Video: The Art of Talking Climate Science

Four messaging tips for climate scientists.
Original Sightline Institute graphic, available under our free use policy.

Original Sightline Institute graphic, available under our free use policy.

Communicating science to non-experts in compelling, convincing ways feels more important than ever. But the accepted language of academic reporting as well as the established norms of most scientific fields can set scientists up for trouble.

So, what’s a scientist to do when a news reporter calls or a public speech is coming up?

Here’s a short video outlining four messaging guidelines to avoid the most common pitfalls and to be ready to go with compelling messages. Read more »

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Event: Washington’s Fight Against Coal & Oil

Learn more about Washington's frontline fossil fuel fight.

Join us for a free community forum on the coal and oil industry’s plans to build new dirty energy transport facilities in Washington. This forum will cover Washington’s and Thurston County’s role in holding the Thin Green Line against international fossil fuel trade; explain the costs and consequences of coal and oil transport; and provide opportunities for citizen action.

Event Details

  • Forum: “Running the Risk: Washington’s Fight against Coal Export and Oil Transport”
  • When: Thursday, September 3, 6:30 pm (program

 …  read more »

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Five Things Northwest States Should Know about the Federal Clean Power Plan

Obama puts states on a path to pricing pollution.

Last fall I described how President Obama’s draft federal Clean Power Plan (CPP) gave Oregon and Washington a chance to leap into a clean energy future. The final federal rule is out, and it clears and fortifies the path for states. The CPP is a carbon-pricing powerhouse: it gives Oregon and Washington’s governors authority, even without legislative action, to price carbon pollution and to join other states in a regional or national price on electric power sector pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan is the progeny of the US Supreme Court’s 2007 holding that the Clean Air Act covers greenhouse gas emissions. The Clean Air Act uses a “cooperative federalism” approach; EPA sets goals for each state. It then lets the states write their own implementation plans for reaching their goal. States must submit plans by September 2016 and comply with the final goal by 2030. Last year’s draft plan aimed to cut nationwide power sector emissions about 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, but the final plan estimates it will get down to 32 percent below 2005 levels. While cutting global warming pollution, the CPP will also avoid 90,000 asthma attacks and 3,600 premature deaths. Read more »

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What Montana’s Tongue River Railroad Means for Coal Export

A coal market analysis riddled with factual errors boosts the industry’s export schemes.

A new railroad proposed in Montana offers a sneak preview of what’s to come for the Northwest coal export debate. The news is troubling.

The little-known Tongue River Railroad project would, if approved, build a new line through eastern Montana’s rangeland to allow development of a new export mine for Arch Coal. It has big implications for the proposed coal terminals in Washington: without the railroad and the mine it would support, the already troubled Millennium Bulk Terminals project at Longview may die. On the other hand, an industry-friendly permit review that ignores basic facts and blithely waves away objections would tip the scales in favor of coal.

And that’s exactly what we seem to be seeing in the recent draft analysis of the Tongue River Railroad. Read more »

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Weekend Reading 8/21/15

Why Americans are ashamed, the neoliberalization of higher education, Latino voices on climate change, and more.

3 Possible Outcomes of Governor Inslee’s Carbon Order

A rulemaking could give Washington a head start on action.

What Methanol Means for the Northwest

A look at China’s plans for three big export refineries.

Weekend Reading 8/14/15

Startups to reduce food waste, Tesoro's new oil export plans, fossil fuel money in politics, and more.

The Thin Green Line Is Stopping Coal and Oil in Their Tracks

Northwest communities have won key battles. Can they win the war?