Climate & Energy

Sightline's research on Cascadia's energy system.

Sightline's work on energy and climate encompass a variety of issues and topics, from fair, effective climate policy to energy efficiency. You may also be interested in other recent climate and energy content from Sightline's blog.

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Ocean Acidification in Two Pages (PDF)

As humans emit excessive carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, our oceans become more acidic--causing harm to the basic organisms that make up the ocean's complex marine ecosystem. This backgrounder outlines the problem of ocean acidification in the context of the Pacific Northwest. It includes the impacts happening in the region now as well as steps we can take to fix the problem.
Northwest Ocean Acidification

Every day, oceans do us a huge favor by absorbing about a third of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by human activities. But as we burn more fossil fuels and clear forests, our oceans absorb more and become more acidic. The result is water that's potentially lethal to a large swath of creatures that play a huge role in aquatic ecosystems, the Northwest economy, and our dinner plates.
Coal Export FAQ

Answers to some common questions about economics, health, and pollution with regard to coal exports in the Northwest, including: why care about coal exports and are coal terminals good neighbors?
Peak Gas: NW Gas Consumption Stalled in 1999
Peak Gas: NW Gas Consumption Stalled in 1999

Gasoline consumption in Oregon and Washington increased slightly in 2010, and sales held steady in the first part of 2011. But minor year-to-year fluctuations mask a more important trend: despite steady increases in population, volatile gas prices, and both surges and lulls in the region's economy, gasoline use has remained essentially flat since 1999.
Coal Export: A History of Failure for Western Ports

Communities in Oregon and Washington are weighing the prospect of coal export facilities. Proponents of shipping American coal to Asia argue that coal will bring significant economic benefits to the region. In this research memo, we examine the risks of coal markets, review the history of coal exports on the West Coast, and evaluate the employment dimensions of coal terminals.
Coal Exports From Canada

Virtually all coal exported by Canada is exported from just three ports in British Columbia. Most of it went to Asia, but in recent years very little US coal has been actually been exported through BC ports. Several of the ports are planning to expand their coal capacity, yet even with this additional capacity BC’s existing coal ports could not come close to serving the volumes of Powder River Basin coal planned for Washington’s ports.
The Greenhouse Gas Impact of Exporting Coal from the West Coast

A new white paper by economist and University of Montana professor Tom Power shows proposed coal exports from terminals in Washington State would not only cause China to burn more coal, but set back advances in clean energy and efficiency for 30 to 50 years.
Fact sheet
The Dirt on Coal in Washington State

In the Northwest, coal often feels like someone else's problem. But the truth is coal is big in our region. The two coal-fired power plants in Oregon and Washington are some of the largest polluters in our region, but efforts are underway to transition the region away from this dirty energy source.
Grading Economics Textbooks on Climate Change

Sightline's report reviews 16 of the most popular economics textbooks for the treatment of climate change. Grades came in across the board, but 5 textbooks fell into the "not recommended" category. Only one book received a flat-out F.
What Is Performance Contracting?

Performance contracting is a time-tested tool used by local governments to increase energy efficiency, while guaranteeing energy savings are enough to cover the costs of the project. By tying contractor payments to real energy savings, there's a strong incentive to do projects that yield real results.
Shifting Gears: Despite struggling economy, NW gasoline use ticks up
Shifting Gears: Despite struggling economy, NW gasoline use ticks up

Despite a sputtering economy, Northwest drivers used more gasoline in 2009, reversing a decade-long trend of declining personal gas consumption. British Columbia saw a startling 10 percent increase in per-capita gasoline consumption.
Article by Sightline
Majority Rule

The news went barely noticed a few weeks back: almost every school district in the state of Washington that put a levy or bond measure on the February ballot won voter approval. Despite the worst recession in decades, citizens stood behind their public schools and agreed to tax themselves about $6 billion—more than $900 per resident of the state.
Fact sheet
What Is An Energy Concierge?

Home and business owners looking to make energy efficiency upgrades are often confronted with a jungle of red tape; coordinating between banks, auditors, contractors, and utilities is daunting. An energy concierge program simplifies the process, giving building owners a single point of contact to complete their energy retrofits.
Gaming Cap and Trade Backgrounder (PDF)

Evidence shows manipulation of carbon markets are unlikely.
A Better BETC (PDF)

Sightline's recommendations for improving Oregon's Business Energy Tax Credit include keeping BETC strong, extending the sunset of credits, and building in accountability.
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