Sucking Wind In Olympia

Today brings yet another in the endless progression of reports on how climate change is now projected to be more severe than originally thought:

Scientists at a climate change summit in Copenhagen said earlier UN estimates were too low and that sea levels could rise by a metre or more by 2100.  The projections did not include the potential impact of polar melting and ice breaking off, they added.  The implications for millions of people would be “severe”, they warned. Ten per cent of the world’s population – about 600 million people – live in low-lying areas.

But apparently our legislators down in Olympia didn’t get the memo.  As reported at Publicola — the go-to source for Oly action  — three climate change-related bills are sucking wind.

Sucking hardest is a bill aptly named “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” a.k.a. SB 5735, which was originally intended to establish a cap and trade system.  But legislators caved to pressure from the business community, and the watered down bill no longer requires a cap.

Next, a bill that simply sucks:  SB 5840 would undue the mandate established by Initiative-937 back in 2006 to achieve 15% renewable power generation by 2020.   Read Jay Inslee’s Seattle Times opinion piece for the skinny.

Lastly, the Transit-Oriented Communities bill, which has already had its density provisions gutted, is reportedly now stalled over objections that the affordable housing requirements are too stringent.

UPDATE:  I shouldn’t have neglected to note the recent passage of two pieces of legislation that violate the spirit, if not the letter of the WA State law mandating a 50% reduction of vehicle miles traveled by 2050.  First, the Senate vote to approve funding for the deep-bore tunnel, and second, the governor’s approval of a federal stimulus spending package that includes $71 million for freeway widening projects.