Climate Change

Carbon Vouchers: A Small-Government Approach to Climate Action

How to limit climate change without giving the Feds enforcement powers or revenue.

What I’m going to sketch here isn’t a zero government approach. But the government’s role is very limited: federal agencies don’t do any enforcement and the government doesn’t touch any revenue from the scheme. So this approach deals with the concern that a carbon tax or something similar would either expand EPA’s ability to abuse […]

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Has EPA’s Proposed NSPS Expired?

Expired

Responding to claims that EPA must withdraw its proposed rules to control power-plant GHGs under CAA § 111

Challenges to EPA’s emergent program to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under Clean Air Act section 111 continue to mount. Recently, the Attorneys General of 19 states sent a joint letter to EPA arguing that because EPA failed to finalize its proposed New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) for GHG emissions within one year—as the Clean […]

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Climate Gag Rules and the First Amendment

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Are climate gag rules constitutional? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

There have been recent reports about state agencies that forbid employees from discussing climate change.  Since this is obviously a restriction on speech, it’s natural to wonder what the First Amendment has to say on the subject.  The answer depends in large part on the kind of employee speech at issue. Let’s being with a ban […]

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The Brazilian Deforestation Puzzle

La concesion de Dona Felicitas

Deforestation went down for a decade. Now it's going up. The reasons aren't clear.

Brazil’s rate of deforestation went down dramatically over the last ten years. It’s not completely clear why that’s happened. The trend now seems to be reversing (or at least encountering an upward blip). But it’s not clear why that’s happening either. I wish I had a clear explanation to give you. A big part of […]

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Los Angeles Releases First-Ever Urban Sustainability “pLAn”

pLAn

Envisioning greener energy, cleaner air, and reduced consumption in LA by 2035

Perhaps no metropolis is better positioned than Los Angeles to pioneer ground-breaking environmental initiatives. As the second-largest U.S. city, and with the country’s largest municipally owned utility, a world-class research university–UCLA, and the blessings of abundant sunshine and a temperate Mediterranean climate, Los Angeles could serve as a global model for urban sustainability. Today, the […]

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Stick a Lemon In It

Lemon

Are recent East Bay water troubles a taste of what lies ahead?

What makes a city world-renowned? For New York (according to the NYC Department of Environmental Protection), it’s the quality of its drinking water. Should this be so surprising? After all, what more fundamental connection does a city have to its residents and visitors than the life-sustaining water that it provides? Recent events in San Francisco’s […]

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The Case Against Sulking

Let's Destroy the Environment!

States will only lose out if they refuse to cooperate with the Clean Power Plan.

Mitch McConnell has urged states to refuse to submit plans if the Clean Power Plan is upheld by the Court.  He has been accused of inciting lawless behavior on the part of state governments.  Let me come to his defense on this.  (How often do I get to do that??) The states are under no legal obligation […]

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Should the WTO Run International Climate Policy?

WTO Logo

William Nordhaus' New Paper Implies That It Should

Last Thursday, Ethan explained the difficulties with attempting to craft a new international climate treaty, and suggested biting off more snackable chunks to work on the problem piece-by-piece (a recommendation I have also made). Now, hot off the presses, the new American Economic Review features a lead article by William Nordhaus suggesting climate clubs as […]

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The Futility Of An International Climate Treaty

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A scaled-down, step-by-step approach might yield more results

Call it Kyoto Syndrome, but each year for the past few decades we hear hopeful things about the upcoming negotiations for the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.” These discussions usually take place in some far-flung world capital, but they seem to always result in a nothing sandwich. In 2009, President Obama embarrassed himself […]

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Conference On California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plans for “2030 and Beyond”

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California State Bar Environmental Law Section will hold daylong event on April 16th in Downtown Oakland

The California State Bar Environmental Law Section is holding a conference on April 16th entitled “2030 and Beyond: The Next Phase of Greenhouse Gas Reduction in California.” The event is co-sponsored by Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE). As Legal Planet readers know, AB 32’s 2020 due date is soon approaching […]

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