Author: 3Degrees Staff

At 3Degrees, we make it possible for businesses and their customers to take urgent action on climate change— providing renewable energy and carbon offset solutions to Fortune 500 companies, utilities, universities, green building firms and other organizations that are working to make their operations more sustainable. And as a certified B Corporation and eight-time winner of the EPA Green Power Supplier of the Year award, we’re primed to deliver custom clean power solutions that will help each organization make an environmental impact. Founded in 2007, 3Degrees is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with offices across the United States.

The do’s and don’ts of marketing your renewable energy purchase


For a variety of reasons, companies are increasingly buying renewable energy as a way to reduce their carbon footprint. After making this investment, many companies want to share the news of their environmental commitment with interesting stakeholders including customers, employees, investors, and environmental organizations. Done well this can help a company improve employee and customer satisfaction, garner positive press and enhance their brand value. Done poorly, a company runs the risk of brand damage, accusations of greenwashing, and may be subject to fines if in violation of federal or local regulation.

This white paper shows you how to avoid those pitfalls and provides clear, concise guidance to all organizations that want to accurately communicate their actions to support renewable energy.

Download the white paper to learn:

  • What is an environmental claim?
  • Who regulates market claims around renewable energy?
  • Guidelines for making an accurate claim.
  • Examples of potentially troublesome marketing claims.
  • Common areas of confusion.

The source of this white paper is a webinar series for the EDF Climate Corps fellows.  EDF Climate Corps is a summer fellowship program that embeds trained graduate students inside leading organizations to accelerate clean energy projects. We thank EDF for allowing us to share this content with a wider audience. 

Learn more about renewable energy certificates and power purchase agreements.

Or contact us.

Insights from European sustainability conferences


3Degrees has been spanning the globe in recent weeks to connect with organizations that are at the forefront of sustainability and climate change action.

We attended several conferences across Europe and wanted to share some of our key takeaways and common themes that we have been hearing.

We attended the following conferences:

  • Sustainable Aviation Summit, October 3-5, Geneva
  • Companies vs Climate Change, October 4-6, Brussels
  • Responsible Supply Chain Summit, October 17-18, London

Here is what we heard:

  • Supply chain is seen as the next area of opportunity. At both the Supply Chain Summit (obviously) and at Companies vs Climate Change, there was a clear recognition that Scope 3 (supply chain) emissions are the most challenging to address. While more companies are reporting, training, and auditing, there was a lot of interest in implementing initiatives that achieve measurable results. We have seen this desire for ideas on how to make real progress from both clients and prospects. As a result, we have partnered with CDP, Smithfield Foods, and Akamai on a webinar focused on concrete actions that can be taken today around supply chain emissions. The webinar is October 26, but if you miss it, you can can still get a copy of the recording.  
  • European firms are very focused on Sustainable Development Goals. One of our key takeaways from all of these conferences is how central Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are for European companies – in a way that is not the case for most U.S. based companies as of yet. As a reminder, SDGs are a set of 17 goals, created by the United Nations in 2015, that tackle a range of issues from hunger, to gender inequality, to climate change. Many companies are using these goals as a guidepost for their sustainability strategies. 
  • Carbon offsets are a hot topic. At both the Aviation Summit and Companies vs Climate Change there was a lot of talk about carbon projects. By and large, the companies that were investing in carbon offsets were focused on projects that support communities in the developing world and offer storytelling opportunities. An open question remains on if there will be enough charismatic projects to meet demand when the airline industry carbon offset requirements go in effect (voluntary starting in 2021, required after 2026). This is something that our own carbon markets team is working on as they look to bring more boutique projects into our portfolio.

Overall, across all the conferences, it became clear that European companies are very focused on carbon neutrality (as opposed to just a percent emission reduction) and the opportunities this creates for improvements in their operations and supply chains. This momentum in Europe should drive companies in other parts of the world to become fast followers, learning from their counterparts on how to make material progress on climate change.  

Three key takeaways from VERGE 2017


VERGE 2017 took place last week. As a conference that promotes itself as where “technology meets sustainability” it had a wide mandate with topics ranging from smart infrastructure and circular economy, to connected transportation and mobility, to renewable energy procurement. About half the schedule was dedicated to large plenary presentations, with the balance of the time in multi-track breakout sessions. And many times, it was difficult to decide what breakouts to attend – a good problem to have.

I was fortunate enough to attend the conference, along with several of my colleagues. Not surprisingly, I was most focused on attending sessions related to renewable energy. So, with that in mind, here are a few of my key takeaways from the conference:

  • The market needs education about renewable energy procurement options I saw and heard considerable interest in corporates buying renewable energy – it was one of the most popular sessions I attended. And because the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) was meeting in the days ahead of VERGE, there were many sophisticated companies in the room. But there is a gulf between the handful of market players actively making long term investments in renewable energy and the vast majority that don’t have the necessary load, or balance sheet, or internal knowledge needed to do so. There is clearly opportunity to innovate and educate.
  • It’s very early days in discussions about blockchain technology: The break out sessions on this topic were packed, but the panelists and the audience represented a very wide range of understanding about how and where blockchain technology might be relevant. One panelist stated: “Just because you could use blockchain doesn’t mean you should. Maybe you just need a spreadsheet.” With use cases still far and few between, the key question for now seems to be how to know what you need.
  • We need a positive message about our environmental challenges. Jon Foley, executive director of California Academy of Sciences spoke passionately about the need to change the conversation about climate change. We need to speak about hope not fear; solutions, not problems; collaboration not conflict. To help reframe the conversation, the museum is launch Planet Vision in January. The goal is to paint a clear and optimistic vision about how we can tackle some of the most pressing environmental problems we have including food, water and energy. 

Overall, I left the conference energized and excited to be part of defining what is next at the intersection of technology and sustainability.

I-REC: A renewable energy option in international markets

china at night

In 2015, the World Resources Institute (WRI) unveiled new guidance for Scope 2 emissions accounting within the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard. This update introduced a market-based accounting mechanism that gives companies the opportunity to reduce their Scope 2 emissions through the purchase of renewable energy certificates, PPAs, and other contractual instruments. This provision has driven a new focus on global energy purchasing, with more organizations looking for options across the globe.

Product Profile

The I-REC, an international renewable energy certificate, represents proof that one MWh of electricity was produced from renewable energy sources and added to the grid. It embodies all of the environmental attributes of renewable generation.  The source can be wind, solar, ocean energy, biomass, hydropower, landfill gas, aerothermal, geothermal and landfill gas. 3Degrees only transacts in I-RECs issued in countries authorized by the 2016 International REC Standard and traded on the I-REC international registry. This standard establishes rules and regulations for a transparent system that simplifies claims and eliminates double counting issues, making products compliant with Scope 2 reporting guidelines.

IRECs chart

Regulatory Considerations

In some cases, I-REC has country specific restrictions on technology or other criteria. In addition, individual countries many have their own specific regulations and protocols above and beyond the I-REC standards.

IRECs map

IRECs map in 2017

For more information on renewable energy options across the globe, contact us.

Guarantees of Origin: An option for renewable energy in Europe

europe street

In 2015, the World Resources Institute (WRI) unveiled new guidance for Scope 2 emissions accounting within the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard. This update introduced a market-based accounting mechanism that gives companies the opportunity to reduce their Scope 2 emissions through the purchase of renewable energy certificates, PPAs, etc. This provision has driven a new focus on global energy purchasing, with more organizations looking for options across the globe.  

Product profile

The Guarantee of Origin is a voluntary renewable energy product, currently available within 20 European countries. Similar to a REC in the U.S., a GO represents the environmental attributes (but not the power) associated with renewable energy.

A GO represents one megawatt hour of electricity from a renewable resource. The European Energy Certificate System (EECS) certifies and registers each GO, preventing double counting and identifying the source of the GO and the method of production. GOs , include a wider set of technologies than US RECs do, including hydropower, biomass, and combined heat and power (CHP).

GO certificates are viable for 12 months from the date of issue.   

GOs details


Regulatory considerations

The European voluntary market is well defined with clear norms of transparency and accountability. However, there are some complexities to the market that are important to understand. Although the EECS system creates rules around the creation and transfer of GOs, there are some country specific rules that can impact customers, specifically around project eligibility and GO retirement.

GOs map

Note: As of September 2017, Lithuania and Greece are in the process of applying to participate. Portugal and Britain are in active discussions.

Hydrodec oil recycling

Map showing location of Hydrodec carbon offset project in Canton, Ohio

Hydrodec oil recycling

Industry first: Transformer oil reclamation and recycling project

Transformer oil is used in equipment needed to run the U.S. electric grid. Over time, the oil becomes contaminated, performance degrades and the oil must be replaced. Typically, when this happens, the spent oil is incinerated, creating carbon dioxide and other pollutants such as dioxins.

Hydrodec has developed a process where they re-refine the oil into new, virgin quality oil. The project is the first of its kind, revolutionizing a process that typically creates significant environmental pollution. Re-refining is the EPA’s preferred method of oil recycling because it closes the recycling loop and returns the product to its original condition. Used oil can be re-refined many times, thereby by avoiding both incineration (and associated pollution) and the use of new oil.

The importance of carbon offsets for this project

The emission reductions quantified and verified are from the avoidance of CO2 created by incineration of the waste oil. For every ton of carbon emissions avoided, a carbon offset is created. The sale of the carbon offsets is an important source of revenue because this process costs more than incinerating the oil and buying new. Hydrodec will use the sale of carbon credits to pay for improvements it made to its re-refining plant, to compete against virgin crude refiners and to expand its waste oil collection efforts.

Environmental and social benefits

In addition to the GHG impact the project also provides additional benefits:

+ Reduced demand for new crude oil

+ 67% reduction in energy use in the re-refining process (compared to virgin crude)

+ Reduction in dioxins (highly toxic to humans) that result from incineration

+ Creation of 30 full-time jobs in Canton, Ohio, an area with an unemployment rate 30% above the national average

3Degrees + Carbon Offsets

At 3Degrees, we are committed to bringing high quality carbon offset projects to the market, providing our customers with unique and meaningful projects.

Akamai’s comprehensive approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Akamai wind farm

Akamai Technologies, the world’s largest cloud delivery platform, recently invested in an 80 megawatt wind farm in Texas. This investment (through a PPA) is designed to match the company’s aggregated energy load in Texas with new renewable energy. The project, Seymour Hills Wind Farm, was developed by Infinity Renewables and came online in 2019.

This is the latest chapter in Akamai’s long-term approach to decarbonizing its operations. 3Degrees (originally Origin Climate) has been working with Akamai since 2015 to build and implement a renewable energy strategy.

Laying the foundation

Our first project together laid the foundation when we worked with Akamai to analyze its worldwide energy use. Akamai’s energy use is not large or concentrated, but is rather small and distributed throughout outsourced data centers, beyond its operational control. With Akamai’s challenge in mind, we analyzed several alternatives including tax equity investments, virtual power purchase agreements and long-term renewable attribute purchases. We looked at environmental impacts as well as cost, benefits and risk they might entail. The Akamai team used this analysis to establish a strategy and start to engage company stakeholders.

Setting a greenhouse gas and renewable energy goal

To formalize its strategy and ensure company-wide alignment, Akamai decided to set a formal renewable energy and climate goal. 3Degrees benchmarked more than 30 other companies, calculated baseline performance for key metrics, and projected those into the future, taking into account company growth estimates, the changing grid around the world, and the impact of actions Akamai could take.

In addition to the analytical work, we helped Akamai build the materials needed to educate internal stakeholders. As a result, Akamai’s Board of Directors adopted a goal to power 50% of the company’s global network operations with renewables by 2020, and to achieve an absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the same timeframe.

“The team from 3Degrees has been instrumental in helping us set goals, develop a strategy and implement projects. With its help we have been able to find new ways to invest in renewable energy that meet our business objectives.”

– Dr. Nicola Peill-Moelter, Akamai Senior Director of Environmental Sustainability

Executing the plan with an innovative PPA

With the goal in place, the company was ready to begin executing its plan. Given Akamai’s load distribution and favorable development environment, the Texas power market was selected for its first procurement. 3Degrees worked with the Akamai team to develop the procurement specs and manage the RFI and RFP process, including developer interviews. We reviewed proposals, conducted financial analysis and due diligence, provided a project recommendation and assisted with developer negotiations, accounting policies and other details.

“Only recently have companies like Akamai with small, distributed loads been able to make a meaningful impact on decarbonizing operations that go beyond purchasing unbundled renewable energy credits. We believe this can be a model for others and we’re excited to help lead the way.”

– Jim Benson, Akamai EVP and CFO

In May 2017 Akamai signed a deal to source energy from an 80 megawatt wind project in Texas. The project came online in 2019. Akamai is offsetting the energy use from its Texas cloud services operations, which are largely housed in co-location data centers. The Texas commitment represents about seven percent of Akamai’s global power load. They continue to pursue other initiatives to meet its renewable energy and climate goals.

More on 3Degrees Energy and Climate Consulting

Summer reading: book recommendations

summer reading

To celebrate summer and 3Degrees’ tenth anniversary, we have asked our employees to share some of their favorite books on environmental topics. The response has been incredible, with a wide range of authors and topics. Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing some of the best.

#9. Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change by Andrew T Guzman


Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change, written by Andrew T Guzman, opens with a thorough debunking of the myths that climate change is not a result of human activity – if you had any itching thoughts that climate change wasn’t our fault, you won’t now.

After laying that groundwork, Guzman builds a picture of how, when and why climate change will hit communities. Even with conservative estimates, (i.e. a rise of 2 degrees celsius) the earth’s rising temperatures will result in more frequent storms, flooding, starvation, drought, massive outbreaks of disease, millions of climate refugees and alarming death counts, impacting our world’s poorest communities first. He then layers on the political realities that accompany the tricky business of resource allocation. As resources shrink, it is the richest countries (and the richest people within those countries) that fare the best, which often still result in massive economic loss and human death – think Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005.

Guzman spotlights different areas including Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sub-Saharan Africa – describing consequences resulting from major climate events that will become more extreme over time. The projected impacts of climate change, even with conservative assumptions of temperature increases, leaves the reader contemplating what will happen if temperatures increase above 2 degrees celsius.

So often we hear the conversation around climate change revolve around mountains, trees, lakes and wildlife. When I chose this book, I was looking for a deep dive of the impacts of climate change on people in the US and around the world. While this book largely delivered, I was hoping for more information on how race and skin color impacts the political fight over resources. Overall, while Guzman’s writing style felt repetitive at times and included a copious number of analogies, you will walk away from this book with a deeper understanding of the connection between climate change and the horrific consequences on people and cultures worldwide.


Leslie Wright is an outreach manager at 3Degrees.


#8. Noah’s Garden by Sara Stein

Noah's Garden

I love to read books about gardening.Truth be told, I love reading them even more than I love gardening. Noah’s Garden literally changed my approach to gardening and gave me a new passion – native plants.

Previously, my gardening focus was entirely on the aesthetics. If it had colorful flowers with long bloom times, I was sold. After reading this book I realized (and I know this sounds basic) that what I plant in my garden has a direct impact on the wildlife in my community. So if I plant only exotics, my local wildlife (including the bugs that feed the birds) will have nothing to eat. Stein had the same realization after transforming a large property into a sterile expanse:

“We had planted trees and shrubs whose sterile blooms produced no berries……We didn’t consider, when we cut down a stand of milkweed, how many butterflies it fed.”

Sara Stein makes the switch to native gardening sound rewarding and fun. And it does not have to come at the expense of a beautiful yard. In fact, she suggests that most suburban yards with their expanse of grass, a single tree and a row of hedge against the house suffer from too few plants and too few varieties. Planting more widely, even on small lots can have significant benefits to our local ecology and environment.

To borrow from Michael Pollan’s food maxim of “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”, Stein’s equivalent could be “Plant more. No invasives. Mostly natives.”

If every yard in the country made room for several natives, we would have a good start in preserving habitats for local birds and butterflies along with less charismatic but no less ecologically important species.



Karen Healey is a director of marketing at 3Degrees.


#7. The Big Pivot by Andrew Winston

Increasingly acute resource constraints across society demand corporate sustainability initiatives aren’t simply bolt-ons to strategy, but at the very center of a company’s strategy. This is the central tenant of The Big Pivot. Focused on the goals of long-term profit maximization and increased business resiliency, Winston argues that “the big pivot” in mindset is prioritizing environmental and social challenges and opportunities to treat them as central to business success or failure, not as philanthropy or niche issues.

But Winston goes beyond this. He concedes that traditional corporate goal setting (for example, reducing waste by 30% or buying 50% renewable energy), which decouples economic growth from resource use, is of course good. However, Winston stretches the reader to consider “Zero and Beyond” citing John Elkington’s concept of Zeronauts “a new breed of innovator, determined to drive problems such as carbon, waste, toxics, and property to zero”.  As examples, Winston cites General Motors and Procter & Gamble, which between them have 240 plants today that send no waste to landfills. He cites Alcoa which produces building panels that clean smog. He cites garment companies which upcycle waste plastic into more valuable flip-flops, sneakers, jackets, and fleece vests. Winston argues nature has a brutal way of winnowing out ideas that create waste. He is seeking companies that go beyond the mindset of waste reduction to “close as many loops” as possible and be regenerative in nature, creating net positive social and environmental value, which in turn create economic value.

When we created 3Degrees, we believed asking a company to integrate new practices because it is the “right” thing to do (what we call shame-based sustainability) was quaint, trite, and incapable of creating long-term, enduring, and significant change. On this point and more, we are fully aligned with Winston’s vision – we want to create a society and generation of business leaders who see more value in solving environmental problems than creating them.

As Sir Richard Branson says, “tackling climate change is one of the biggest wealth creation opportunities of our generation.” We certainly see it this way. What do you think?

Dan K


Dan Kalafatas is the co-founder and board chairman of 3Degrees.


#6. Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home by Pope Francis

At only 160 pages, the Pope’s encyclical can be can read in a matter of hours – far less time than you will spend thinking about its truth, what it means to you, and most importantly, what you are going to do about it.

I once felt that climate change was insurmountable, something I could neither personally nor professionally tackle. In 2015 I spent a year in London to complete a Masters in Bioethics and Society, and at the last minute pivoted my dissertation to climate change because of the Pope. Pope Francis was going to tackle climate change! He was going to speak to his 1.2 billion followers across the globe, pull people together and bridge the divide! As an atheist, I was intrigued, I even felt smatterings of hope. He did not disappoint.

His encyclical helped me see climate change far more holistically: “a complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.” His letter helped guide me to my current work.

I know that many will pass over this book thinking:

  1. I’m not Catholic, so it won’t resonate with me.
  2. What more can possibly be said about climate change?
  3. I am already doing my part for the environment, I don’t need to be convinced.

But this book is relevant for all of us because Pope Francis weaves a compelling moral tale uniting ecology, future generations, consumerism, personal responsibility, politics, global business development and hope. He proves how interconnected we are and how inequality and technology are serving to break ties and create emotional distance between humanity and nature. He paints a holistic picture that allows you to see the current landscape in new ways and to be more aware of the impacts of our first world lifestyle. “Our goal is not to amass information…but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.”

I urge you to read it. It will resonate, there is more to be said and there is much we can do.

Kim Fiske


Kim Fiske is the vice president of strategy and corporate development at 3Degrees.


#5. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

The Worst Hard Time is a book is about environmental arrogance and its consequences. Specifically, it is about the dust bowl – how it came to be and how it impacted society and government policy. There aren’t many people left that personally experienced “dusters”, as they were known at the time, but plenty of books have been written the phenomenon. Grapes of Wrath is the classic, and it’s a good story but The Worst Hard Time is quite different because it’s non-fiction interspersed with some short biographical information about people that shared their memories.

Notwithstanding book jacket quotes to the contrary, I didn’t find the book “can’t-put-down-history” but it was full of detailed historical points that were interesting enough to keep me coming back to it. For example, I was surprised to learn that as early as the 1930’s, we concluded human activities were almost entirely responsible for the mammoth dust storms. I personally had thought it was a combination of drought and farming. But apparently the drought was not particularly severe, the problem was how we had treated the land – we removed native grasses that had been holding fairly poor soil in place and in less than a decade brought on dust storms unlike anything ever seen before or since.

The book does a great job explaining how federal and state policies intermingled with and supported a gold rush mentality around wheat production. Fortunes were made, hundreds of towns were born, and the United States became the breadbasket to the world before it all came crashing down.

Tragically, but perhaps not surprisingly, Congress was slow to respond to the crisis, in part because the southern plains were so distant, literally and figuratively for most members. On the day of a key hearing, a particularly bad storm blew dust all the way to Washington D.C. This visible evidence helped compel congress to act.

I selected this book because I think it offers some important lessons that should be applied today as we look at our current environmental challenges.


Adam Capage is the vice president of corporate and government affairs at 3Degrees.


#4. The Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned From Patagonia’s First 40 Years by Yvon Chouinard and Vincent Stanley

The Responsible Company, by Yvon Chouinard (the founder of Patagonia) and his nephew, share the steps (and mis-steps) they have taken in running Patagonia as a responsible company. More importantly, it lays out a path for other companies to become responsible to all of their stakeholders, both financially and sustainably. The “older sibling” of Yvon’s first book Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, this book is a road-map to help employees, employers, and businesses identify environmental and social shortcomings and take steps to becoming a successful triple bottom line company.

I was assigned this book for a class in my MBA program and was immediately drawn in by its accessibility. It is a short read, and for those just wanting to boil it down to the main take-aways, there are checklists at the end of the book on what a company should strive to do for its business health, its workers, its customers, its community, and nature. Suggestions range from paying a living wage, to developing lasting partnerships, to toxics reduction and 30 pages more. These suggestions are given weight by the fact that Patagonia is such a successful and financially sound company.

Chouinard and Stanley argue that we should not just look at how something is produced, but also why we choose to design, produce, and consume some things at all. To defend this stance, Patagonia has taken aggressive steps toward being a post-consumerist company, including asking their customers to buy only what they need and reusing and recycling every product that the company makes.

One of my favorite quotes from the book comes from the author’s’ advice to anyone trying to reduce their environmental impact: “Know your impacts, favor improvement, share what you learn”. I feel fortunate to work at a company that is on this path, teaching other companies about their impacts and sharing our knowledge of emissions reductions strategies.


Julie Kelleher is an associate in our carbon markets group.


#3. Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming Edited by Paul Hawken

There is plenty of reason for concern about the trajectory of global warming trends and recent efforts to pull back United States support for the Paris Accord. But wallowing in despair is far from an empowering (nevermind useful) activity. That’s why I was delighted by this recent book of essays that that creates a blueprint of  practices and technologies that are “commonly available, economically viable, and scientifically viable.”

With its focus on exploring 100 ideas through essays and beautiful photography, the book’s format is incredibly enticing. When the book arrived at my home, it immediately captured the attention of my husband, an executive with a data and analytics company. He started thumbing through the book and asked if he could bring it with us to read on our family weekend getaway.  And yes, he excitedly ploughed through it during our trip.

The book’s ideas span a range of issues including energy, food, land use, transport, and materials. All of the ideas were reviewed by an advisory board that spanned geologists, engineers, agronomists, politicians, writers, climatologists, biologist, economics, financial analysts, architects and activities. The solutions are ranked in term of their potential to avoid or reduce greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. And each of these ideas is explored through a short essay that is thoughtful, informative and inspiring – making the potentially daunting topic of what to do incredibly accessible.

As temperatures rise this summer, consider adding Drawdown to your packing list – whether for an upcoming business trip or vacation. As Paul Hawken noted in the opening, “We see global warming not as an inevitability but as an invitation to build, innovate and effect change, a pathway that awakens creativity, compassion and genius. This is not a liberal agenda, nor is it a conservative one. This is the human agenda.” So with Drawdown in hand, get ready to become part of the human agenda.

Katie Soroye


Katie Soroye is the vice president of marketing at 3Degrees.


#2. The Climate Casino–Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World by William Nordhaus

The Climate Casino is an excellent primer on the roles policy and economics play in our ongoing fight against climate change. Written in clear language that is accessible to beginners but also engaging to those familiar with the subject, this book offers a variety of problems and possible solutions from a scientific, economic, and social-justice perspective. The Climate Casino caught my attention while reading it for an environmental economics course at Oregon State University because it is not one-sided. The author’s solutions encompass policy solutions on both sides of the aisle and inspired me to dig deeper for a big-picture understanding of the causes of climate change, the effects, and the motivations surrounding any potential solutions.

Within this book Nordhaus highlights one important issue that stood out to me as a social justice advocate: “The problem is that those who produce the emissions do not pay for that privilege, and those who are harmed are not compensated.”

Anyone interested in diving deeper into the economic and political risks and solutions surrounding the climate change debate should find this book an interesting and compelling read. Although I did not agree with every idea the author presents, it is good fodder for further thought and understanding of different perspectives including one big take-away: We must work together through a variety of solutions to overcome this problem.


Lydia Fraser is an outreach coordinator in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.



To start us off, we are recommending a classic. Published 55 years ago, this book deserves a place on every environmentalist’s bookshelf.

#1. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Thumbnail image of the book, Silent SpringSilent Spring, which chronicles Rachel Carson’s investigation into the horrors of DDT use as a pesticide in the 1940s and 50s, was one of the first books I read as an undergraduate in Wildlife Science at Virginia Tech. This book grabbed me like no book ever had. Silent Spring made me realize the important role that every individual plays in preserving our land, air and water for future generations. Silent Spring changed the way I think about my role on this planet and was influential in leading me toward the career I have today.

As I revisited the book recently I came across a quote by Rachel Carson made during an interview just prior to her death. I find this just as relevant today as it was fifty years ago:

“Man’s attitude toward nature is today critically important simply because we have now acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature. But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself. [We are] challenged as mankind has never been challenged before to prove our maturity and our mastery, not of nature, but of ourselves.”

If your idea of fun this summer includes wandering aimlessly through the forest or just relaxing in the great outdoors, this is a great book to pack along. It is one of the great environmental success stories (if you get a new copy it includes an epilogue) that provides us with hope as we look to address our next great challenge – climate change.

Photo of Ryan Link


Ryan Link is a director of utility partnerships at 3Degrees.