Climate Change

BREAKING NEWS: California Assembly Passes SB 32, the 2030 Climate Bill

With governor’s signature, the state will retain its international leadership position on reducing greenhouse gas emissions

It was a rough year in 2015 for SB 32 (Pavley), California’s major climate bill to extend our greenhouse gas reduction efforts to 2030. The bill went down without a vote on the Assembly floor, due to opposition from “moderate” Democrats. But today, the Assembly passed the bill with 42 votes in favor, 29 opposed: […]

Continue Reading

Libertarian Candidate Endorses a Carbon Fee

Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson has put his weight behind

In an interview in Alaska, Gary Johnson endorsed the idea of a fee on carbon emissions. Here’s what he had to say, according to E&E News: “Johnson described his “free market approach” to global warming to the Juneau Empire in an interview published this weekend. He said his plan would include a fee, “not a […]

Continue Reading

A Small-Government Approach to Pricing Carbon

CO2_smoke

We can impose a price on carbon without a tax or emissions trading. Here’s how.

Cap and dividend is a politically appealing idea; put a price on carbon, then refund the money to consumers in equal shares.  But conservatives and libertarians object to this idea on two grounds. First, cap-and-trade systems are complex and require a lot of regulatory oversight.  Second, if the government collects the money, despite its current […]

Continue Reading

What Threatens Biodiversity?

Silverback mountain gorilla in Rwanda (2007)

Are we too worried about climate change to focus on the other problems we know about?

Yesterday, Nature published a noteworthy comment on the biodiversity crisis, written by researchers at the University of Queensland and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The piece is based on a study of 8,688 species that are classified on the IUCN’s Red List either as threatened (vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered) or near-threatened. The main […]

Continue Reading

A Darker Shade of Green

green party

Jill Stein and her party call for a 40% cut in U.S. carbon emissions in the next four years.

Although the Green Party  doesn’t seem to be pulling a lot of voters at this point, it seems only fair to include them in the roundup of the parties’ environmental positions.  As you could infer from the name, the Green Party puts a very high priority on environmental quality. Interestingly, the current party platform is dated […]

Continue Reading

California Governor Jerry Brown Launches Initiative Effort to Achieve Climate Change Goals

Governor Brown Decides to Play Offense in High Stakes Political Battle Over Next Stage of State Climate Change Mitigation Efforts

One of 2016’s biggest political battles in California is over whether and how the state will pursue its ambitious climate change mitigation goals past the year 2020.  California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act–better known as AB 32–committed California to roll back aggregate state greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels no later than 2020.  Through the […]

Continue Reading

The New NEPA Guidance

white house

The new guidance on climate change is a step forward, though it could have been stronger.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued new guidance today on considering climate change in environmental impact statements.  Here are the key points: Quantification.  The guidance recommends that agencies quantify projected direct and indirect emissions, using the amount of emissions as a proxy for the eventual impact on climate change.  The EIS should also […]

Continue Reading

The Aviation Endangerment Finding

airplane CO2

While we are watching the political conventions, EPA took an important step forward

Last Monday, EPA issued a formal finding that carbon emissions from commercial aviation endanger human health and welfare.   Understanding the significance of the finding requires a little background. Section 231(a)(2) of the Clean Air Act directs the EPA Administrator to “issue proposed emission standards applicable to the emission of any air pollutant from any class […]

Continue Reading

A Clash of Visions

Trump_&_Clinton

The two parties couldn’t disagree more about energy policy.

In every election, there are people who claim that both parties are alike. That’s certainly not true about energy policy this year.The distance between the tickets can be expressed numerically: Kaine has a 91% lifetime score of from the League of Conservation Voters, while Pence’s is 4%. And the differences between the presidential candidates are equally […]

Continue Reading

Tim Kaine and the Environment

Tim Kaine

Despite some blemishes, he deserves strong support from environmentalists.

I reported last week on Mike Pence’s environmental record. This week, Tim Kaine is the one in the spotlight. Only a few minutes ago, Clinton announced that he was her choice – pretty much what the press had predicted for the last day or two. Environmentalists have a lot of reason to be happy about […]

Continue Reading