I am writing this weekend from a sunny spot in the Pacific, from the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu. For the uninitiated, the IUCN—International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources—is a global union of governments and non-governmental organizations (including over 1300 member institutions, organizations, and countries worldwide) focused on the conservation of […]
Culture & Ethics
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 […]
The Libertarian Party platform leaves many open questions about environmental protection.
A number of people seem drawn to the Libertarian Party during this election cycle. As it turns out, the Party believes not only in minimal government but a minimal platform. Compared to the platforms of the major parties, the Libertarian platform is blessedly brief. (It also seems notably more purist than the Party’s presidential ticket.) […]
Fireworks leave behind a lot of pollutants
As a kid on the South Side of Chicago, summertime meant seeing White Sox games at Comiskey Park (technically now called U.S. Cellular Park, but I will never call it that). If the Sox won, there were fireworks. And on Saturdays, there were fireworks even if they didn’t. I have a distinct memory of asking […]
Anticipating modern environmental views, Jefferson viewed nature as a public trust.
This being the Fourth of July, it seems appropriate to talk about Jefferson’s relationship with nature. A revealing example involves some land he owned between Lexington and Roanoke. Two years before the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson purchased 157 acres of land from the King. He bought the land because it contained a remarkable feature — a 200-foot […]
Taking environmental law education outdoors
Lawyers spend their lives among tree slices (using 20,000-100,00 sheets of paper per attorney annually), but distressingly little time among whole trees. This became evident when I hauled a class of bemused clinical environmental law students up a wooded slope near the UC Berkeley campus this spring for a lesson spanning ecology, agency jurisdiction, and […]
The challenge of developing and decarbonizing at the same time
Mexico has been busy. Or at least, its energy and environmental ministers have been. Over the last several years, Mexico has held its first auction for renewable energy contracts, opened its energy market to private competitors, and increased its renewable energy capacity by more than thirty times the level in 2008. At the same time, […]
Campaign takes a strange turn on April 1
Donald Trump apparently opened a new front in his war with Ted Cruz last night with this tweet: “My climate plan is HUGE! Ted’s plan is tiny, tiny, tiny.” Cruz immediately struck back: “Trump’s climate plan is as small as his hands!” Establishment Republicans were appalled that the presidential campaign had reached a new low. […]
Hollywood Stars Might Not Be the Best Public Critics of the Fossil Fuel Industry
Canada’s new Liberal government can hardly be accused of being soft on climate change: at the recent Paris Summit it endorsed a target of holding global warming to 1.5 Degrees Celsius over historic levels. So when you hear this from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, listen: Most recently in Davos on Wednesday, [Leonardo] DiCaprio used a […]
Examining the role of moderators in Presidential debates
On Sunday night, the three remaining candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination took the stage in South Carolina for the third Democratic primary debate. I was pleased that one of the video questions of the night asked the candidates for their plan to address climate change. Although the Democratic candidates have discussed climate change policies […]