Hail to the Chief: John Roberts and the WOTUS Rule

Roberts virtually bemoaned the lack of a rulemaking. Now he's got what he wanted.

The government issued a long-awaited Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS for short).  No doubt there will be much gnashing of teeth about the issuance of the rule — a very safe bet since the gnashers of teeth got going long before the rule was actually issued.  But one person who should be happy […]

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All This, and the Environment, Too?

Avi Gabay, Israel's new Environmental Protection Minister

Israel's New Government Might De-emphasize Environmental Protection

It’s hardly news that Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government is the most right-wing in the country’s history, stoking dismay in the White House and in the international community. But this hardly implies a lack of environmental concern. Tzachi Hanegbi, Ariel Sharon’s Environmental Protection Minister and a Likud hard-liner, did a professional and highly competent job in […]

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Controlling Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transport Fuels

LCFS Poster

The Performance and Prospects of California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard

Transportation is the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in California, responsible for about 37 percent of the state’s total emissions. This distinction makes the sector a prime target for regulation. But with tens of millions of emitting tailpipes, fuels sourced from out of state and around the world, decades-long vehicle lifespans, and many other […]

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Legal Responses to the Santa Barbara Refugio Oil Spill

Refugio_Oil_Spill_in_Santa_Barbara

Exploring potential penalties and damages

Last Tuesday, a 24-inch underground oil pipeline on the beautiful Santa Barbara County coastline burst for reasons as of yet unknown. Over the course of several hours, an estimated 101,000 gallons of crude oil spilled down a storm drain, on the shoreline, and into the Pacific Ocean. As of late last week, oil had spread […]

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A (Sometimes) Beautiful Equilibrium

John Nash

John Nash's contribution to game theory illuminates environmental issues.

John Nash and his wife died yesterday in a cab crash while returning from a trip to Norway to receive a major mathematical prize.  He is best known to the public because of the movie “A Beautiful Mind”, which described his struggle with mental illness.  His concept of the Nash Equilibrium is basic to a […]

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Immanuel Kant and the California Water Crisis

Immanuel Kant: How Categorical!

How Should Individuals Decide How Much Water to Use?

Last week’s rain in southern California will hardly make a dent in the state’s devastating drought, and it raises an important question for individual consumers: exactly how should we decide how much water to use? There are obvious things: don’t hose down your driveway, take shorter showers, do full loads in the washer. But there […]

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Germany-California Climate Cooperation?

Winfried Kretschmann of Baden-Württemberg

Lecture By Winfried Kretschmann, Baden-Württemberg Minister-President, tonight at UC Berkeley, could be a start

Germany and California represent two global leaders when it comes to addressing climate change. For example, Germany has been on a renewable energy spree, despite its relatively minimal solar insolation, while California has committed to reducing greenhouse gases and incubating emerging clean technology industries, like energy storage, electric vehicles, and renewables. But at the sub-national […]

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Distrust of Congress (And Why It Matters)

State Capitol, Sacramento, California

It's easy to joke about Congress's public ill-repute, but it's a serious problem.

A recent poll shows that public approval of Congress is still in the basement (though perhaps not flat on the floor, as it was before).  This graph shows the trends: But this poll on public “approval” doesn’t tell the whole story.  Here’s one that asks instead whether Americans have confidence in key institutions: The configurations […]

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The UnBushes and the Environment

Republican Party

Cruz, Graham, Paul, Rubio & West are all equally hostile to environmental protection.

My post last week discussed Jeb Bush’s environmental record. At this point, there’s something of a free-for-all among candidates hoping to emerge as the Bush alternative – the UnBushes. Five of the remaining candidates announced or likely candidates have served in Congress, so they have scores from the League of Conservation Voters. Some of them are considered more […]

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Abalones and Gulls and Judges, Oh My!

Logo of the Abalone Alliance (and a possible trademark violation)

Comparing the Mono Lake Committee with the Abalone Alliance

For several months now, I have been looking for a good comparison case to the Mono Lake Committee, whose work is one of the great success stories of the modern environmental movement. Why did the Mono Lake Committee succeed when other organizations failed? Lots of organizations had good causes and dedicated leaders: what made Mono […]

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Tracking Coastal Adaptation

CEN_EMM_PUB-Tracking-Coastal-Adaptation

Implementing CA’s Innovative Sea Level Rise Planning Database

Higher sea levels are already affecting California’s 3400 miles of coastline, millions of coastal residents, economy, buildings, and critical infrastructure. Yet, oddly enough for a state that is a worldwide leader in climate change mitigation, California has only recently begun to focus seriously on sea level rise adaptation. Recent reports have cited a lack of preparedness […]

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