Video: The Northwest’s “Bomb Trains”

Vice News takes an in-depth look at oil trains running through Cascadia.

I’m excited to share this just-released Vice News video piece about the threats of oil trains in the Pacific Northwest: “The Crude Gamble of Oil by Rail: Bomb Trains.”

Spencer Chumbley and Nilo Tabrizy put together a top-notch, comprehensive look at how this dangerous “pipeline on wheels” is already affecting our region, interviewing a broad range of stakeholders and experts, including: Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky of Columbia Riverkeeper; Kenny Stuart, president of the Seattle Fire Fighters Union, Local 27; Barry Cain, president  …  read more »

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There’s Plenty of Room at Hotel California

How Oregon and Washington Could Link to California’s cap-and-trade program.

Pretend you’re the governor of Oregon or Washington, or the head of a key committee in the state legislature in Salem or Olympia. Let’s say you’re convinced: Climate change is real, it’s a huge risk, and we need a fast, smooth transition beyond carbon fuels. Putting a price on carbon is the single best way to nudge the whole economy in that direction.

What do you do? Designing an entire carbon pricing system from scratch… that’s a lot of  …  read more »

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Poll: Are Voters Warming to a Carbon Tax?

Majorities in favor, even Republicans. But it hinges on where the money goes.


The pollsters themselves seemed surprised by new findings that majorities of Americans would support a carbon tax. They start their report saying that “conventional wisdom holds that a carbon tax is a political non-starter.” But they end with the note that “there may be more support for a carbon tax than is commonly believed.”

Indeed, what they found may indicate a narrow political opening.

Support for a carbon tax with no specific dedication of revenue wouldn’t fly. But the big news is that support jumped to 60 percent for a carbon tax with revenues dedicated to funding “research and development for renewable energy programs.” Significantly, 51 percent of the declared Republican respondents said they would support this kind of tax.

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Pacific Rim Coal Prices Continue to Tumble

Coal exporters are seeing red...and red latest price drops.
Newcastle coal futures prices, August 2014 contract.

Newcastle coal futures prices, August 2014 contract.

In case you don’t check the coal futures markets every day, you may have missed the trend: after it looked like international coal prices had bottomed out in late 2013, starting in January they continued their three-year collapse. To understand just how dramatic the decline has been, all you need to do is look at the chart of futures prices for coal at Newcastle, Australia.

If you’re a coal buyer in Korea or Japan, this is good news, because it means that a ton of coal is a lot cheaper than it used to be. But if you’re in the business of selling coal, the price trends have been a financial catastrophe.

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Why Washington State Should Adopt a BC-style Carbon Tax

My personal prescription.

Weekend Reading 7/25/14

A Tesla road trip via GoPro, an alarming industry cover-up, and more.

Coal Exports: Unfair Market Value

By ignoring exports, BLM underprices federal coal.

Oil Train Derails in Seattle

Loaded train off the rails under Magnolia Bridge.

Global Warming and Monster Wildfires

The fingerprints of climate change are all over "monster" wildfire crime scenes.

American Mom and Pops Want Climate Fixes

Poll: American small business owners favor climate action.