Climate Adaptation

Guest Blogger Ken Alex: Resilience and Adaptation

Post #7 in a Series on California Climate Policy by Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown

[This is the seventh post in a series expressing my view of why California’s actions on climate change are so important and how they will change the world. The introductory post provides an overview and some general context.] Climate change has arrived.  Our fire season never ends; we no longer know if we will have a rainy […]

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The Social Cost of Carbon – Revisited

The case for using global rather than simply U.S. impacts.

The estimated harm done by a single ton of carbon in the atmosphere – the “social cost of carbon” — is a key factor in setting climate policy. The Trump Administration is trying to get its estimate as close to zero as possible. A key part of this effort is to exclude from consideration the […]

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International Court of Justice recognizes and values ecosystem services (sort of)

In a judgment announced on February 2nd, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the very first time decided a compensation claim for environmental damage. Equally important, it took a close look at whether ecosystem goods and services are compensable under international law. The decision is both carefully considered and deeply frustrating. There have, of […]

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The Story Behind a Political Breakthrough

Congress passed a 2017 law recognizing climate change as a serious threat. How did THAT happen?

Last month, Congress passed and Trump signed a provision in the Defense Authorization Act that designates climate change a serious threat to national security. That was a historic first. I blogged about the bill last month, but it seemed worthwhile to investigate this surprising development further. Although there’s no direct evidence, there are strong indications […]

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The Anthropocene and private law

Areas such as torts and property will face significant challenges

I’ve posted about how the Anthropocene will see major changes in how humans affect our planet, and how those changes will have major impacts on human society, triggering substantially larger interventions by the legal system in a wide range of individual behavior.  In this post, I want to spin out some of the implications of […]

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The Anthropocene and the legal system

Responding to the Anthropocene will produce pressure for substantial changes in our legal system

In my prior two posts, I discussed how humans are increasingly impairing natural systems on a global scale, and how those impairments of natural systems will have major negative impacts on human societies. How will these changes affect the legal system? The first important point in answering that question is that many of the changes […]

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Of Dreamliners and Drinking Water


Michael Kiparsky and Christian Binz

As we have written previously, potable water reuse (recycling water to augment water supplies) is a promising way to diversify urban water supply portfolios. Direct potable water reuse (DPR), the injection of highly purified wastewater into drinking water systems, is among the newest, and most controversial, methods for augmenting water supplies. DPR is garnering increasing […]

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Seeking Salvation at the COP

Guest post by Sunjana Supekar, UCLA Law student

“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”  These words, attributed to famed anti-racist activist Angela Davis, permeated my thoughts as I walked through the halls of the 2017 UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany (referred to as the “COP,” for conference of parties). The major question for this year’s […]

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Hot Off the Presses: An Intro to Climate Change Law and Policy

The Paris Agreement. The Clean Power Plan. Geo-Engineering. Trump. And there’s more!

I’m really excited to announce the publication of Climate Change Law: Concepts & Insights (Foundation Press 2017), by Cinnamon Carlarne and me. There are lots of great scholarly tomes on the subject — either monographs or collected volumes.  But there really hasn’t been anything that provides a comprehensive introduction to climate law as a whole, […]

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Disaster Resilience: Inching Forward, Sliding Back

We’re slowing improving disaster resilience. But there have been some notable setbacks.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes.  The same is true for disasters. We are slowly getting better at mitigating disaster risks.  These improvements don’t generally take the form of dramatic breakthroughs.  Rather they involve incremental progress on a number of fronts. For instance, homes that were constructed […]

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