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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 14, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Gov. Gregoire on climate change

A disingenuous effort at leadership

I read the bullet-ridden special to The Times from Gov. Christine Gregoire about climate change [“Positioning Washington for climate leadership,” Opinion, April 7]. I was surprised that she didn’t take credit for the large reduction in greenhouse gases that has taken place because of our current recession. She also didn’t take credit for the reduction in traffic over the past six months, although some of it is due to the Sonics leaving town.

I felt compelled to respond to her disingenuous letter on climate leadership for three reasons. First, she says, “We’re seeing the devastating results here — two 100-year floods in the past two years.” She can’t prove this. I was in Phoenix in 1980 when they had the first of their two 100-year floods. They didn’t blame it on climate change, but they did come up with some better planning for the future.

Second: “Require coal-fired power plants operating in the state to eliminate emissions of greenhouse gases or be fully carbon neutral by no later than 2025.” I wasn’t the only one who also read The Times’ article in the same paper, “State’s secret deal sparks outcry” [NW Tuesday, April 7]. I scoured this article to see if the governor’s negotiating minions mentioned anything to lower the greenhouse-gas emissions. No mention of carbon-footprint lowering; the negotiations centered on mercury reduction and reducing nitrogen-oxide by using cleaner-burning coal from the Rocky Mountains

I did find out that we only have one coal-fired plant in Washington, a fact that was also not noted in “Move Washington beyond coal” [Opinion, April 10]. This plant is responsible for 17 percent of our state’s energy mix, which we obviously can’t afford to take off the grid.

Third: “President Obama is already working with Congress to develop a national cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases — a most effective and efficient way to reduce harmful emissions.” Notice that she doesn’t say “the most effective” because they haven’t any proof that this method does what she and President Obama imply. We want to believe that the president and the governor would do what’s right for us Americans.

On April 11 in your paper, columnist Froma Harrop wrote, “Cap-and-trade and its variations do amount to a tax” [“Get off the energy roller-coaster,” Opinion]. It was after reading this that I realized the function of the governor’s patter. She is trying to sell us something — the cap-and-trade.

The politicians have created their own Pirates of Penzance. The money raised by the cap-and-trade will be much more than the money raised selling dispensations from the Pope. However, the brokers of these deals stand to make enough money to make the earnings of Bernie Madoff look like small change.

— James Coghlan, Seattle

Comments | More in Cap-and-trade, Environment, Washington Legislature

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