Battle for the Senate: North Carolina


An unexpectedly close Senate race in the Tar Heel State.

The North Carolina case features Deborah Ross (D) against incumbent Richard Burr (R). Neither is a well-known figure nationally. Ross was a lawyer and state representative. More surprisingly for a candidate in a Southern swing state, she served as executive director for the state ACLU. Her website reports that she had a 94 percent lifetime score from […]

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Battle for the Senate: Missouri


The Missouri Senate seat is unexpectedly in play.

Missouri, the “Show Me” state, wasn’t on my original list of states with close Senate races. But the race has tightened since then, rather surprisingly. It pits incumbent Republican Roy Blunt against Jason Kander, an Afghanistan War veteran who is currently Secretary of State. Kander doesn’t have much of a track record on environmental issues. […]

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Surveying Climate Change Law


In only 25 years, a dynamic new field of law has taken root.

Climate Change Law, the first volume of Elgar’s Encyclopedia of Environmental Law has just appeared.  There are a number of excellent edited collections about aspects of climate change law. What distinguishes this one is that breadth of the coverage, including both international and domestic aspects of carbon reduction and adaptation to climate change. The book confirms how quickly climate change […]

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The Clean Power Plan Oral Arguments


After marathon hearing, EPA comes out on top

Greetings, Legal Planet readers! As many of you know, I left the UCLA Law community several months ago for a new position in the environmental law world. But today, I emerge from blog-retirement for one very special post: insights from Tuesday’s oral arguments in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals over EPA’s Clean Power Plan. […]

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Trump Embraces His Inner Denialist

Donald Trump

Nobody loves coal, oil and gas more than Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has pledged to wipe out Obama’s climate change efforts, including the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement.  His choice to head the transition team for EPA shows how little his view of climate change has evolved since he tweeted that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to […]

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Energy Policies Worthy of Debate


Ten questions to ask Clinton and Trump about energy policy.

As we enter the brief debate season prior to the presidential elections, it is easy to anticipate that we won’t see much time set aside for discussing energy policy. That’s not the case for the graduate students in an energy policy class I am currently teaching at the Goldman School of Public Policy. Last week, […]

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California Enacts Legislation Targeting Short-Lived Climate Pollutants


The statute codifies the goals set by the Governor and ARB

On Monday, Governor Brown signed SB 1383 into law, establishing statewide targets for reducing what are known as “short-lived climate pollutants,” which I have discussed in previous posts. The law requires a 40% reduction in both methane and hydrofluorocarbon gases (HFCs) below 2013 levels, and a 50% reduction in black carbon from 2013 level. Legislators […]

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Obama’s Public Lands Conservation Legacy

Progress, but still much more to do

President Obama has gotten some high praise lately from the New York Times editorial board, and this op-ed from Prof. David Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice noted for his biography of President Theodore Roosevelt.  Brinkley compares Obama favorably to Teddy Roosevelt for his conservation legacy. The specific recent actions by President Obama that prompted […]

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The Downward Political Spiral of a Declining Industry


As the coal industry weakens economically, it also loses political clout.

Tighter regulation contributes to an environmentally dirty industry’s economic decline, which reduces its political clout, which allows more regulation, further weakening the industry.  Coal is prime example. The coal industry’s economic plight is well-known.  Coal production is the lowest since a major strike 35 years ago. In fact, my colleagues at the business school report that coal […]

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The future politics of cap-and-trade in California

It doesn’t look so good for the oil and gas industry

As Ann and Ethan both noted, two major pieces of climate legislation were passed by the California legislature this week, and Governor Brown has promised to sign both bills.  Overall, the legislation extends the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals (which were originally to reach 1990 levels of emissions by 2020) out to a 40% reduction […]

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