The Social Cost of Carbon – Revisited

The case for using global rather than simply U.S. impacts.

The estimated harm done by a single ton of carbon in the atmosphere – the “social cost of carbon” — is a key factor in setting climate policy. The Trump Administration is trying to get its estimate as close to zero as possible. A key part of this effort is to exclude from consideration the […]

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Surveying the Landscape of Local Zoning and CEQA

First report from Berkeley/Columbia research project shows how Bay Area residential developments negotiate land-use and CEQA review

A group of interdisciplinary researchers from law and planning (which I am part of) just released its first report on how CEQA and land-use law shape the process of regulating and approving residential developments in five Bay Area cities.  (I first posted about our research here.)  I’ve included the Executive Summary below, and the full […]

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Trump vs. Obama: Comparing Their First-Year Records

What Trump accomplish in his first year? In terms of energy & environment, less than Obama.

There’s been a lot of sound and fury, and many proposals are in the works. But what have the concrete results been so far? And how does Trump’s effectiveness stack up again Obama’s? I was prompted to ask that question by a note from Jonathan Rosenbloom, an environmental law scholar at Drake University. I had […]

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Scott Pruitt’s Faulty Logic

There’s a gaping hole in Pruitt’s argument for repealing the Obama’s climate change rule.

An earlier blog post pointed to a logical gap in the current EPA’s justification for repealing the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the Obama Administration effort to cut emissions from electrical power plants. He makes an argument that EPA can only base rules on actions that polluters can take within a facility, and jumps from there […]

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Guest Blogger Ken Alex: Working and Natural Lands, From Sources to Sinks

Post #6 in a Series on California Climate Policy by Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown

[This is the sixth post in a series expressing my view of why California’s actions on climate change are so important and how they will change the world. The introductory post provides an overview and some general context.] Roughly 80% of California land is protected or agricultural.  That includes deserts, forests, wetlands, foothills, and multiple vegetative types, […]

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Small Hands/Small Infrastructure

It’s not really an infrastructure plan. It’s a plan for toll road and local tax hikes.

The initial response to Trump’s infrastructure plan has been justifiably critical.  Jennifer Rubin, my favorite conservative columnist, says the plan doesn’t pass the straight-face test.  A good deal of it is designed to encourage privatization of infrastructure or to eliminate environmental safeguards for new projects.  I want to focus on a different aspect of the […]

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Ninth Circuit rules Clean Water Act permit required for indirect discharge to ocean waters

Maui County can’t evade permitting requirements by sending wastewater to injection wells hydrologically connected to ocean waters

It was a great exam question (at least I thought so — you’ll have to ask my Environmental Law and Policy students if they agree): does the disposal of treated wastewater from a municipal wastewater treatment plant into the ground through injection wells located a short distance from the ocean require  an NPDES permit under […]

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Eight Setbacks for Trump

Trump hasn’t had things all his own way. Not by any means.

The Trump Administration has begun some bold initiatives but it’s too soon to know how they will fare. It also had some early success with blocking Obama’s regulation in Congress. But it has also had some significant setbacks, with courts or Congress rejecting positions it had embraced. Those setbacks make it clear that, bad as […]

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Scott Pruitt: “What, me worry?”

The right question about greenhouse gas emissions is not whether there is an “ideal” global temperature regime, but what problems rapid regime shifts produce

(Readers of a certain age will understand the reference, and see the resemblance. If that’s not you, never mind. But read on for a little less snark and a little more analysis.) According to the Washington Post, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wondered in a television interview Tuesday whether global warming “necessarily is a bad thing,” […]

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Trump Administration to Hold California Hearing on Offshore Oil Drilling Proposal

Sacramento Hearing Likely to Be Both a Raucous and Fundamentally Flawed Affair

Legal Planet colleague Eric Biber this week has published a series of posts on the Trump Administration’s controversial–and deeply flawed–proposal to open most of the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf to offshore oil and gas development.  I won’t attempt to retread the ground Eric has ably covered, but want to highlight a major upcoming and related event […]

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The impact of Trump’s offshore leasing plans

The Administration’s leasing proposals are not likely to produce an offshore oil and gas boom unless other factors change

This post is the last in a three-part series examining the implications and context of the Trump Administration’s announcement of a proposal to dramatically expand offshore oil and gas development in the United States.  The first post focused on the legal context; the second one on the political context.  This last post synthesizes the law […]

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