Research by Region

British Columbia

Infographic: The Thin Green Line

Thin Green Line, by Don Baker, for Sightline Institute

The Pacific Northwest stands at a crossroads of dirty energy exports and hungry Asian markets. We are the thin green line between the two, and our choices together in the coming years not only will determine the health and safety of our local communities, but also will help shape our planet’s future. (Video version available, too!) view graphic »

Peabody Energy, Gateway Pacific, and the Asian Coal Bubble

Coal Prices Gateway Peak to Aug 2013

A new Sightline report shows that the collapse in coal prices jeopardized Peabody Energy’s coal export plans. read more »

Unlocking Home

Three Keys to Affordable Communities

Unlocking Home Cover

Alan Durning takes a hard look at the pinch of expensive urban housing and sees what many others have missed. Hidden in city regulations is a set of simple but powerful barriers to housing for all. These rules criminalize history’s answers to affordable dwellings: the rooming house, the roommate, the in-law apartment, and the backyard cottage. In effect, cities have banned what used to be the bottom end of the private housing market. They’ve made urban quarters expensive and scarce. In Unlocking Home: Three Keys to Affordable Community, Durning details how to revive inexpensive housing in walkable neighborhoods—at no cost to the public—by striking a few lines from municipal law books. read more »

Northwest Fossil Fuel Exports


Across British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington, there are active proposals for seven new or expanded coal terminals, three oil pipelines, and six new natural gas pipelines. The projects are distinct, but they can be denominated in a common currency: the tons of carbon dioxide emitted if the fossil fuels were burned. Taken together, these projects would be capable of delivering enough fuel to release an additional 761 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, equivalent to seven Keystone XL pipelines. The Northwest enjoys a reputation for leadership in clean energy and environmental policy. Yet the new … read more »

Planned Northwest Coal Exports Would Not “Just Go to Canada”

A compilation of the coal industry’s leading thinkers explaining why the industry must have new coal ports in the Pacific Northwest. read more »

Ambre Energy: Caveat Investor

Ambre Energy Revenue, Expenses 2006-12

Would-be coal exporter Ambre Energy faces mounting financial, regulatory and other challenges that make it highly unlikely that the company will deliver on its promises. read more »

Report: Ambre Energy Unlikely to Succeed with U.S. Coal Exporting Plans

Ambre Energy, an Australian company that is currently touting plans for a pair of controversial coal export terminal sites in Washington and Oregon, faces mounting financial, regulatory and other challenges that make it unlikely to deliver on its promises in the U.S., according to a new report for the nonprofit Sightline Institute. read more »

Chart: Natives as a Percentage of Total Population by State

Native Population by State Rank

In North American terms, Cascadia is home to an unusually high concentration of people of Native descent. In fact, Northwest jurisdictions are home to more than three quarters of a million people of Native descent with nearly 200,000 in British Columbia and Washington each. As a share of the population, no state has more Native Americans than Alaska where nearly 20 percent of residents self-identify as all or part Native. Montana ranks 5th nationally while Washington, Oregon, and Idaho occupy the 9th, 10th, and 12th spots, respectively. British Columbia’s population has a very similar profile to its US neighbors. view graphic »

Coal Exports From Canada

Why coal planned for Washington and Oregon ports can't divert to BC.

Virtually all coal exported by Canada is sent 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 proposed ports in Oregon and Washington. read more »

Northwest Ocean Acidification

The hidden costs of fossil fuel pollution

Fishing Boat

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. read more »