CO2 vs. Salmon: Complementary Policies In Wheat Transportation In The Pacific Northwest?

Global climate change is one of the most debated environmental issues of the 21st century. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the principal contributor to climate change. Higher levels of CO2 concentrations are primarily the result of burning of fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal and natural gas. Simultaneously, salmon populations are now being threatened and endangered. One technique to restore the salmon is the potential drawdown of the Snake River in Washington State. But, a paradox arises because this effort may increase the CO2 production by trucks and rail as barge transportation is stopped on the river. This paper uses wheat and barley transportation, the largest user of barge, to examine the impact on energy consumption and associated CO2 production if the river is breached and barge transportation ceases. A GIS-GAMS transportation model examines the pre and post breaching least cost wheat flows for the producer. Significant increases in rail movements are seen, with some increases in truck in a feeder role to the rail. The relative modal energy intensity coefficients affect the energy consumed. Overall results indicate that the paradox continues with breaching causing some increase in CO2 levels, especially for the barley movements (41%) and overall (1.61%), while offering the possibility of some perceived benefit to the endangered salmon stocks.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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