Climate Change

Weakening Vehicle Standards Ignores Decades of Successful Innovation in Emissions Control

EPA appears poised to abdicate their responsibility to protect public health

As my colleague Ann Carlson explained, the EPA is expected to announce a catastrophic rollback this week to freeze national vehicle emission and fuel economy standards and challenge California’s authority to set their own, more stringent standards. The Trump EPA’s decision to weaken the vehicle standards despite thorough midterm reviews by both the Obama-era EPA and California that […]

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Wheeler EPA Looking to Freeze Auto Standards, Revoke California Waiver

Lawsuits will follow

According to a Bloomberg report this morning, the Trump Administration, under new EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, will release a proposal later this week to freeze greenhouse gas emission and fuel economy standards at 2020 levels. The effect is that automakers will face standards of about 35 miles per gallon rather than seeing the standards increase […]

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Responsibility for Historic Harm

Tort law embodies our society’s view of fairness. What does teach us about climate change?

Is it fair to hold companies responsible for past emissions, even if they didn’t know at the time the emissions were harmful? Shouldn’t it be a defense that they didn’t appreciate the risk at the time?Not if tort law is any guide. Tort law imposes liability for ongoing harm even though a company did not […]

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1½ Years of Trump

Where are we, after continual environmental assaults by Trump, Pruitt, and Zinke?

Trump has been in office for a year and a half. Where do thing stand? How permanent will the damage be to environmental protection? Answer: bad, but not nearly as it might have been. The degree of resistance especially impressive when you consider the circumstances just how much of American government is controlled by Republicans.  […]

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Safeguarding Climate Policies

There are several strategies for insulating climate policy from leaders like Trump.

Trump’s election was a surprise. What should not be a surprise is the inevitability of political setbacks for climate policy. We saw that in the U.S. with the shift from Clinton to Bush and then from Obama to Trump. We also saw that in Australia where it meant the repeal of a promising emissions trading […]

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Hot Enough Yet?

Apparently not.

Two weeks ago, my family vacation took us past the self-proclaimed “world’s largest thermometer,” in Baker, California, which read 111 degrees when we visited it–the hottest air temperature my kids had ever felt.  Back at UCLA we’re feeling the heat today, too, with much of the LA basin scorching in record temperatures.  L.A.’s heat wave […]

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Quick Thoughts on Scott Pruitt resignation as EPA Administrator

Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Former Coal Lobbyist, to Serve as Acting Administrator

As Dan Farber just pointed out, President Trump announced minutes ago via Twitter that Scott Pruitt is (finally) stepping down as Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency.  Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the coal industry, will serve as Acting Administrator pending confirmation of a new Administrator.  I have a few quick […]

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NEWSFLASH: Pruitt Resigns

Under pressure, Pruitt finally exits EPA.

President Trump tweeted today that he had accepted Scott Pruitt’s resignation and appointed Robert Wheeler as Acting Administrator of EPA.  Wheeler is likely to be just as bad on policy and could well be more competent and effective than Pruitt. But Pruitt was a disgrace to the office, and it is good to see him […]

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Trump’s Dubious Bailout

It’s unlikely that a bailout will have more than a temporary effect. Assuming it holds up in court, that is.

Trump plans to use national security powers to prop up uneconomic coal and nuclear plants.  Rick Perry says the government is trying to figure out the cost of this effort – but he doesn’t seem to care what that cost would be. After all, he says, “You cannot put a dollar figure on the cost to keep […]

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What Does Justice Kennedy’s Retirement Mean for Environmental Protection?

Short Answer: It’s Not Good

The news that Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring has ramifications for many important areas in constitutional law, including affirmative action, same-sex marriage, and abortion.  His vote was also pivotal in many environmental cases.  Justice Kennedy will almost certainly be replaced by a more conservative justice. If that justice votes with the conservative wing of the […]

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