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My "proud blogging" about Portland's efforts to combat global warming has NOT been diminished by the recent revelations about a statistical error, an error, by the way, that was acknowledged by the Office of Sustainable Development long before the Cascade Policy Institute piped up. Portland has still managed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions for four consecutive years.

If the Bush Administration refuses to act, it's up to progressive communities like Portland to lead the way. And I believe that's what Portland has been doing.

It was actually Tribune reporter Jim Redden who was the subject of today's post. I suspect he may have libertarian leanings himself.


I should say that the CPI -tried- to impugn the methodology, but all they did was point out a calculation error that understated the current tonnage, yielding a .77% increase rather than a slight decline. That an essentially static level of pollutive output was achieved despite a 20%+ increase in population, is the primary point. No one has met Kyoto, but I daresay no one's come as close as Portland either.

As for methodology, CPI's sole point appears to be that they only factored in gas purchases in Mulnto Cty, not gas usage. Aside from purchases being the best available objective standard at this time, two points:

1) claiming the figure ignores gas purchased elsewhere but used in Multno, also ignores the balancing phenomenon of gas bought in Multno and used elsewhere

2) as long as both the benchmark and the current figure use the same standard, one would have to prove that something changed in the nature of gas purchases between counties for there to be any distortion. To illustrate the point: say you have a clock that is set at 2pm. Despite the fact that it may actually be 4pm, when the clock says 10pm you can declare that 8 hours have passed and still be right.

What needs to be pointed out is CPI's reasoning in trying to debunk the achievement--environmentalism is bad for business. Rather than admitting in embarassment that the original tally was a bit off, it should be stated clearly that the data very obviously show NO deletrious effect, given the 90s economic boom that happened while pollutive output remained static (and in fact declined per capita).


And I certainly don't see CPI offering up any solutions to the global warming problem, let alone our total dependence on foreign oil. I always thought libertarians were a "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" kind of people. You'd think CPI would be advocating for biofuels legislation, higher mpgs/lower emissions, all of which would decrease the amount of suckling we do on the Saudi oil breast.

Fine, they caught an error, but they've failed to offer up any kind of vision of their own in the meantime.

CPI is just another shill for the Republican party.

ron ledbury

What if gas taxes were not dedicated to building roads?

What if gas was viewed as just a commodity that Oregonians import and as such represents little more than something that should be discouraged so as to keep local dollars local?

Could I argue that the 2 billion dollar public works project to build major roads could net that much in savings to the local economy (i.e., Oregon economy) in gas costs if we instead offered a 1000 dollar check to each person operating a Plug-in Hybrid (below 2000 pounds in gross vehicle weight) rather than an inefficient gas hog? And 2000 for those operating a dinky moped or bicycle instead. The weight thing is to reduce road destruction. The credit program eligibility for each year could be limited to the cost today for covering bond payments to slap some asphalt on the ground, on the ground that it makes economic development sense.

Emissions? Hum. That is just an afterthought rather than a forethought. Is the CPI criticism just criticism for the sake of criticism, just like trumpeting for the sake of trumpeting?

Richard Page

Richard Page response:

I appreciate your feedback to my article. You bring up some good points. I will admit, I'm not sure what we should do about global warming or what the best strategy would be. The point of my research was only to find the answer to one question: “Did Portland actually comply with Kyoto?” When I realized that the answer was “no,” I felt obligated to go public with this information. I don’t see how it benefits anyone to say that Portland has complied with Kyoto when it really has not.

BTW- Not that it makes any difference, but the CPI actually announced the error before the OSD did (contrary to what the first commenter here said).

Also, the CPI is not “just another shill for the Republican party.” As libertarians, by definition, we disagree with at least half of the Republican platform. Calling someone “libertarian conservative” doesn’t really make any sense. You should go with one or the other. In the case of CPI, our website describes that we are “libertarian.” That is, we generally support less government in social, economic, and defense-related issues. Conservatives tend to want more government in social and defense-related issues.

Thanks again for your feedback.



Your points on libertarianism are well taken. It's just that I can't get Grover Norquist out of my mind. And now I can't get Tom Cox out either... the newest member of the Oregon GOP.

Also, when I watched the video clip of Clint Eastwood on the national Libertarian site, I was surprised at how wishy-washy he got when asked about gay marriage and abortion rights. On the other hand, he was quite clear about how he felt about taxes.

There are a lot of issues I support on the Libertarian platform like the legalization of drugs among other things, but all I hear from libertarian spokespeople is "cut taxes, cut taxes, cut taxes."

I never heard a single libertarian in this state stand up for Tom Potter when he requested oversight of his two police officers who were on the FBI's terrorism task force.

I'm just waiting for libertarians to make as big an issue of our civil liberties as they do taxes. Then I might take them a little more seriously.

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