Oregon and Washington State Green Energy Policies Are Burdening Individuals and Businesses While Providing Little Environmental Benefit, Discovery Institute Study Shows

"Washington State's disastrous green policies are raising energy costs, adversely affecting the state's economy and increasing energy poverty, while having no measurable impact on world climate," said economist Jonathan Lesser, author of a new energy study from Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth and Poverty.

The report shows that Washington and Oregon, following the lead of California, have adopted policies designed to eliminate most greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, including things like mandates for 100% zero-emissions electric generation, bans on the sale of internal combustion cars and truck, and prohibitions against using fossil fuels in construction.

The full report, "All Pain, No Gain: The Economic and Social Consequences of Green Energy Policies in the Pacific Northwest," is available on Discovery Institute's Reasonable Energy website. 

According to the Department of Ecology, the state's energy-related carbon-equivalent emissions in 1990 were about 96 million metric tons. By comparison, the Energy Institute's just-published "Statistical Review of World Energy" estimated total world energy-related carbon dioxide emissions at a record-high 34.4 billion metric tons in 2022, an increase of over 300 million metric tons over the previous year.

"In short, Washington's CCA will have no measurable impact on world climate," said Lesser. "A 95 percent reduction in Washington's greenhouse gas emissions represents less than one day of world carbon emissions.  But these policies already are having a real, adverse impact on the two states' economies by raising energy prices, punishing businesses, and pushing more residents into energy poverty."

The report concludes that a better common-sense approach would be to emphasize market-based approaches that eliminate burdensome mandates and subsidies and focus on providing low-cost, reliable energy supplies, especially emissions-free nuclear power.

Jonathan Lesser holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Washington and a B.S. in Mathematics and Economics from the University of New Mexico. He is president of Continental Economics and a senior fellow at Discovery Institute.

Discovery Institute | https://www.discovery.org/