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.

Climate & Energy

What’s right with the WCI?

Last week, my colleague Eric de Place dinged the Western Climate Initiative -- an effort by Western states and provinces to develop a carbon market with a strict, declining cap -- for kicking the can down the road on transportation …

Driving in circles

A fun traffic simulator and lessons learned

Via Brad Plumer: a traffic jam in in a bottle. To me, it's pretty remarkable how closely the real-world experiment above matches up with this java-based computer traffic simulator. Warning: if you click the last link, and you're at all …

Climate & Energy

Cuteness saves the climate

I thought this was clever -- a Cliff Notes version of climate-friendly lifestyle choices. Click the image for the full-sized version.

Business & Technology

Can we trust carbon labeling?

About a year ago, I was cautiously bullish on British supermarket giant Tesco's pledge to start putting carbon labels on its food. But I think that their progress so far -- which I'll get to in a minute -- suggests …

Climate & Energy

A timeline of changes in automotive fuel economy

This should be perfectly obvious, but automotive technologies have changed an awful lot over the last few decades. From about 1975 through 1987, federal standards prompted massive and surprisingly rapid improvements in fuel economy. Cars designers focused on nimbleness and …


Organic food reduces organophosphate exposure in children

By now, I think most people understand that organic food is supposed to be healthier for you. But I think there are still some people who feel that the health benefits are a just a bunch of marketing hype. Well, …

Climate & Energy

More on cap-and-trade systems

Here's a clear demonstration of why, in a cap-and-trade system, grandfathering emissions rights to historic polluters is a terrible idea: The UK's biggest polluters will reap a windfall of at least £6bn from rising power prices and the soaring value …

Climate & Energy

How much global warming results from air travel?

Over the past few days, I’ve been trying to pull together some data on how airplane travel affects global warming, as part of a broader project on transportation and climate change. My stunningly obvious conclusion: it’s complicated. Worse, different calculation …

Toxics cause cancer

Pollution’s effects linger, long after compounds are banned

A new study by researchers at a British Columbia cancer agency stands as a stark reminder that, when it comes to pollution, an ounce of pollution prevention is worth a pound of cure: Researchers found people with the highest levels …