The Case for Farmed Fish

Aquaculture could help save wild fisheries from devastation.

It’s time to take a second look at fish farms. Environmentalists, not to mention foodies, tend to turn up their noses at fish farms.  It’s true that badly managed fish farms can be a source of water pollution and other environmental problems.  But sustainable fish farming would have major environmental benefits. To begin with, fish […]

Continue Reading

The Cap-and-Trade Auction: Still Not a Tax

Folks are talking again about whether California’s climate cap-and-trade auction is an unlawful tax, rather than a valid exercise of the state’s regulatory power to control pollution.  The news hook for the revival of this conversation is a recent order, discussed below, from the California Court of Appeal to the parties in the court case where […]

Continue Reading

The “Northern” Bias in Biodiversity Protection

Tropical rainforest2

We focus heavily on U.S. endangered species. But the real action is elsewhere.

American environmentalists are deeply invested in protecting endangered species in the U.S.  That’s natural, and U.S biodiversity is worthy of protection. But focusing on the U.S. gives a misguided sense of the relative importance of U.S. biodiversity. But in the grand scheme of things, biodiversity in the global South is far, far more important. A […]

Continue Reading

Of sewage spills and citizen suits

A sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) spills out from beneath a manhole cover.  Photo: Mystic River Watershed Association, “Sewer overflowing,” www.flickr.com/photos/44914436@
N07/4438382741/.

New Berkeley Law report examines citizen actions addressing sanitary sewer overflows in California

(This post is co-authored with Nell Green Nylen and Michael Kiparsky.) Every day, Californians produce millions of gallons of wastewater. We tend to avoid thinking about what flows down our drains, but how we deal with sewage is a critically important aspect of public and environmental health. Most communities in California rely on an extensive […]

Continue Reading

A Floor Price for Gasoline

gasprices

A floor price would encourage energy efficient cars and generate revenue.

The price of gasoline fluctuates like crazy, tracking the price of oil.  In a recent blog post and an earlier paper, my colleagues at the business school have put forward a really innovative proposal: a minimum price for gasoline.  When oil costs go below a certain level, gas prices would stay stuck at that point. […]

Continue Reading

NEWSFLASH: Kochs Cave on Climate

Koch logo

Humans are causing climate change after all. Who knew?

The Kochs believe in climate change, so it seems. Greenwire reports that a Koch spokesman said: “Charles has said the climate is changing. So, the climate is changing . . . I think he’s also said, and we believe, that humans have a part in that. I think what the real question is … what […]

Continue Reading

Former Massey Energy CEO Sentenced to Prison for Actions Leading to 2010 Coal Mine Disaster

AR-141119629

What Broader Environmental and Worker Safety Enforcement Lessons Can Be Learned Here?

A federal district judge on Wednesday sentenced Don Blankenship, the former Chief Executive of Massey Energy, to serve one year in federal prison–the maximum term allowed by law–and to personally pay a criminal penalty of $250,000 for Blankenship’s acts of omission and commission that led to the notorious 2010 coal mining disaster at Massey’s Upper […]

Continue Reading

Understanding Climate Skepticism

Four hypotheses to explain the endurance of climate skeptics

2015 was the warmest year on record.  Sea level rise has been accelerating in recent decades. To myself and, I suspect, most readers of this blog, human-induced climate change is undeniable in the face of such developments, posing fundamental challenges to human well-being and biodiversity around the globe and into the future. Climate change is here and […]

Continue Reading

The Next Justice and the Fate of the Clean Water Act

supreme-court

A comment by Justice Kennedy reminds us of just how much is at stake.

Every once in a while, we get reminded of just how much damage the conservative Justices could wreak on environmental law. Last week, Justice Kennedy created shock waves with a casual comment during oral argument. In a case that seemed to involved only a technical issue about administrative procedure, he dropped the suggestion that the […]

Continue Reading

The Rise of “Cli-Fi”

climate swindle

What the Humanities Can Teach us About Climate Change Narratives

Over the past decade, an entire genre of climate skeptic literature has emerged. As many readers of this blog may well have experienced firsthand in personal conversations, climate skeptics are often very intelligent and may well hold advanced degrees. Dan Kahan’s work has made clear that climate skepticism derives as much from deeply-held values as […]

Continue Reading

UCLA Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Electric Grid Experts in “Clean Power Plan” Case

U.S. Dep't of Energy

Supporting EPA’s regulation of power-sector carbon emissions

Today, several of us at UCLA Law School’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment—me, Cara Horowitz, Sarah Duffy, & Ann Carlson—together with Professor William Boyd of University of Colorado Law School, filed an amici curiae brief on behalf of five electric grid experts in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan” […]

Continue Reading