Every year, Californians send about 30 million tons of trash to landfills. While the state’s residents do their part to reduce, reuse and recycle, that’s still a whole lot of garbage. It’s not only a land use issue, it’s a climate change issue: as landfill waste decays, it emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Many […]
A floor price would encourage energy efficient cars and generate revenue.
The price of gasoline fluctuates like crazy, tracking the price of oil. In a recent blog post and an earlier paper, my colleagues at the business school have put forward a really innovative proposal: a minimum price for gasoline. When oil costs go below a certain level, gas prices would stay stuck at that point. […]
What Broader Environmental and Worker Safety Enforcement Lessons Can Be Learned Here?
A federal district judge on Wednesday sentenced Don Blankenship, the former Chief Executive of Massey Energy, to serve one year in federal prison–the maximum term allowed by law–and to personally pay a criminal penalty of $250,000 for Blankenship’s acts of omission and commission that led to the notorious 2010 coal mining disaster at Massey’s Upper […]
Supporting EPA’s regulation of power-sector carbon emissions
Today, several of us at UCLA Law School’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment—me, Cara Horowitz, Sarah Duffy, & Ann Carlson—together with Professor William Boyd of University of Colorado Law School, filed an amici curiae brief on behalf of five electric grid experts in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan” […]
New report recommends ways that California can encourage more private financing of energy efficiency retrofits
Much of our efforts to reduce carbon emissions involves fairly complicated and advanced technologies. Whether it’s solar panels, batteries, flywheels, or fuel cells, these technologies have typically required public support to bring them to scale at a reasonable price, along with significant regulatory or legal reforms to accommodate these new ways of doing old things, […]
Some green patches in one of the reddest of the Red States.
The Texas AG’s office seems to do little else besides battle against EPA, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz is in the vanguard of anti-environmentalism. Yet even in Texas there are some rays of hope. While Texas is attacking the Clean Power Plan, the city of Houston is leading a coalition of cities defending it. Other […]
Staff from California Air Resources Board released the Draft Aliso Canyon Methane Leak Climate Impacts Mitigation Program last week. While the program has yet to gain approval by the Board, the final version will probably not change much. Overall, the Draft Program signals ARB’s desire to take full advantage of the political will and financial […]
David Spence is Professor of Law, Politics & Regulation at the University of Texas at Austin
Recently the New York Times published an article chronicling the financial problems experienced by one of the world’s premier developers of concentrated solar power (CSP) facilities. The financial headwinds facing CSP are a sign of a more fundamental problem electricity markets face: namely, capturing all of the important values we attach to electricity production. Most […]
To meet long-term greenhouse gas reduction goals, all fossil fuels have to go, even natural gas.
Coal is the climate’s Public Enemy #1. The use of natural gas has helped to ensure that the coal problem has not become even worse. Without natural gas, we would use more coal for space heating and for many more industrial processes than is currently the practice. Without natural gas, our reliance on coal for […]
What's happened since then?
Five years ago today, Japan was hit by a huge earthquake and tsunami, resulting in the Fukushima reactor meltdowns. Where do things stand today? Here’s a quick wrap-up: Compensation. TEPCO, the utility operating the reactors, now estimates that it will pay $56 billion in compensation to victims. Clean-up. The plant has been stabilized, according to […]