The high environmental cost of proposed 2019 climate regulation

As a result of the failure to find a compromise on carbon policy over the last six years, the legislature is now proposing a number of regulatory policies to reduce CO2 emissions. Based on the experience of other states, projections show these policies will be expensive and waste resources that could be used more effectively. Here is a quick look at the cost of three policies advocated by the governor and being considered by the legislature. …

Low-carbon fuel standard

House Bill 1110 would institute a low-carbon fuel standard, like those in California and Oregon, to reduce the carbon-intensity of motor fuels. Oregon’s law is very new, but already prices have jumped to $150/MT CO2. In California, prices are even higher, reaching $190/MT CO2 in January.

A low-carbon fuel standard would cost between 30 and 38 times as much to reduce CO2 as it costs on the market. For every ten dollars it costs drivers, we only get 26 cents of CO2 reduction.

Additionally, the fiscal note for the legislation estimates a cost of $2.5 million to implement the bill in the first biennium. For that amount, Washington could invest in projects that could reduce CO2 emissions by the equivalent of 125,000 cars.

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