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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Effect of government subsidies for upstream oil infrastructure on U.S. oil production and global CO2 emissions

SEI Working Paper No. 2017-02

Author(s): Erickson, P. ; Down, A. ; Lazarus, M. ; Koplow, D.
Year: 2017

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This paper quantifies the effect of federal and state subsidies on U.S. oil production, focusing on the 800+ fields that have been discovered but not yet developed, and examines the climate implications. At recent oil prices of $50 per barrel, subsidies push nearly half of yet-to-be-developed oil into profitability, potentially increasing U.S. oil production by almost 20 billion barrels over the next few decades. Once burned, this oil would emit 8 billion tonnes of CO2, about 1% of the world's remaining carbon budget to keep warming under 2°C, as envisioned in the Paris Agreement. This would represent a much greater share – perhaps a quarter – of a carbon budget for U.S. oil production alone.
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How would eliminating subsidies to the U.S. oil industry affect potential oil production and CO2 emissions?

SEI policy brief

Author(s): Erickson, P. ; Down, A. ; Lazarus, M. ; Koplow, D.
Year: 2017

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This policy brief, based on an SEI working paper, examines how removing subsidies to U.S. oil producers would affect potential oil production and resulting global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The analysis shows that billions of dollars in federal and state subsidies could enable large amounts of oil and gas production in the U.S. that would not otherwise be economic. At $50 per barrel, roughly the current oil price, nearly half of discovered (but not yet producing) U.S. oil would depend on subsidies to reach minimum returns acceptable to investors.
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Norwegian oil production and keeping global warming `well below 2°C'

SEI Discussion Brief

Author(s): Down, A. ; Erickson, P.
Year: 2017

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy ; Climate Economics

Description:

This discussion brief examines the implications of the Paris Agreement, and Norway’s own pledges under it, for future oil production, considering the break-even cost per barrel of developing different fields.


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Making future U.S. offshore oil leasing more consistent with climate goals

SEI discussion brief

Author(s): Erickson, P. ; Down, A. ; Lazarus, M.
Year: 2016

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This briefing paper examines how U.S. oil production might be phased down to align with the Paris Agreement goals, focusing on offshore drilling in federal waters in particular. The short time scale to phase out fossil fuels requires prompt and ambitious action. It is widely acknowledged that to date, progress in reducing emissions has not been fast enough. Even with recent policies, global CO2 emissions are still expected to rise at least through 2040, and investment in coal, oil and gas production remains high and is expected to hold steady or continue to grow. That disconnect between nations' climate goals and fossil fuel-sector investment has led to questions about whether fossil fuel production needs to be constrained along with consumption. In these last days of the Obama administration, there may be opportunities to use federal leadership to initiate such a transition for oil in addition to coal. Offshore oil is especially relevant in the U.S. because it is the dominant source of oil from federal lands, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has been evaluating its upcoming lease schedule.
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How would phasing out U.S. federal leases for fossil fuel extraction affect CO2 emissions and 2°C goals?

SEI Working Paper No. 2016-02

Author(s): Erickson, P. ; Lazarus, M.
Year: 2016

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This paper examines the implications for U.S. fossil fuel production and global CO2 emissions of ceasing to issue new federal leases for fossil fuel extraction and not renewing existing leases for resources that are not yet producing. Avoiding dangerous climate change will require a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. By some estimates, a phase out of global fossil fuel consumption and production – particularly coal and oil – will need to be nearly complete within 50 years. Given the scale of such a transition, nations may need to consider a broad suite of policy approaches that aim not only to reduce fossil fuel demand – the current focus – but also constrain fossil fuel supply growth.
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