Carbon Vouchers: A Small-Government Approach to Climate Action

How to limit climate change without giving the Feds enforcement powers or revenue.

What I’m going to sketch here isn’t a zero government approach. But the government’s role is very limited: federal agencies don’t do any enforcement and the government doesn’t touch any revenue from the scheme. So this approach deals with the concern that a carbon tax or something similar would either expand EPA’s ability to abuse […]

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Swinging Between Optimism and Pessimism on Climate Change

optimism-vs-pessimism

good news, bad news

Every day seems to bring new news about climate change, some of it encouraging and some of it so disheartening that doomsday feels around the corner.  Here’s a catalogue of recent climate news, starting with the optimistic stories: Bloomberg news reports that the end of fossil fuels is in sight. The World Bank today announced […]

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Has EPA’s Proposed NSPS Expired?

Expired

Responding to claims that EPA must withdraw its proposed rules to control power-plant GHGs under CAA § 111

Challenges to EPA’s emergent program to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under Clean Air Act section 111 continue to mount. Recently, the Attorneys General of 19 states sent a joint letter to EPA arguing that because EPA failed to finalize its proposed New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) for GHG emissions within one year—as the Clean […]

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Yogi Berra Explains the Mono Lake Case

Yogi Berra

Or -- Timing Is Everything

As part of the book I am writing on the Mono Lake case, one question stands out: how was the Mono Lake Committee able to assemble the resources to bring a lawsuit against the powerful Los Angeles Department of Water and Power? At one level, the answer is obvious: it found a Sugar Daddy, in […]

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Climate Gag Rules and the First Amendment

gag-tape-silence-censor-630

Are climate gag rules constitutional? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

There have been recent reports about state agencies that forbid employees from discussing climate change.  Since this is obviously a restriction on speech, it’s natural to wonder what the First Amendment has to say on the subject.  The answer depends in large part on the kind of employee speech at issue. Let’s being with a ban […]

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The Brazilian Deforestation Puzzle

La concesion de Dona Felicitas

Deforestation went down for a decade. Now it's going up. The reasons aren't clear.

Brazil’s rate of deforestation went down dramatically over the last ten years. It’s not completely clear why that’s happened. The trend now seems to be reversing (or at least encountering an upward blip). But it’s not clear why that’s happening either. I wish I had a clear explanation to give you. A big part of […]

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Los Angeles Releases First-Ever Urban Sustainability “pLAn”

pLAn

Envisioning greener energy, cleaner air, and reduced consumption in LA by 2035

Perhaps no metropolis is better positioned than Los Angeles to pioneer ground-breaking environmental initiatives. As the second-largest U.S. city, and with the country’s largest municipally owned utility, a world-class research university–UCLA, and the blessings of abundant sunshine and a temperate Mediterranean climate, Los Angeles could serve as a global model for urban sustainability. Today, the […]

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Can the Supreme Court Provide Just Desserts?

Ruth Bader Ginger

Time for Different Flavors of Legal Reasoning

Ben and Jerry’s flavor honoring Stephen Colbert — “Americone Dream” — has been so successful, people are coming with other ideas. Tania Lambrozio gets lawyers into the act with her nomination: “Ruth Bader Ginger.” I’ve never actually had ginger ice cream, although I love ginger bread, so maybe it could work. Now there is a petition […]

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It’s a Wonderful Law?

delta_smelt_by_metric_ruler_usfws

A thought experiment about the role of the ESA in California water management

[This post is co-authored by A. Dan Tarlock, Distguished Professor of Law, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.] Remember the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which shows up on TV every year at Christmas season? In it George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, gets a great gift from Clarence, an angel-in-training who intervenes as George is […]

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Stick a Lemon In It

Lemon

Are recent East Bay water troubles a taste of what lies ahead?

What makes a city world-renowned? For New York (according to the NYC Department of Environmental Protection), it’s the quality of its drinking water. Should this be so surprising? After all, what more fundamental connection does a city have to its residents and visitors than the life-sustaining water that it provides? Recent events in San Francisco’s […]

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The Minister Did It

Thieves of State

"Thieves of State" Implies New Focus for Environmental Protection in the Global South

You might remember correspondent Sarah Chayes from NPR in the 1990’s, filing reports from Paris. In the early 2000’s, she took up a far less glamourous posting: Kandahar, in Afghanistan, and has just completed her second book about it. The book, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, contains an important lesson for those interested […]

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