Air Quality

Red, white, blue and smog

fireworks 3

Fireworks leave behind a lot of pollutants

As a kid on the South Side of Chicago, summertime meant seeing White Sox games at Comiskey Park (technically now called U.S. Cellular Park, but I will never call it that). If the Sox won, there were fireworks. And on Saturdays, there were fireworks even if they didn’t. I have a distinct memory of asking […]

Continue Reading

Major Settlement Announced in Volkswagen Emissions Fraud Litigation

$14.7 Billion Civil Enforcement Settlement is a Victory for Consumers, Environmental Prosecutors

Federal and state environmental prosecutors today announced a proposed settlement of government civil enforcement litigation they’ve pursued against Volkswagen in response to the automaker’s acknowledged efforts to cheat federal and state auto emission standards and defraud consumers.  The complex settlement, lodged with the assigned U.S. district court judge in San Francisco, requires Volkswagen to pay […]

Continue Reading

Ronald Reagan – Environmentalist Governor

Ronald Reagan, courtesy National Archives

Reagan's record in California included major environmental achievements.

It may surprise you to learn this — it certainly surprised me. But Ronald Reagan has been called “the most environmental governor in California history — protecting wild rivers from dams, preserving a Sierra wilderness by blocking highway builders, creating an air resources board that led to the nation’s first auto smog controls.” This may […]

Continue Reading

The Irony of a Developing Nation’s Climate Agenda

AerialViewPhotochemicalSmogMexicoCity_2

The challenge of developing and decarbonizing at the same time

Mexico has been busy. Or at least, its energy and environmental ministers have been. Over the last several years, Mexico has held its first auction for renewable energy contracts, opened its energy market to private competitors, and increased its renewable energy capacity by more than thirty times the level in 2008. At the same time, […]

Continue Reading

Energy Justice and Sustainability

Cookstove  Use in Darfur

Over two billion people lack access to modern energy sources.

Energy justice is an unfamiliar concept to most people, but it addresses a crucial problem.  A new book by Lakshman Guruswamy addresses some of the key facts: About a third of the world’s population — between 2 and 2.5 billion people — primarily rely on household burning of wood, coal, or other materials like dung for […]

Continue Reading

UCLA Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Electric Grid Experts in “Clean Power Plan” Case

U.S. Dep't of Energy

Supporting EPA’s regulation of power-sector carbon emissions

Today, several of us at UCLA Law School’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment—me, Cara Horowitz, Sarah Duffy, & Ann Carlson—together with Professor William Boyd of University of Colorado Law School, filed an amici curiae brief on behalf of five electric grid experts in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan” […]

Continue Reading

Creating An Exit Strategy for Our Use of Natural Gas

Natural Gas as a Bridge Fuel

To meet long-term greenhouse gas reduction goals, all fossil fuels have to go, even natural gas.

Coal is the climate’s Public Enemy #1. The use of natural gas has helped to ensure that the coal problem has not become even worse. Without natural gas, we would use more coal for space heating and for many more industrial processes than is currently the practice. Without natural gas, our reliance on coal for […]

Continue Reading

The Supreme Court Vacancy and EPA’s Mercury Rule

coal_fired_power_plant

The rule limiting toxic pollution from coal plants now has a rosier future.

Among the many ramifications of the current vacancy on the bench, its effect on the EPA’s mercury rule seems to have escaped much attention.  It may already have helped EPA defeat an effort by states to get a stay from Chief Justice Roberts.  But it has much broader significance. Some background: The Supreme Court, in a […]

Continue Reading

Another California Regulatory Agency in Crisis: Southern California’s Air Quality Management District Fires Longtime Executive Officer

Barry Wallerstein's Ouster from SCAQMD Signals Tilt Away from Protection of Public Health

In a move that shocked the environmental advocacy community and low-income communities of color that suffer most from the impacts of poor air quality in Los Angeles, the governing board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District fired its longtime executive officer Barry Wallerstein today, voting 7-6 in closed session to remove him from […]

Continue Reading

Roberts Denies Mercury Stay

Nuclear_Power_Plant_Cattenom

A state effort to suspend implementation fails.

Chief Justice Roberts turned down a request this morning to stay EPA’s mercury rule.  Until the past month, this would have been completely un-noteworthy, because such a stay would have been unprecedented.  But the Court’s startling recent stay of the EPA Clean Power Plan suggested that the door might have been wide open.  Fortunately, that […]

Continue Reading