Celebrate Earth Day By Destroying The Planet!

Is It Possible To Have A Holiday Without Going Shopping?

The first e-mail in my inbox this morning was from a regional pharmacy chain, advertising “Great Earth Day Savings!” That seemed to me to be a little ironic: celebrate by the planet by consuming as much as you can! It isn’t alone. Just Google “Earth Day Shopping” and you’ll get hundreds of hits.  Now, obviously, […]

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George Kennan and the Environment: With Friends Like These…

One Cannot Divorce His Environmentalism From His Racism

Last year, I read John Lewis Gaddis’ magisterial biography of George F. Kennan, one of the prime architects of American Cold War policy and a distinguished foreign policy intellectual. I was surprised — and not a little pleased — to learn from that book that Kennan was something of a pioneering environmentalist, thinking about these issues […]

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The Quest to Tame the River

broken levee jpeg

"Mississippi River Tragedies" tells the story of the river's refusal to stay within the walls that we build.

As the song tells us, “Old Man River, he just keeps rolling along” – but he doesn’t necessarily roll where we want him to.  Human efforts at controlling the river and its massive tributaries succeed at times but seem always doomed to eventual failure.  We are playing defense against an opponent that is infinitely patient, […]

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Fracking and the Environment

Source: The Pilot, http://www.thepilot.com/news/2011/aug/08/fracking-promise-and-perils/

A new RFF report sheds light on the critical issues.

There are a lot of unanswered questions about natural gas and fracking.  A recent report by Resources for the Future sheds light on some of the answers.  RFF is unusual among Washington think tanks — an honest broker that uses expertise to try to answer hard questions.  The report reaches three important conclusions. The first […]

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IPCC Report Highlights Need for Rapid Shift to Renewable Energy; Delay Will be Costly

Chicago City Hall Green Roof

Meanwhile, EPA Considers Methane Regulations for Oil and Gas Production

According to the newest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) mitigation report, only a few decades remain to halt the worst effects of global climate change. To meet climate goals, globally we will need to reduce emissions to 40 to 70 percent below today’s levels, by mid-century. Delaying action will be enormously costly from an […]

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A Victory for Clean Air

coal pollution image

The D.C. Circuit has upheld EPA's regulation of mercury from coal-fired plants. We can all breath easier as a result.

EPA won an important victory in the D.C. Circuit today.  In White Stallion Energy Center v. EPA, the court upheld EPA’s new regulations limiting mercury from coal-fired power plants.  The main issue in the case was about a threshold requirement for regulation.  Before setting limits on mercury from coal plants, EPA had to consider studies of […]

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The Missing of Summer Lawns*

lawn photo

It's Time to End the Wasteful Practice of Irrigating California's Residential Landscaping With Fresh Water

What a difference a drought makes. Once upon a time, a fundamental attribute of home ownership in California and the American West was an expansive, verdant lawn surrounding private homes, townhouses and apartment complexes. Indeed, some communities have historically imposed permit conditions or adopted local ordinances mandating the inclusion and maintenance of lush, healthy lawns […]

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Does Keystone Matter?

Project XL

A recent analysis suggests that the pipeline could result in production of a billion extra barrels between now and 2030.

Many people who have studied the issue tell me that the Keystone XL issue is mostly symbolic, because the Alberta oil sands are going to be used one way or another.  But I’m having some second thoughts because of arguments made (here) by Berkeley economist Max Aufhammer. He’s a pretty hard-headed analyst, not given to […]

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A New Low for Fictional News Network

Guess which cable news network misleads on climate?

Well, what a shock: To gauge how accurately [cable news] networks inform their audiences about climate change, the Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed the networks’ climate science coverage in 2013 and found that each network treated climate science very differently. Fox News was the least accurate; 72 percent of its 2013 climate science-related segments contained […]

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Statutes of Limitations, Statutes of Repose, and Latent Harms

A warning sign posted outside the CTS property.  Credit: Jeremy P. Jacobs.

Can plaintiffs harmed years after exposure to toxic substances seek relief?

You may not have heard of CTS Corp. v. Waldburger.  At a glance, it is relatively unremarkable, a private nuisance suit between landowners and a retired manufacturing facility.  Much of the work on the plaintiffs’ side has been handled by students.  In a sense, the case hasn’t even begun yet—a judge found that the plaintiffs waited […]

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