In its recent editorial, “Approach climate change prudently” (Feb. 2, 2020), the Spokesman-Review rightly noted that climate change is real, it requires action from our elected representatives, and such action should be guided by sound economic analysis and the latest science. Unfortunately, their own policy recommendations do not live up to these standards.
For instance, when examining the proposed Clean Fuel Standards (CFS) bill being considered in Olympia (HB1110/SB5412), the editorial claims, without evidence, that Oregon’s CFS program will add 10 cents to gas prices. However, the facts show that this is false. According to Oregon DEQ, their program has had almost no impact on gas prices (1.3 cents). Moreover, a study found that by reducing air pollution, California’s CFS could save $8.3 billion in avoided public health costs because of fewer asthma attacks and hospitalizations, lower rates of lung cancer and heart attacks, and fewer lost workdays.
The editorial also claims, again without any evidence, that “building parts for electric vehicles, especially batteries, generates emissions above those of a regular car” and that an owner would have to drive an EV for “decades” to “recoup the carbon price.” However, the facts show that this is false. According to a comprehensive life cycle analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists, within 6 months an EV has offset its higher production impact and for the rest of its life it is dramatically cleaner than a combustion engine.
If you call for the use of sound economic analysis and the latest science, you should actually take the time to consult the facts.
Brian Henning, Ph.D., Chair, Gonzaga Environmental Studies Department