Disaster Law

Los Angeles Heat Waves, Electricity Use and Climate Change

Heat-Wave-Hot-Weather---24161103

It is 102 degrees in Los Angeles as I write this.  Not in the San Fernando Valley or in the communities east of Los Angeles whose temperatures are regularly several degrees higher but in downtown Los Angeles.  We’re in record heat territory and way above historical averages.  But temperatures aren’t the only records that are […]

Continue Reading

Climate Change Adaptation Strategy: Can California Do More?

Is Increased Reliance on the Public Trust Doctrine an Essential Part of Effective State Adaptation Policy?

I often tell students in my Climate Change Law and Policy course that adaptation–that is, how we can best adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change–is the poor stepchild of the debate over greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.  By that I mean that climate change mitigation (i.e., how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions) generates far more […]

Continue Reading

Insurance for Climate Disasters

climate change

Nobel-prize winning economist Robert Schiller has a New York Times op-ed about the need for insurance against risks of climate change.  Speaking of the latest U.S. climate assessment, he writes: After discussing how to mitigate the coming dangers, the report says, “Commercially available mechanisms such as insurance can also play a role in providing protection against […]

Continue Reading

In Harm’s Way

flooding near Key West

Millions of people are in the path of rising seas. The time for action is now.

The NY Times has run a series of articles in the past few days dealing with disaster issues.  Taken together, they highlight the urgency of government action to protect populations in harm’s way. One article dealt generally with the threat posed by sea level rise. Miami is something of a poster-child for these problems, given its […]

Continue Reading

Private Flood Protection

31BLOCKS1-articleLarge

Private flood control is no substitute for government action.

Last week, the NY Times had a story about Verizon’s new flood barrier for its Wall Street building, which is a designated landmark. On one level, it’s a pretty cool project — a portable barrier designed to keep out the water during a hundred-year storm (plus  2-feet for storm surge plus an extra foot to […]

Continue Reading

Adaptation to Increased Fire Risk in the South West

Read this WSJ article and you will see some “small ball” optimism about adapting to increased fire risk.  Permit me to quote one wise retired professor; “Paul Ohlenbusch, a 73-year-old former professor, lives in a retirement community north of Austin, Texas, an area plagued by drought for several years. To protect his home from possible […]

Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rejects Water Agency’s “Area of Origin” Water Rights Claim

Responding to the current drought conditions confronting California, state and federal water project officials have announced cutbacks in anticipated water deliveries this summer and fall from both the Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project.  It’s with that sobering backdrop that a recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit […]

Continue Reading

Not Enough Money in the Pipeline

When regulators approve rates for a utility such as Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), they are making their best guess as to how much money the company will need to cover various kinds of activities. The utility starts out the process by offering its position on how much it will need for things like […]

Continue Reading