Peter Erickson

Senior Scientist


Seattle, WA
pete.erickson@sei-us.org
skype: pugetgold
+1 (206) 547-4000 x3#

Peter is a Staff Scientist in the Climate and Energy program in SEI's Seattle office. His research focuses on climate change policy, with particular interests in the role of offsets in cap-and-trade programs, contribution of consumption and behavior change to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, industrial policy, and cities.

Current or recent projects include the development of a greenhouse gas tracking framework for a major U.S. metropolitan area (Seattle); a study on the quality and quantity of potential greenhouse gas offsets in the United States; a study on the role of international offsets in global climate mitigation; and a long-term emission reduction scenario for sustainable consumption and production in the United States.

Peter joined SEI in 2008 after 8 years consulting on environmental issues for cities and states throughout the United States. He received a B.A. from Carleton College in 1998, with a major in geology and extensive studies in mathematics.


Recent Publications by Peter Erickson

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What cities do best: Piecing together an efficient global climate governance

SEI Working Paper No. 2015-15

Author(s): Broekhoff, D. ; Erickson, P. ; Lee, C.M.
Year: 2015

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This working paper examines the ideal role of city governments under a vertically integrated climate governance system designed to maximize urban mitigation potential. Action by city governments is essential for achieving deep reductions in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While many cities are already engaged in pioneering efforts to achieve such reductions, greater support from national governments could help realize urban mitigation potential more fully, quickly, and cost effectively. With greater policy coordination, cities could focus on roles and actions for which they are highly capable and best positioned.
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What cities do best: How to maximize the role of cities in a low-carbon future

SEI and Bloomberg Philanthropies briefing note

Author(s): Broekhoff, D. ; Erickson, P. ; Lee, C.M.
Year: 2015

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This briefing note summarizes an SEI analysis of the GHG abatement potential in cities in a "vertically integrated" system involving close collaboration with higher levels of government. Action by city governments is essential for achieving deep reductions in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Previous research has shown that cities – using policy levers already at their disposal – could reduce annual GHG emissions by up to 3.7 gigatonnes (Gt) CO2e in 2030, and up to 8 Gt CO2e in 2050. Many cities are already engaged in pioneering efforts to achieve these reductions. Greater support from national governments could help realize this potential more fully, quickly, and cost effectively.
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Supply-side climate policy: the road less taken

SEI Working Paper No. 2015-13

Author(s): Lazarus, M. ; Erickson, P. ; Tempest, K.
Year: 2015

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This paper explains the concept of supply-side climate policy, examines why these options have not been widely used to date, and provides a framework for assessing their effectiveness. It provides a typology of supply-side policies and frameworks for assessing their effectiveness, efficiency, and feasibility. It finds that supply-side policies, such as removal of producer subsidies, compensation of resource owners for leaving fuels "unburned", or outright restrictions on resource development, could bring important benefits. Such policies could allow for greater emission reductions at the same (or lower) cost than demand-side policies alone. They could also help to reduce carbon lock-in effects, making it easier for lower-carbon alternatives to compete with fossil fuels.
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Carbon lock-in from fossil fuel supply infrastructure

SEI discussion brief

Author(s): Erickson, P. ; Lazarus, M. ; Tempest, K.
Year: 2015

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: A transition to a low-carbon economy is essential to ensuring a safer climate, but it will not be easy, as the world continues to rely heavily on an abundant and growing supply of fossil fuels. A key concern with ongoing investments in fossil fuel supply and the technologies that use these fuels is "carbon lock-in" – that, once certain carbon-intensive investments are made, and development pathways are chosen, fossil fuel dependence and associated carbon emissions will be "locked in", making it more difficult to move to lower-carbon pathways. The authors propose a two-step approach to gauging the relative lock-in risks of investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction.
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Keeping cities green: Avoiding carbon lock-in due to urban development

SEI Working Paper No. 2015-11

Author(s): Erickson, P. ; Tempest, K.
Year: 2015

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: Cities around the world are emerging as leaders in the fight against climate change, embracing low-carbon transport, high-efficiency buildings, renewable energy and other strategies to reduce emissions while building more vibrant urban communities. At the same time, urban areas are growing astoundingly fast: 1.4 million new urban dwellers each week, and with corresponding demands for energy, goods, and services. Therefore, how our cities are built is a critical factor in the intensity of urban energy use. This paper examines carbon "lock-in" risks from an urban planning perspective, comparing two scenarios of urban development over the next 15 years to gauge the emissions implications of different choices.
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