A couple of weeks ago, I noted in a discussion of water and climate change, that in many cases, seeking to adapt to climate change effects might actually wind up undermining efforts to mitigate it. My example was lining irrigation canals, but there are lots of them out there. I began to think “Gosh. There […]
Will Conserving Water Contribute to Global Warming?
All of us (except Republicans and adherents of Movement Conservatism) know that climate change is dangerous for rising temperatures, but also because of its effects on other natural resources. Most significantly, it is hardly news that increasing and variable temperatures will reduce, for example, the Sierra snow pack and cause greater evaporation, eventually leading to […]
Happy birthday to the federal government’s most recognizable environmental advocate
The U.S. Forest Service is a key actor in a lot of environmental and land use policy decisions. It oversees the national forests and handles various research and conservation efforts. The Service is a common defendant in environmental suits, often as a result of its substantial permitting duties. But what USFS is best known for […]
Is Increased Reliance on the Public Trust Doctrine an Essential Part of Effective State Adaptation Policy?
I often tell students in my Climate Change Law and Policy course that adaptation–that is, how we can best adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change–is the poor stepchild of the debate over greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. By that I mean that climate change mitigation (i.e., how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions) generates far more […]
Changing the Wilderness Act to respond to climate change is a terrible idea
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 […]