Climate Adaptation

Guest Blogger Cliff Villa: Es FEMA El Problema? Hurricane Maria and the Slow Road to Recovery in Puerto Rico

Strolling west on Calle Loiza from the Ocean Park neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico, you could miss the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria last September.  Here in early May 2018, runners and walkers lap the track at Parque Barbosa while middle-aged men try to keep pace with younger guys on the sheltered basketball court.  […]

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Let a Hundred (Municipal) Flowers Bloom

Despite Trump, cities across the country are taking climate change seriously.

In the era of Trump, one bright spot remains what’s happening in cities across the nation. Here are some numbers: 402 U.S. mayors have endorsed the Paris Agreement and announced their intention of meeting its goals, while 118 have endorsed the goal of making their cities 100% renewable. A bit of quick research provides a […]

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Analyzing a CAFE Rollback

Rolling back the CAFE standards is going to be a heavy analytic lift at best.

The Trump Administration has begun a review of the second phase of fuel efficiency standards adopted by the Obama Administration. Ann Carlson has already blogged about the harmful effects of such a rollback. A new paper by researchers at Resources for the Future sheds some additional light on the situation.  Although the study does not […]

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Hurricane Recovery in Texas

It’s been eight months. What’s happened since the storm?

Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the U.S. on August 25, 2017. That probably seems like ancient history to many Americans who live outside the area. The storm has certainly dropped out of the national media. It’s not easy to find information about how storm recovery is proceeding. But here’s where I could find. Let’s start […]

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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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