China

On China’s Remarkable Viral Air Pollution Video

Can 200 million viewers (and counting) be wrong?

Last Saturday evening, my research assistant (a wonderful JD student raised and educated in China) sent me a message: “This is a link to a documentary directed by Chai Jing (柴静).  It has raised public concern about air pollution.” In perhaps the understatement of the year, she added: “Many Chinese people have been watching it.” […]

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Killer Coal

Black lung has been the underlying or contributing cause of death for more than 75,000 coal miners since 1968, according to NIOSH, the federal agency responsible for conducting research on work-related diseases and injuries. Since 1970, the Department of Labor has paid over $44 billion in benefits to miners totally disabled by respiratory diseases (or […]

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2014: Happy Endings & Promising Starts

In most ways, 2014 was a good year for environmental protection, with progress on several fronts.  True, there are warning signs for 2015 — primarily the Republican sweep of the mid-terms and the Supreme Court’s puzzling decision to review toxics regulations for coal-fired power plants.  And of course, there were losses as well as victories, […]

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More Thoughts on the US-China Climate Announcement

Ann Carlson and I talk with the New York Times on US politics, Chinese implementation, and the potential impact on India.

Ann Carlson and I talked with Edward Wong from the New York Times last week about the US-China Climate Announcement.  We repost the Q&A here. From Edward Wong, NYT:  The biggest commitments to come out of President Obama’s recent visit to China involved climate change policy. The leaders of the two nations stood beside each […]

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U.S.-China Climate Pact and Domestic Politics

Alex Wang and I Consider the Domestic Ramifications in Both the U.S. and China

The news from Beijing this week that the U.S. and China are committing to ambitious goals on climate change is, we think, monumental. No two countries are more important to tackling the problem than the largest carbon emitter over the past two centuries, the U.S., and the largest current emitter, China. While many observers are […]

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A Ray of Hope [Breaking News]

President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a major deal on climate change this morning.  As summarized by the Washington Post, China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, pledged in the far-reaching agreement to cap its rapidly growing carbon emissions by 2030, or earlier if possible. It also set a daunting goal of […]

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Do EPA’s Carbon Emissions Rules Point to a New Climate Treaty? Nope.

The Future Global Climate Regime Will Not Rely on an International Accord

The irrepressible Jonathan Chait continues to do what he does best: shredding the GOP’s neanderthal nihilism on climate (or as Andrew Sullivan notes, the Republican Party has become “a reckless, know-nothing, post-modern fantasy machine.”). But Chait makes one big leap of logic that should actually be scotched. Chait points out that contrary to conservative predictions that […]

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What Beijing Could Learn From George Washington

But It Seems More Interested in Following John Roberts

Alex’s terrific op-ed raises two key questions, one snide and disturbing, the other more profound. As for the first, I couldn’t help notice this point in the middle of his piece: Courts often refuse to even accept difficult or sensitive cases. The Supreme People’s Court has adopted rules for breaking up class-action lawsuits and relegating […]

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China’s Pollution Challenge

Can a new law save China’s environment?

Benjamin van Rooij and I published the following in the New York Times op-ed page today.  In short, it is about the challenges the new Environmental Protection Law will face in practice and the critical reforms needed to overcome these challenges: China’s national legislature has adopted sweeping changes to the country’s Environmental Protection Law, revisions […]

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The Perils of Rail Transit and Democracy

How Decentralized Decision-Making Can Screw Up Rail Planning and Implementation

Americans seem to love democracy but hate many of the results. We want governmental power to be decentralized, whether it’s across three federal branches or with local control over sometimes regionally oriented land use decisions. But when the inevitable compromise that is required to get majority approval means a less-than-perfect result, from Obamacare to budget […]

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