Research & Maps

Sightline Institute researches the key sustainability trends that are shaping the future of the Pacific Northwest—and how the Northwest’s citizens and policymakers can help make our region a global model for sustainability. All of our research is available for public use according to our free use policy. For other recent work visit Sightline Daily or the Cascadia Scorecard.

Latest Research

The Dirt on Tesoro

Tesoro is a bad neighbor to Northwest communities.

The oil company Tesoro, a fast-growing Fortune 100 company, has announced plans to build and operate a massive oil shipping facility on the Columbia River in Washington. The Vancouver Energy Distribution Terminal would handle up to 360,000 barrels of crude per day, transferring petroleum from mile-long trains onto oil tankers and other vessels that would ship the oil to refineries in the US and potentially overseas. Many residents of Vancouver, Washington, as well as communities along the rail lines, are unwilling to accept the risks of Tesoro’s proposed project, given a string of oil train derailments and fires across North America. A thorough review of Tesoro’s track record suggests that the community has every reason to be concerned. The company has a demonstrated track record of flouting safety rules, injuring workers, polluting local air, and meddling in politics. read more »

The RGGI Cap Has Been Too High

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

RGGI overestimated the cost of cutting pollution and set the cap too high. That’s an understatement. “Too high” might mean the cap was just a bit lower than actual emissions, only requiring a little emissions trimming. Cleverly, RGGI built a 2012 program review into its design to catch and correct exactly this type of mistake. As a result of this review, RGGI updated its cap, and the new, tightened cap went into effect in 2014 (see steep drop in the red line).

Learn more about the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI—pronounced Reggie) in our blog article, Reggie Recommends, part of the Cashing in Our Carbon series. view graphic »

RGGI Used Most Auction Revenue for Energy Efficiency

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

The programs RGGI invested in during just its first 2.5 years will add $1.6 million in net benefits to RGGI state economies and create 16,000 jobs. If RGGI continues auctioning and investing, it could add over $8 billion in net benefit and add 57,000 job-years of employment by 2020.

Learn more about the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI—pronounced Reggie) in our blog article, Reggie Recommends, part of the Cashing in Our Carbon series. view graphic »

RGGI Slashed Oil- and Coal-fired Electricity

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

Total electricity use in the RGGI states was lower in 2012 than in 2005 and shows a changing fuel mix: coal and petroleum (red and brown) generated one-third of RGGI states’ power in 2005, but only 10 percent in 2012. Natural gas (orange) rose from one-quarter to nearly half.

Learn more about the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI—pronounced Reggie) in our blog article, Reggie Recommends, part of the Cashing in Our Carbon series. view graphic »

Less than a quarter of RGGI CO2 comes from electricity

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

RGGI covers emissions from in-state power plants that are at least 25 megawatts. Electricity emissions are only 22 percent of CO2 emissions in the nine states, compared with the national average of nearly 40 percent. If new EPA rules drive other states to join RGGI, its impact will grow.

Learn more about the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI—pronounced Reggie) in our blog article, Meet Reggie, part of the Cashing in Our Carbon series. view graphic »

North American carbon pricing started with RGGI

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

A map of all RGGI states, as well as other carbon pricing states and province throughout North America. Learn more about the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI—pronounced Reggie) in our blog article, Meet Reggie, part of the Cashing in Our Carbon series. view graphic »

The Northwest’s Pipeline on Rails

Westbound oil train, Essex, MT. Photo credit Roy Luck.

Since 2012, nearly a dozen plans have emerged to ship crude oil by train to Northwest refineries and port terminals. Moving large quantities of oil by rail would be a major change for the Northwest’s energy economy, but so far the proposals have largely escaped notice. Most media accounts to date have presented only a fragmented view of the developments, and government regulators are evaluating the projects largely in isolation from one another. This memo presents the first comprehensive, region-wide review of all the oil-by-rail projects planned or currently operating in the Pacific Northwest. It finds that: In Oregon and … read more »

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 »

Keystone XL vs. Coal Exports

Keystone XL vs Coal Exports, Original Sightline graphic

A look at the carbon dimensions of two climate change disasters in the making: the Keystone XL Pipeline and new coal export terminals in the Northwest. view graphic »

Current Crude Oil-by-Rail Projects

Map_Current Crude Oil-by-Rail Projects_Updated Feb 18, 2014

In Oregon and Washington, 10 refineries and port terminals are planning, building, or already operating oil-by-rail terminals. view graphic »