Food Policy: A Reply to Dan Farber

Earlier this week on this blog, Dan Farber made the excellent point that although the average American is neither malnourished nor obese, both persist as significant problems revealing deep failures in our food system. But his juxtaposition of statistics regarding obesity with those regarding malnourishment reflects a common misunderstanding of malnourishment, which is often equated with […]

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Solar Tariff Wars Heat Up

commercial-solar-panels1

States that have helped boost rooftop solar installations through so-called net metering policies are beginning to scale back their subsidies under pressure from utilities.   As ClimateWire reported today (here’s the link but it’s behind a paid subscription wall), Hawaii’s largest utility has just proposed rolling back the state’s net metering policy, joining Arizona, California, […]

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Zero Trash

Los Angeles River (LA Times)

Using the Clean Water Act to Control Marine Debris in California

This post is cross-posted on EcoPerspectives, the environmental law and policy blog of the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law. Let’s talk trash. Human-generated stuff that ends up in the ocean, termed “marine debris” or “marine trash,” presents a critical ocean and coastal management challenge. Trash can be found on coastlines and in seawater worldwide, from […]

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Food: Too Much and Too Little

Actual malnutrition among American children (weight more than two standard deviations below normal) is rare in the U.S. Most of the estimates that I found range around 1%. Still, there are roughly 45 million children under 12 in the U.S., so 1% amounts to almost half a million children. Malnutrition seems considerably more common among […]

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Expanding Access To Energy Information To Boost The Clean Technology Sector

Knowledge Is Power Cover

Joint UC Berkeley / UCLA Law Report Released Today

California is poised for a major energy transformation in the coming decades, with Governor Brown pledging to put the state on a path to 50% renewables and 50% less petroleum usage by 2030. Achieving this transformation will require a robust and thriving clean technology sector, including renewable energy and energy storage developers, energy efficiency contractors, […]

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Don’t Know Much ‘Bout Climatology

muppet scientists

Why should we believe the scientists about climate change?  Nobody — not even any individual scientist — understand all the details of the IPCC’s recent 1552 page “summary” of climate science.  So why buy into the idea that tiny amounts of gases from beneficial energy production can cause devastating global harm? Part of the reason […]

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How to Erode Public Confidence in Regulatory Decisions: Meet With Parties Behind Closed Doors

scales of justice

A scandal at the California Public Utilities Commissions brings a questionable practice to light.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has an unusual way of doing business. Most state and federal regulatory agencies prohibit private, closed-door discussions with interested parties about contested matters (ex parte communications). Even though it makes decisions affecting the welfare of Californians and the disposition of billions of dollars, the CPUC does not discourage ex […]

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Killer Coal

coal pollution image

Black lung has been the underlying or contributing cause of death for more than 75,000 coal miners since 1968, according to NIOSH, the federal agency responsible for conducting research on work-related diseases and injuries. Since 1970, the Department of Labor has paid over $44 billion in benefits to miners totally disabled by respiratory diseases (or […]

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Property Rights and California Raisins: Headed to the Supreme Court–Again

Raisins

Justices To Rule on Whether Feds' Depression-Era Agricultural Regulations Unconstitutionally "Take" Farmers' Property Without Compensation

The media and U.S. Supreme Court watchers have understandably focused on the justices’ order yesterday agreeing to review the constitutionality of state same-sex marriage bans–automatically making it the “blockbuster” issue before the Court this Term.  Largely overshadowed by that news was the justices’ contemporaneous decision to revisit the interrelated issues of property rights, the Takings […]

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The Hottest Year (So Far)

climate change

Scientists at NOAA and NASA announced the 2014 was the hottest year since systematic record keeping began in 1880.  This is all the more striking because 2014 wasn’t a strong El Nino year, when you expect especially warm global temperatures. If you leave on the East Coast or in the Midwest, you may not have […]

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