The fact that it doesn’t actually accomplish much of anything is entirely secondary. It is what you need to feel some sort of weird superiority. You care, you are more earnest, more concerned by virtue of performing these rituals. Those that don’t are the non caring, the non informed. That’s why you go on about your transportation and light bulb choices here, ego enhancement.

        So don’t go saying it’s not worth much. It is quite obviously worth a lot to you since you announced it and seem to be incensed by others calling it all a silly ritual. Which it is.

        >Lots of people riding bikes instead of driving themselves around in multi-ton vehicles that get 10 miles to the gallon does and will make a difference.

        A difference in what? You feeling good because you managed to force everyone onto a bike? Are you seriously that shallow?

        Look, just get on your bike and feel good about yourself. I am happy for you that such a simple thing makes you feel significant. If you need to feel more significance, why don’t you go help out at a homeless shelter or something. Don’t try and force your silliness on me, its annoying.

        >Disagreement is perfectly acceptable, and I do not care what you believe or don’t believe

        Of course you do, since you are addressing it.

        >It’s my planet too, and we have to share.

        Fine so start sharing. Please do all of us the courtesy of following your own advice.

        Other people live here too Dean. You dont get to ride around on a bike and all of a sudden get to pass judgement on others because of your means of tranportation.

        Get off your damn high horse and stop insisting that others conform with your belief system. Stop denigrating how others get around.

        Follow your own advice, stop trying to force others so you can feel good. You believe in your damn bike and weird light bulbs and Ill believe in something else.

        Its a bike, not a halo.

        • spam I am

          No…Learn to Read. I said preventing people from actions that harm others. That is not the Taliban. That is basic civics. I said…clearly…in plain English that I don’t care what you believe. I do care about your actions if they damage my and my family’s life support system.

          The light bulb comment was in response to the poster who asked for one “eco-nazi fool” to state what they did for the environment. I did not point to light bulbs, cycling, or anything else as a point of pride or superiority. It was simply a list of what one *eco-nazi fool* has done. And that list is probably what many or most *eco-nazi fools* have done. Most people do these things out of a sense of personal responsibility. You are the one reading motivations into this that do not apply.

          The ritual or fetishism is you…Rupert…making more out of a simple list that responded to another poster than is warranted.

          I do what I do for my own reasons. I don’t need you to tell me what they are. I believe in being responsible. Period. If I did not do the things I listed then you would accuse me of being a hypocrite. Correct?

          What does a homeless shelter have to do with the topic at hand..i.e. carbon off-sets? And you are the one who always accuses me of diversions? Dig yourself man.

          I did not pass judgment, I don’t have a horse, and I don’t care if you or anyone else conforms to “my belief system.” Once again, the issue is evidence. The evidence is that accumulating CO2 is doing harm and that harm will grow worse over time. You or anyone else can disagree with this conclusion, but public policy is about acting in the common interest, not your personal interest (or mine).

          I don’t care about “feeling good.” I care about our collective impact on the climate. Get over yourself.

    • David Appell

      Yes, Rupert, the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming was established about 15 years ago, and the case for it has only gotten stronger since then.

      It is now established fact, with more evidence than the efficacy of many of the medicines you take without even thinking about them.

      Sorry if this disturbs you. But you don’t know what you are talking about. Nearly every august scientific body in the world now concurs with this fact, and compared to them you are frankly just a small drop of irrelevant piss. You simply have nothing useful or educagted to say.

      And, as you clearly must feel deep down, in the last few years the world is quickly moving past people like you and onto steps towards a greener world. Just now the Obama EPA is looking at regulating CO2. This should have been done 20 yrs ago, but better late than never. Of course, old men like you will rail against this forever, as old men always do, until you die and fall off the scene of relevancy. It has always been that way — otherwise we’d still be living in a world of whips and buggies and smokey locomotives.

      Rail away, Rupert. Your argument is weak, and you know it.

  • John in Oregon

    Todd. Excellent work shining light on Oregon climate policy and the operations of the Oregon Climate Trust. We all want to know what Oregon Climate Policy means for the future.

    For Oregonians its only necessary to look south to see our future. Lets go on a short excursion to California.

    Adam Summers notes in the Wall Street Journal “California is facing a historic budget crisis … State lawmakers have been on a spending binge for years and voters have added to the problems by approving massive bond measures and multi-billion-dollar boondoggles like high-speed rail [and Embryonic Stem Cell research] that they cannot afford.”

    When Gov. Gray Davis took office in 1999, the state budget was $75.3 billion. After five years the budget had jumped to $104.2. By fiscal year 2003-04, California was facing a deficit of between $26 billion and $35 billion. A deficit papered over with accounting manipulations, some minor spending control measures and $15 billion in borrowed money, the “economic recovery bonds”.

    After another five years with Gov. Schwarzenegger, California’s spending continued to increase significantly to its present level of $144.5 billion. Today California’s projected budget deficit is expected to balloon to $42 billion in red ink.

    California can’t blame its huge deficit on the recession, tax revenues, the stock market or any other excuse. The State has ignored tough fiscal problems, used accounting gimmicks to shift and hide deficits, and borrowed to pay the bills. In 10 years California spending increased approximately 92 percent, nearly doubling from $75.3 billion to $144.5 billion. California has only itself to blame.

    _Sound familiar?_ It should. One could simply insert Oregon and adjust the numbers and have a fair description of Oregon State Government spending patterns for the last 10 years.

    _Don’t believe it?_ Consider this. When Oregonians had the opportunity to limit state spending increases to a very reasonable population plus inflation growth, what happened? The state political machinery turned out in force to demonize and overturn the measure.

    _What does this have to do with Global Warming_ you ask? Simply this. Oregons economy is the context in which global warming legislation will play out. For good or ill. That context is not good, Oregon is looking at $3,000,000,000.00 in red ink, falling revenues, and rising unemployment.

    Meanwhile politicians seem to have two personalities, one dealing with economic policy the other with regulatory and global warming rules. As though the economy and warming regulations have nothing to do with each other.

    Stephen Moore noted in the Wall Street Journal, California was all smiles when the toughest anti-global-warming regulations of any state were signed into law. “Mr. Schwarzenegger and his green supporters boasted that the regulations would steer California into a prosperous era of green jobs, renewable energy, and technological leadership. Instead, — in anticipation of the new mandates — California has led the nation in job losses.”

    (Seems to me I have heard the phrases, prosperous era of green jobs, renewable energy, and technological leadership somewhere before. Can anyone tell me where?)

    ” [A]s the Golden State prepares to implement this regulatory scheme, employers are howling. It’s become clear to nearly everyone that the plan’s backers have underestimated its negative impact and exaggerated the benefits. The environmental plan was built on the notion that imposing some $23 billion of new taxes and fees on households (through higher electricity bills) and employers will cost the economy nothing” by saving the economy $22 billion. “Almost no one believes that anymore except for the five members of the California Air Resources Board (CARB).”

    The board “voted unanimously in December to stick with the cap-and-trade system despite the recession. CARB justified its go-ahead by issuing what almost all experts agree is a rigged study on the economic impact of the cap-and-trade system. The study concludes that the plan “will not only significantly reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions, but will also *have a net positive effect on California’s economic growth* through 2020.””

    What are the realities of California and Western Climate Initiate studies? Does cap and trade save $11 billion to $22 billion as claimed? The CARB had commissioned five economists from around the country to critique this study. They panned it.

    *Harvard’s Robert Stavins, chairman of the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s economic advisory committee under Bill Clinton:* “None of us knew who the other reviewers were, but we all came up with almost the same conclusion. The report was severely flawed and systematically underestimated costs.”

    *UCLA Prof. Matthew E. Kahn,* criticized the “free lunch” aspect of the report. “The net dollar costs of each of these regulations is likely to be much larger than is reported.”

    *Janet Peace and Liwayway Adkins, of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change:* Because the overall results are highly counter-intuitive and contrary to a wide body of theoretical and empirical work, the current analysis should have done more to explain and justify these results. In particular, it appears that the results are being driven by the net cost (in many cases, net savings) calculations of specific regulatory measures that are inputs to the models … As such, the analysis gives the appearance of justifying the chosen package of regulatory measures rather than evaluating it.

    Mr. Stavins: *If these regulations are a net boon for businesses and the economy, “why would you need to impose regulations like cap and trade?”*

    How is California doing? California’s unemployment rate hit 9.3% in December. The state has the fourth-highest housing foreclosure rate in the nation. California has lost more businesses than any state in recent years. With cap and trade the economic situation didn’t get better.

    These aren’t the only questions being raised about the studies and policies under the umbrella of the Western Climate Initiative.

    Take for example the points noted by Ivan, who is just an ordinary guy, Economist, and Engineer. Ivan saw that the policies assumptions have a substantial impact on the estimated emissions and costs. This analysis incorporates three broad sets of policies across all eight WCI partner jurisdictions in the analysis. What are the assumptions?

    *O* Clean Car Standards, equivalent to California’s will reduce emissions by about 30 Million Tons of CO2 Equivalents.

    *O* Unspecified aggressive programs which reduce total Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) by 2% or about 4 Million Tons of CO2 Equivalents.

    *O* Unspecified aggressive energy efficiency programs that achieve a 1% reduction in the annual rate of electricity and natural gas demand growth to reduce emissions by about 74 Million Tons of CO2 Equivalents.

    The benefits of these assumptions are included as an “economic savings” while the cost of the programs are not counted. But its not just Ivan the engineer that noticed unfounded assumptions used to justify a saving of $11 to $22 billion.

    The AEI-Brookings joint center found in a study “Too Good to Be True?”;
    After looking at the studies the paper evaluated the assertions that California can meet its 2020 target at no net economic cost. The paper questioned whether the opportunities truly exist to substantially reduce emissions at no cost, or whether studies reaching such conclusions may simply severely underestimate costs.

    A Washington Alliance for a Competitive Economy competitiveness brief *”Flaws In Economic Modeling Should Be Corrected Before Legislature Approves Cap-And-Trade”* states;

    “The Western Climate Initiative (WCI) wants us to believe that it will cost us nothing to totally transform the way we use energy. In announcing its plan for a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 11 states and provinces, WCI released the results of an economic modeling exercise intended to allay fears that its plan would result in economic disruption (WCI 2008). But burrowing a little deeper into this analysis reveals that the WCI’s conclusions about the cost of its proposed cap-and trade system are wildly optimistic and are not justified by the incomplete modeling work.”

    Under cap-and-trade a limit is placed on the total amount of carbon that may be emitted. (the cap) The Government distributes allowances (rights to emit one metric ton of CO2) equal to the cap to business, Business are free to buy and sell the allowances (the trade). The price of carbon is set by supply and demand in the allowance market.

    But as Ivan the engineer questions is the system really a cap and no trade policy. Analyzing the Western Climate Initiative’s Ivan found;

    “In the text of the main design recommendations, starting on page 8, we find … a discussion of what to do with these “allowances” that [the state and provincial governments] gets to hand out. Basically, every member will get a certain number of allowances based on some historical data and mathematical formula… These allowances are what is “capped and traded.”

    “So with allowances in hand, the member states like California are then free to distribute them however they please (almost). In section 8.7.1 the WCI requires a minimum of 10% of these allowances be auctioned off competitively. Then in 2020 at least 25% must be auctioned off.

    Wait a minute. So in the “cap and trade” there is still a cap, but only 10% is required to be traded? The rest of those allowances can be handed out like candy to whomever politicians and policy makers like? *(That would be a yes.)*

    So now the question is;

    In the present fragile economic circumstances should we travel into the uncharted waters of Government regulation of energy based on incomplete and optimistic climate policy which relies on untested technology. Its a bet your and your children’s future kind of decision. Would you make the bet?

    • todd

      John,

      Fantastic take on this crazy economic and environmental times we are dealing with.

      “We all want to know what Oregon Climate Policy means for the future.”

      I figured I would chime in and respond to this comment. Mainly seen through the audit on the Climate Trust, we are looking at expensive policies that do little to absolutely nothing for the environment or slowing global warming.

      It is interesting to note that not many Oregonians/legislators are aware that a carbon dioxide cap already exists on many facilities across the state. The 1997 law that established the scheme is faded from many memories…..maybe because it was such an utter failure and a scam.

      The scheme set up a system that never allowed any regulated facility to be able to reach the standards meaning there is no incentive for any regulated facilities to try to reduce emissions.

      The scheme simply set up an additional hidden tax that is passed on to ratepayers and enormous sums of money are pumped into a unmonitored nonprofit that can undertake any little pet project it desires even if it leads to no ‘offset’ in carbon dioxide.

      How has this not hit major news outlets? I am not sure. How do enormous failures and fraud go unnoticed in the state? Maybe because they are percieved on the surface as ‘green’.

      I consider myself quite an environmentalist yet I am continously disappointed with Oregon policy that is more about feeling ‘green’ than actually accomplishing anything with merit.

      • David Appell

        Todd, can we please see a full list of those individuals, foundations, and businesses which are paying for the Cascade Policy Institute’s existence/analysis, with amounts for each?

        Thanks.

      • John in Oregon

        David > *can we please see a full list of those individuals, foundations, and businesses which are paying for the Cascade Policy Institute’s existence/analysis, with amounts for each?*

        That’s a rather crude weapon you are using. Especially for a “journalist”. Your implication of course is that any free enterprise organization must be supported by evil conservative capitalists, and therefor by implication, the work product discredited.

        With that regard I have a couple of thoughts.

        As a “journalist” you have at your disposal a myriad of tools, called the public record. Others before you have done there own research by, for example, tracing the funding of 527s by George Soros via tax filings.

        However, be aware, the task before you is not as simple as tarring with the label “evil Soros”, “evil coal”, “evil oil”, or “evil capitalist”.

        Don’t use implied bias as a weapon. Show it. Potential bias stands on its own and is either demonstrated or not.

        But is that bad? We all know industry or trade associations represent the industry or trade. For example the AOPA. We all know the AOPA represents general aviation pilots and aircraft owners. It’s in their name for god sakes.

        But does the “obvious bias” invalidate either the AOPA safety efforts or their defense of the general aviation industry when politicians deamonize evil business aircraft?

        NO.

        The work product of any group, CPI included, stands on its own. If its in error, incomplete, or otherwise flawed then show it. Showing error is not hard.

        A simple example. Today the President of the United States said that the mortgage crisis created *”families stuck in sub-prime mortgages they can’t afford as a result of skyrocketing interest rates…”*

        HUH? Let me get this straight.

        If a family is a “victim” of a fixed rate sub-prime mortgage then by definition the interest rate can’t change let alone skyrocket.
        And if;
        A family is a “victim” of an adjustable rate sub-prime mortgage then with the Prime rate of 0.25% the adjusted rate is likely to go down or at worst remain between 4% and 5%. Clearly not skyrocketing.

        The statement is demonstrably false.

        David, If you cant show error or flaw in the CPI work product then stop trying to use the “evil business” tactic as a tool to bludgeon opinions or finding of facts that disagree with your own.

        • Spam I am

          John…with due respect, you and other Catalyst posters often complain about bias in the media, or that Al Gore is only using scare tactics to get rich. This shoot the messenger stuff is rampant on this site. It isn’t just David.

          Beyond that, I find your critique of Obama’s statement puzzling at best. It’s a demonstrated fact that we are experiencing a meltdown in housing prices triggered by the rapid rise in foreclosures that started in 2007 as subprime mortgages raised interest rates and took down buyers. Do you think he made all this up?

          Dean I am…still spammed out of the Catalyst.

        • John in Oregon

          Dean, Shoot the messenger?

          David is uniquely situated. Not only is he in possession of quite considerable journalistic skills, he also has an exceptional scientific background and knowledge.

          My challenge to David was that, rather than public questioning of funding which has the appearance of an infantile tactic of “guilt by association” he would be better served by applying his skills to the quality of the work product in question.

          For example I am well aware that the Center for Climate Strategies (CCS), which portrays itself as a technical advisory service organization that does not advocate for specific policies that will affect climate change, is funded by extreme environmental organizations.

          Nevertheless the relevant issue is the pattern of conduct of CCS, the possible misrepresentation or lack thereof, and the quality of their work product. Guilt by association due to funding sources is irrelevant absent fraudulent behavior.

          As to the fallacious claims of skyrocketing sub-prime interest rates. Please demonstrate such actual skyrocketing rates.

          As you know I have been saying for some time the spending spree would result in future inflation. Those now in position of low interest ARMs would be well advised to convert to fixed rate mortgagees before rates rise. Those same people are ineligible for assistance.

          By the way do you recall some weeks ago when I mentioned the DOW responded to the stimulus spending bill and TARP II by falling below the $8,000 bottom? Well today the DOW is at $7,373 headed for the next bottom between $6,700 and $7,000.

  • Anonymous

    There is absolutely no reason for anyone to waste their time providing David asks for.

    While he himself fails to deliver what is asked he has been provided material time and time again only to later pretend he has not seen it.

    He doesn’t read to keep up on the issue and repeatedly lies about the IPCC/AGW case as he did above.
    He denies and misrepresents the contradicting science and misleads people about the extensive global scientific community that rejests AGW.

    His claim that AGW is only getting stonger is a blatant lie period.

    Reject David and dean. They are political activists spewing propganda to advance the left wing agenda we see with various officials and agencies here in Oregon.

    To see updated, and very interesting current events that are eroding the AGW case visit these sites.

    http://www.icecap.us
    http://www.wattsupwiththat.com
    http://www.climateaudit.org

    • spam i am

      And there…right on cue is our favorite shoot the messenger non-person.

      Dean I am

  • John in Oregon

    Todd I know what you mean about being disappointed with effectiveness of Oregon environmental policy.

    Going back to the 1960s Governor Tom McCall championed the cleanup of the Willamette. Most of the actual Willamette cleanup was done voluntarily with the help of McCall’s bully pulpit as a Journalist and Governor.

    In the 40 years after the early cleanup activity my perception is very little cleanup happened while lots of government money was spent and lots of rules written. It wouldn’t surprise me to find that Government is the largest polluter of the river today.

    I agree with your observation that the 1997 carbon cap having been forgotten. I think an honest assessment would be that even SB 838 (2007) has already faded from memory.

    Ignoring the green power issues of SB 838, this law requires that in 18 years (by 2025) one quarter of all electric power come from newly constructed generating capacity.

    Now lets add some context to that nearly forgotten law. In 2007 when SB 838 was passed the existing generating capacity had taken 70 years to construct. Bonneville opened in 1937.

    So 838 requires that we replace in 18 years 25 percent of what took 70 years to build. But the situation is actually worse than that.

    In the 20 years prior to 2007 virtually no new capacity had been built. One percent wind doesn’t add much. So for the last 15 to 20 years we have been slowly using up the reserve capacity of the system off set by gains in efficiency. But efficiency is limited by the law of diminishing returns, it can never be better than 100%. And we have used up the easy efficiencies already.

    In theory its possible to go from 1% new construction to 25% new construction in 18 years. Is there any indication of the urgency required to make that possible? Not when SB 838 is already forgotten.

    Which brings us to a key question > *How has this not hit major news outlets? I am not sure. How do enormous failures and fraud go unnoticed in the state?*

    That is a complicated answer. It can’t be laid only at the feet of bias, and media bias clearly exists. Let me take a stab at part of the problem by recounting some coverage I saw a while back.

    JetBlue flight 292 with a jammed nose wheel was making an emergency landing at LAX. As the aircraft dumped fuel the network and local anchors talked about the pilots and tower being on the phone with the Airbus emergency team. They speculated about foaming the runway, could the problem be corrected in the air.

    Then the camera followed the aircraft as it made its emergency landing approach. Lower and closer the camera holding the aircraft in frame. Then the runway came into view as the flight approached. And then we heard the following screech from the local TV anchor.

    WHAT!!! THEY DIDN’T FOAM THE RUNWAY. I WON’T STAND FOR THIS. SOMEBODY IS GOING TO ANSWER FOR THIS.

    This came from a news anchor that wouldn’t know an aileron from an aneurysm. Much of today’s news is reported by journalists who have zero competency in the subject being reported. But worse as the anchor demonstrated, they also think they are the authority on the subject.

    That is just part of the problem. A different example.

    Multnomah County is asking for authority to toll Willamette river bridges. The Oregonian carried it as one line in a back pages story. It was just a housekeeping thing.

    Did the Oregonian hide the story? Is that bias? Its more likely the O just doesn’t understand this might be of interest to its readers.

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