Clark Williams-Derry

Clark Williams-Derry is research director for the Seattle-based Sightline Institute, a nonprofit sustainability think tank working to promote smart solutions for the Pacific Northwest. He was formerly the webmaster for Grist.

Cities

How is parking like a sandwich?

In parking, as with ham-on-rye, there is no free lunch.

Business & Technology

The coal export bubble

Coal's price collapse spells trouble for terminal investors.

Climate & Energy

Bad news, coal industry: Proposed export terminal is in for a tough review

A planned coal export terminal in Washington state will have to undergo a rigorous study that will consider climate impacts and other potential environmental problems.

Living

Older boomers help shift driving trends into reverse

Because driving rates peak in midlife, the aging of the baby boom generation will lead to a drop in per-capita driving.

Coal vs. The Climate

There’s some good news in BP’s most recent Statistical Review of World Energy: in the US, total greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels fell 1.8% from 2010 to 2011. And in even better news, total US emissions have fallen by more than 7 percent from their 2005 peak. (Note that Barry Saxifrage recently spotted the same trends in data from the International Energy Agency.) But there’s also some really, really bad news. In fact, here’s the most frightening chart I’ve seen in weeks, created by Sightline pal Devin Porter, showing total climate-warming emissions from fossil fuels consumed in the US and China: Just as …

Green Cars

Electric cars: A shopper’s cheat sheet

There are plenty of EV models to choose from these days, which makes for a complicated decision. Here's a table with basic stats on the major electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

Transportation

Passing on gas: Driving rates falling across the board

The decline of U.S. car culture -- among young people and in general -- has serious implications for transportation policy.

Transportation

Highway to hell: More roads = more traffic

Photo: Cyril PlapiedCross-posted from Sightline Daily. Tuesday’s news carries a story that I’ve been expecting for a while: Connecting Washington, a task force convened by Washington’s governor, has called for $21 billion in new transportation investments over the next 10 years. I haven’t seen the recommendations themselves, only the news report. But it looks like the money would get spread around a bit — with some for ferries and some for transit — but from what I can gather, most of the money would be slated for roads. So in the upcoming months, I expect we’ll be hearing a lot …

Cars vs. bulldozers: a look at road construction GHGs

Photo: Joost J. Bakker IJmuidenThis post originally appeared on Sightline Institute’s blog. Here’s an interesting study (not free, unfortunately) by University of Washington engineering professor Stephen Muench, reviewing the literature on the energy and CO2 impacts of road construction. His study looks mostly at the construction phase itself, rather than the use of the road. In a nutshell: Manufacturing roadway materials generates somewhere between 60 and 90 percent of the CO2 emissions associated with road building. Transportation of equipment and materials to the job site accounts for 10 to 30 percent, and construction activities at the job site itself account for …

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