Rep. Dan Kristiansen is concerned enough about how much our environmental laws are doing to small businesses. How concerned? Well, concerned enough to pull all context from a stat before putting it into a press release!
Our state has some of the strongest environmental laws on the books. As a result, Washington only produces 3/10ths of 1 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally and ranks second lowest in per capita emissions among seven Western states.
Well, in fairness the second half of that had something approaching context. Still, I’m not sure why we’re only including Western states. If it’s per capita, just do all states. It doesn’t say what those states are. I’d guess it’s the states that touch the Pacific and Idaho and Nevada, but I really don’t know. It also doesn’t cite the source.
But assuming that there are sources, I’m still confused about the first half: 3/10ths of 1 percent. I have some questions. First, is that really the best way to write that? 3 of every 1000 tons of carbon come from Washington might be better. Or 0.3% of world carbon. But beyond semantics, where does that actually place us in the world?
Let’s see. There are 6,971,406 Washingtonians as of 2013 according to the Census. There are about 7,176,032,000 people on Earth right now. So the math is fairly easy,* and we’re a bit under 0.1% of the planet’s population. So if we are producing 0.3% of the world’s carbon pollution, just to get to a place where the average Washingtonian was producing the worldwide average of carbon pollution, we’d have to cut our output by 2/3.
I realize that the comparisons to the rest of the world can be problematic. Our economy is so different from subsistence farming. But, Rep. Kristiansen brought it up to imply that we’ve done enough.
At some point I was going to make fun of the whole press release, but if I got this worked up over a paragraph, I should probably stop now.