Project Report:
Fossil Fuel Risk Bonds - From Vision to Reality
- Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
- Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.


As a result of Walker Foundation’s sustained investment in CSE’s Fossil Fuel Risk Bond (FFRB) program we have three separate rulemaking processes underway in Oregon and Washington to implement the policy concept on the ground. The first involves protecting frontline communities living near Portland’s Critical Energy Infrastructure Hub from catastrophic explosions and massive oil spills likely to occur in the event of a worst-case earthquake disaster. The second involves strengthening financial assurance rules that have been on the books but never enforced for oil tankers and oil facilities along Puget Sound. The third is seeing King County Washington’s adoption of the FFRB concept to the finish line through an ordinance fully protecting taxpayers from the risks and costs of fossil fuel infrastructure, including its eventual abandonment. Our request in 2023 is to concentrate efforts on these three processes and, in the meantime, build a replicable model for counties across the nation.


In 2016 Center for Sustainable Economy proposed a commonsense solution for addressing the market failures associated with fossil fuel infrastructure – fossil fuel risk bond (FFRB) programs. Climate change is one, a market failure of breathtaking proportions. Add to that the market failures associated with fossil fuel infrastructure itself – the vast network of coal mines, oil and gas wells, pipelines, refineries, oil trains, LNG trains and fossil fuel export terminals that cause expensive physical damages to land, air, water and frontline communities. Air pollution and climate change caused by fossil fuels generate externalized damages of $2.2 – $5.9 trillion per year in the US, and by 2100, the Network for Greening The Financial System predicts a hit in the order of 3 – 10% of GDP each year. Fossil fuel risk bond programs are tools that regulators can use to begin to address these staggering externalized costs.


The focus of our work in 2023 will be in Oregon and Washington, where we have successfully initiated rulemaking processes to adopt all or portions of the fossil fuel risk bond proposal in relation to oil tankers and onshore oil facilities in Washington, fossil fuel facilities in King County, and fossil fuel facilities in Portland’s Critical Energy Infrastructure Hub. However, we also intend to facilitate the spread of FFRB policies at the national level via work on model federal legislation and though publication and dissemination of a guide for counties to use to initiate the FFRB process anywhere in the US where fossil fuel facilities are concentrated.

Amount Approved
$30,000.00 on 6/8/2023 (Check sent: 6/21/2023)

1016 Madison Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368

(360) 344-2080
(510) 384-5724
(360) 344-2080


Dr. John Talberth
President and Senior Economist, Center for Sustainable Economy

Posted 3/20/2023 4:04 PM
Updated   6/21/2023 5:22 PM

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