More States Are Finally Following California’s RPS Lead

California has long led the push for renewable energy mandates, and others are catching on

California’s renewables portfolio standard (RPS) is a flagship component of the state’s robust portfolio of climate change policies. The RPS is complex, but the basic concept is simple: state law requires electric utilities to procure a minimum percentage of their retail electricity from qualifying renewable sources under rules set by the California Public Utilities Commission. […]

Continue Reading

What Do We Know About Environmental Justice?

Not As Much As We Should

If you are not a regular reader of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, you should be. Most economists fetishize what my friend and colleague Steve Bainbridge refers to accurately as “recreational mathematics.” But often, these models add more heat than light, and in any event, function as a private language. Fortunately enough, JEP’s magician-editor Timothy […]

Continue Reading

EPA’s Mission: The Original Understanding

Guess what? EPA’s core mission wasn’t cutting regulatory costs.

What is EPA’s mission? To what extent is minimizing regulatory costs part of the core mission, as the Trump Administration seems to believe? Does the Trump/Pruitt/Wheeler view comport with original intent? History makes it clear that the  answer is no. The title of the agency itself suggests that the core mission is protecting the environment, […]

Continue Reading

I Suppose We Can Just Hope That EIA Is Wrong

The federal estimate of energy-related carbon emissions in 2050 should get our attention.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) issues projections for future energy use across all sectors of society. They aren’t really predictions of our energy future — they are more like conversation starters. In fact, some researchers suggest that EIA shows a consistent bias by forecasting more energy use than actually occurs. Yet, […]

Continue Reading

Governance on the Ground—Evaluating Pesticide Regulation in California

California uses more pesticides than any other U.S. state, primarily because of the large acreage of high value specialty crops. Photo credit: Fotokostic, Shutterstock

In a new study, UCLA and USC researchers find that California state and county officials are falling short in evaluating use of agricultural pesticides.

Editor’s note: a new report from researchers at UCLA and USC provides a systematic review of California’s county-level regulation of pesticides. Read the report, a 4-page summary, and a press release.  It is well known that the law on the ground often looks quite different than the law on the books. California’s pesticide regulatory program […]

Continue Reading

If You’re Not At The Table, You’re On The Menu

Why Has Labor Attacked The Green New Deal?

  One more entry in the “Not Helpful” Department: The AFL-CIO, the national arm for U.S. labor unions, offered a critical assessment of the Green New Deal, warning that the ambitious plan to combat climate change could adversely affect U.S. workers. In a letter last week to Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria […]

Continue Reading

Conference On SB 100 & California’s Race To A Carbon-Free Grid

California Lawyers Association Environmental Law Section will hold daylong event on March 28th in Downtown Oakland

The California Lawyers Association’s Environmental Law Section is hosting a conference on Thursday, March 28th in Downtown Oakland entitled “SB 100 and the Race to a Carbon Free Grid in California.” It will feature top officials from the Newsom Administration and other energy experts, including an “Energy 101” pre-panel for attorneys new to the field. […]

Continue Reading

Public Lands Watch: Final Changes to Sage Grouse Protections

BLM announces final version of revisions to protections for sage grouse on Western federal public lands

This blog post was drafted by Jamie T. Martinez. On March 15, the Trump administration finalized its plan to loosen protections on federal lands for the habitat of the greater sage-grouse, a near-threatened species that lives in sagebrush country across the western United States. The final plan amends the resource plans adopted in 2015 to […]

Continue Reading

Climate Change in the Political Spotlight

Climate change has been a low-visibility political issue. That may be changing.

Generally, climate change doesn’t get much attention as a political issue. That may be changing now. And if it is, that could have important implications. One sign of the times is Jay Inslee’s run for the Presidency. He may not be at the top of the lists of prospects, but he’s an established, well-respected political […]

Continue Reading

Water Rights Administration and Oversight During Past California Droughts

Part 2 in a Series on Improving California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

In the first post in this series, I talked about why it’s important for the state of California to spend time preparing for future droughts even in wet years like this one.  This post examines some of the lessons from past droughts that can inform these preparations. Past droughts have stress-tested California’s water management institutions, […]

Continue Reading

Declaring a Climate Change Emergency: A Citizen’s Guide

Would it be legal to declare a national emergency for climate change? Would it be useful? Here’s what you need to know.

The possibility of declaring a national emergency to address climate change will probably remain under discussion for the next couple of years, particularly if the courts uphold Trump’s “wall” emergency.  For that reason, I thought it might be helpful to pull together the series of blog posts I’ve written on the subject.  I want to […]

Continue Reading