The Wilderness Act is one of the iconic pieces of environmental legislation, and it is 50 years old this year. It created a process and management standard by which millions of acres of relatively undeveloped federal land were protected from development and most forms of active human management. These lands are to be managed, as […]
The House GOP' is trying to stop the Pentagon from thinking about climate change. Here's why it won't work.
The military considers climate change to be a threat to national security. Naturally, that’s news that the House Republicans would like to suppress. Last week, they tried to do something about it with an appropriations rider. Luckily, the amendment is so poorly drafted that it would accomplish almost nothing. Here’s the language of the amendment: None […]
Nobel-prize winning economist Robert Schiller has a New York Times op-ed about the need for insurance against risks of climate change. Speaking of the latest U.S. climate assessment, he writes: After discussing how to mitigate the coming dangers, the report says, “Commercially available mechanisms such as insurance can also play a role in providing protection against […]
LA Times op-ed highlights increase in trains transporting oil into California
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is reducing its previous estimate for technically recoverable oil in California’s Monterey Shale from 13.7 billion barrels of oil to just 600 million barrels of oil—a dramatic 95.6 percent reduction. Has the oil industry been chasing rainbows in search of illusive “black gold” Monterey oil? For years, the oil […]
Trouble may be brewing in the corn belt.
We continue to gain a better understanding of the impacts of climate change, which are sometimes subtle and unexpected. Two articles in Science report significant new research. The first report comes from two researchers at the University of Illinois. Corn, like other plants, needs to pull CO2 from the air for photosynthesis. But the same tiny […]
Further proof that takings law is a mess, from a case involving government support for raisin growers.
Horne v. USDA might well have been a law professor’s hypothetical. In order to smooth out raisin prices, the federal government has a program of taking “surplus” raisins off the market and diverting them to “non-competitive markets” like foreign countries and school lunch programs. The effect is to keep up market prices for raisins. The […]
Marco Rubio seems willing to admit that climate change exists and is causing real problems. That's a start.
During an interview with ABC’s Jonathan Kent, Marco Rubio made a very interesting statement about climate change. He took the standard anti-science position about the causes of climate change. “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it,” he said. He went on […]
Meanwhile, EPA Considers Methane Regulations for Oil and Gas Production
According to the newest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) mitigation report, only a few decades remain to halt the worst effects of global climate change. To meet climate goals, globally we will need to reduce emissions to 40 to 70 percent below today’s levels, by mid-century. Delaying action will be enormously costly from an […]
It's Time to End the Wasteful Practice of Irrigating California's Residential Landscaping With Fresh Water
What a difference a drought makes. Once upon a time, a fundamental attribute of home ownership in California and the American West was an expansive, verdant lawn surrounding private homes, townhouses and apartment complexes. Indeed, some communities have historically imposed permit conditions or adopted local ordinances mandating the inclusion and maintenance of lush, healthy lawns […]
Millions of people are in the path of rising seas. The time for action is now.
The NY Times has run a series of articles in the past few days dealing with disaster issues. Taken together, they highlight the urgency of government action to protect populations in harm’s way. One article dealt generally with the threat posed by sea level rise. Miami is something of a poster-child for these problems, given its […]