Friday Roundup: Trade, ports, and national interest in carbon tax initiative

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

Seattle Times: A little-noticed fact about trade: It’s no longer rising

The growth of trade among nations is among the most consequential and controversial economic developments of recent decades. Yet despite the noisy debates, which have reached new heights during this presidential campaign, it is a little-noticed fact that trade is no longer rising…

The United States is no exception to the broader trend. 

The American Interest: Public Sector Workers to be Automated Away

Next up on the robot kill list are public sector workers: almost 90,000 people stand to lose their jobs in Scotland alone. The Herald:

One in six public sector workers in Scotland will be replaced by a robot or machine within a decade-and-a-half, experts have predicted.

A report for Deloitte estimates that 88,000 jobs will be lost due to ‘automation’, with NHS, care workers and transport staff potentially in the firing line.

The Lens: New Reports: Port Project Delays A Blow To Workers, And Washington Economy

Recent reports from the Washington Maritime Federation (WMF) and Washington Research Council (WRC) emphasize that lengthy permitting processes for proposed fossil fuel transport projects at major Washington ports hurt the state by stalling or killing jobs-rich economic development. Port and labor leaders are voicing similar concerns.

Meanwhile, in public hearings this week in Longview and Vancouver, Washington labor leaders and other supporters urged officials to more quickly green-light one such project, the Millennium Bulk Terminal, to handle exports of cleaner-burning Powder Basin U.S. coal to Asia for electricity to serve rapidly growing consumer markets. Also long delayed while under state review is the proposed Tesoro-Savage crude oil transfer facility at the Port of Vancouver, Washington.

New York Times: Is Coal’s Political Heft Plunging? One State May Be Canary in Mine

American coal producers, suffering under the weight of Obama administration regulations, have sought to export their fuel to Asia, hoping that a new hub of proposed export terminals along a stretch of the Pacific Northwest could serve as their industry’s economic lifeline. Instead, local activists have shot down almost every project, adding a western blockade to what President Obama’s critics have called the “war on coal.”

And on Election Day, this state may go further, with a vote on a first-of-its-kind ballot initiative to tax carbon emissions…Across the country, both advocates and opponents of climate change measures are watching closely to see if the Washington ballot initiative will herald national efforts to fight global warming through higher taxation of fossil fuels.