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 […]
Biodiversity & Species
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
"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 […]
We need research to feed a larger population without plowing the whole planet.
Who’s coming for dinner? The answer, in case you’re wondering, is “two billion more people.” That’s the population increase predicted for 2050. How are we going to feed those people? One method is to cut down a lot of the world’s remaining forests and plow the world’s remaining grasslands. That’s a bad approach environmentally: it will […]
How do you solve a problem like manure?
Under AB 32, California’s climate change law, “greenhouse gas” is defined to include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and some fluorinated gases. But the bulk of the state’s efforts to date have focused primarily on the first. CO2 is undeniably the primary offender: It accounts for about three quarters of annual global emissions, and is […]
The federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) is widely known for being the primary law in the United States that focuses on protecting biodiversity, and also for being a “pit bull” of environmental laws that has few exceptions and broad sweep. (For instance, the ESA was a major component of the litigation strategy by environmental groups […]
The safest prediction is that our Democratic President and Republican Congress will not in fact be able to work together. Their present gestures toward cooperation may mean nothing more than a willingness to accept the other side’s surrender. But hope springs eternal. Are there areas where common ground exists? That seems nearly impossible on some […]
Earlier this year I wrote critically about a New York Times op-ed that proposed making the restrictions on development in wilderness areas more flexible in order to allow for adaptation to climate change. This week the Times published what I think is a much more helpful op-ed on the topic of how we should address […]