Culture & Ethics

The Missing of Summer Lawns*

lawn photo

It's Time to End the Wasteful Practice of Irrigating California's Residential Landscaping With Fresh Water

What a difference a drought makes. Once upon a time, a fundamental attribute of home ownership in California and the American West was an expansive, verdant lawn surrounding private homes, townhouses and apartment complexes. Indeed, some communities have historically imposed permit conditions or adopted local ordinances mandating the inclusion and maintenance of lush, healthy lawns […]

Continue Reading

How Legalizing Marijuana Could Help Fight Climate Change

06102009-grow_house

The link between indoor grow operations and energy data

Now that the two states that just legalized marijuana sent their football teams to the Superbowl this year, it’s clear that the stars are aligning for legalizing marijuana nationwide. Sure, legalizing marijuana makes fiscal, moral, and practical sense, but what about the benefits to the environment? Well, it turns out that even the fight against […]

Continue Reading

What Martin Luther King DIDN’T Say

330px-Martin_Luther_King_Jr_NYWTS

Issues like the environment and animal rights weren't on his radar screen.

Since tomorrow is Martin Luther King day, I was curious about whether Dr. King had ever said anything about the environment.  When I did a google search, this quotation popped up over and over again: “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. […]

Continue Reading

Conspiracy!

Conspiracy_theory_poster

Even as conspiracy theories go, the

Some members of Congress — not to mention any number of bloggers — think climate change is a hoax.  Most famously, Senator Inhofe has said: With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that manmade global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American […]

Continue Reading

The Rhetoric of Cap and Trade

bsr005

Different ways of framing the concept of cap and trade help drive the public debate.

Discussions of cap and trade tend to frame it in various ways, which often skews the debate.  These different frameworks guide the thoughts of both supporters and critics, sometimes in surprising ways.  There are four different ways to talk about cap and trade, and they tend to lead the debate in very different directions. The […]

Continue Reading

Better Standards for Designing City Streets That Work for People and the Environment

nacto-urban-streets-design-standards1

In 2010, Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment, through its City Streets Project, and the Berkeley School of Environmental Design’s Center for Resource Efficient Communities issued a report that looked at the ways in which industry standards for street design can interfere with efforts to make streets more pedestrian-friendly and the encourage […]

Continue Reading

Market Manipulation in the Renewable Fuel Market Does Not Mean Market Manipulation in California’s Cap-and-Trade Program

wall street

It remains to be seen whether EPA will respond to the Times article by regulating the renewable fuel market in a way that virtually all other environmental trading markets do.

The New York Times article yesterday about Wall Street firms exploiting the market for renewable fuel credits and driving up prices could leave some observers worrying about the integrity of California’s market for carbon allowances under its cap-and-trade program.  It shouldn’t. Here’s why.

Continue Reading

Lies, Damned Lies, and Climate Denial

One key question is whether these statements amounted to factual accusations that Mann had engaged in scientific misconduct.

A D.C. trial judge recently refused to dismiss climate scientist Michael Mann’s libel lawsuits against the National Review and the Competitiveness Institute.  There are some serious constitutional barriers against such libel suits, which are designed to provide ample breathing room for free speech.  Is this one of the rare cases that can jump the hurdles?

Continue Reading

The Shape of Things to Come

The American Meteorological Society has released a report about the link between recent extreme events and climate change.  Such attribution studies are very tricky, since natural variability is high.  The most that can usually be said is that events of a certain magnitude have become more likely with climate change.  The AMS report reflects a […]

Continue Reading