Welcome to the World of “Alternative Facts”

Don’t expect the idea of evidence-based policy to have much sway in this Adminstration

Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump’s key advisors, has come up with a new term for deliberate falsehoods: “alternative facts.”  It’s a concept that does not augur well for the next four years. And it hasn’t gone unnoticed: the hashtag #alternativefacts is spreading like wildfire. Here’s how the alternative facts concept surfaced. Upset by press reports […]

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President Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee & Murr-murs of Behind-the-Scenes Supreme Court Intrigue

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Will Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Prompt Long-Awaited Decision in Key Property Rights Case?

In his wide-ranging, long-awaited and (to put it mildly) colorful press conference last week, President Trump promised to announce his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court within two weeks of taking the oath of office.  On this pledge, at least, I believe him.  Indeed, I’ll be surprised if he waits that long. Senate Republicans refused to […]

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Scott Pruitt, Senator Harris and the California Question

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California leadership in peril?

Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, elided many questions yesterday and made some somewhat surprising commitments to appease Senate Democrats in response to others (acknowledging that humans are at least partially responsible for climate change; saying he’ll use the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases).  But his response to […]

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New Study: California Climate Policies Bringing Over $13 Billion To San Joaquin Valley

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Report commissioned by Next 10 and written by Berkeley Law’s CLEE and UC Berkeley’s labor center

Climate policies are under political attack, both in California and nationally. The common argument is that these policies hurt the economy and destroy jobs, particularly in disadvantaged communities. To assess those claims, the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE) at UC Berkeley Law and UC Berkeley’s Donald Vial Center on Employment in the […]

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Willful Ignorance

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As with climate science, Trump is in denial about public health issues.

Anti-vaxxers are a lot like the climate denial crowd, but with two differences. First, there hasn’t been any corporate money fomenting skepticism about vaccines, unlike climate denial. Second, anti-vaxxers are sprinkled across the ideological spectrum. Still, the similarities between these two forms of anti-scientism are greater. One big similarity: both anti-science views have the support […]

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Betting on Batteries

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Was the Aliso Canyon leak a blessing in disguise?

As reported on the front page of today’s New York Times, 2016 was the third straight year to set a record for highest temperature, the first time the Earth has seen three record-setting years in a row since WWII (1939, 1940, and 1941 each set records, but now 1941 only ranks as the 37th hottest year). […]

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The Owls in the Vineyard

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It’s smart to take precautions against climate change. More can be done, even in the Trump era.

At night, you can hear the hooting of owls in the vineyard.   The owners have deployed owls and falcons to control the pests that threaten the Kendall Jackson vineyards due to milder winters.  But birds of prey aren’t the only things flying above the vineyard.  There are also drones, which are used to observe small differences […]

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Bears Ears: A Monumental End to the Obama Era

The Bears Ears formation in Southeastern Utah (USGS photo)

Will the Antiquities Act survive the new administration?

With one week left in his second term, President Obama’s “monumental” legacy is again at the forefront. Just yesterday, the President expanded, by proclamation, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon and the California Coastal National Monument, and created three additional national monuments: the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument and the Freedom Riders National Monument in […]

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How Prop 13 Has Wrecked California

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Time to roll back the 1978 tax measure

Prop 13 is supposedly the third rail of California politics. The 1978 ballot measure effectively froze property taxes in the state and ultimately ensured that any new tax increases require a 2/3 vote, whether in the legislature or among local voters approving a new city or county tax measure. It can only be undone if […]

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Rex Tillerson Disappoints

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The nominee gave vague, canned answers on climate change

Today’s confirmation hearing of Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, has concluded. During the day, there were two impassioned exchanges about climate change, during which Tillerson revealed how naive environmentalists were that he might be able to sway Trump on the issue. First, Senator Tim Kaine (our almost-VP) excoriated Tillerson on ExxonMobil’s record […]

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A Win-Win Energy Law in Illinois

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Illinois’s Future Energy Jobs bill shows that cooperation across party lines is possible.

It went pretty much unheralded by the national media, but in December Illinois adopted a major new energy lawl — and with strong bipartisan support.  Each side had some things to celebrate. The Republican Governor touted the impact of the bill on utility bills.  According to the Governor, the “contains a guaranteed cap that energy […]

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