Environmental Science

Law in the Anthropocene Era

Human impacts on our planet will trigger changes in our legal system

As becomes more and more evident every day, climate change is increasingly a dominant and sometimes devastating factor for human society and natural systems on a global scale. Much has been, and will continue to be, written about how we as a society can reduce the future impacts of climate change and adapt to the […]

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Truth Will Out.

At least 3 times, the Administration has admitted the reality and dangers of climate change.

Despite all the efforts at disinformation, the Trump Administration has let the truth slip out. On four occasions, the Administration has issued or signed warnings about climate change. One is an act of Congress.  I’ll begin with the most recent and most significant example. Last Tuesday, Trump signed the Defense Authorization Act, HR 1810. The […]

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Of Dreamliners and Drinking Water

pipes

Michael Kiparsky and Christian Binz

As we have written previously, potable water reuse (recycling water to augment water supplies) is a promising way to diversify urban water supply portfolios. Direct potable water reuse (DPR), the injection of highly purified wastewater into drinking water systems, is among the newest, and most controversial, methods for augmenting water supplies. DPR is garnering increasing […]

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It’s Official: Climate Change is Real and It’s Serious

The Administration allowed a key scientific report to come out. They’ll have trouble explaining it away.

The release of the Fourth National Climate Assessment got some attention from the press.  The press mostly focused on the forthright endorsement of climate science by the NCA4 report — something of a surprise in the anti-science Trump Administration.  That was indeed notable, but there are other features of the report that will make it […]

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Disaster Resilience: Inching Forward, Sliding Back

We’re slowing improving disaster resilience. But there have been some notable setbacks.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes.  The same is true for disasters. We are slowly getting better at mitigating disaster risks.  These improvements don’t generally take the form of dramatic breakthroughs.  Rather they involve incremental progress on a number of fronts. For instance, homes that were constructed […]

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Politicizing Science

The Trump Administration is doubling down on its efforts to silence politically inconvenient science.

We knew about the Administration’s disdain for scientific evidence from the beginning but the situation has only continued to deteriorate.  The campaign against objective science is now becoming embedded within the government.  Far more than its predecessors, the Administration has embarked on a campaign to impose political control on science within the government and in […]

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Ryan Zinke’s Troubling Remarks Undercut Dept. of Interior’s Core Mission

Comments to Oil Trade Association Attack Agency Staff, Dismiss Environmental Safeguards

At a recent meeting of the American Petroleum Institute (the national oil company trade association), Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made clear some of his plans for the Department of the Interior.  According to AP reporting, he called almost 1/3 of employees disloyal, said he plans to speed up oil and logging permits, and revealed a […]

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Environmental Protection and the Rule of Law

A Report from the Second Inter-American Congress on Environmental Rule of Law

I am back from attending the Second Inter-American Congress on Environmental Rule of Law, hosted by the Supreme Court of Chile in Santiago and planned by the Organization of American States, UN Environment, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, and other partners. For the past five years since the 2012 Rio+20 conference (20 years after the […]

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Pushing Back Against Presidential Power

It’s time to rethink the amount of power presidents have claimed over regulatory policy.

If there was ever a time to think hard about presidential power, that time is now. That’s a very broad question, but the part most relevant for this blog is the President’s role in controlling government regulation. There is no question that presidents have and will continue to have a huge influence on regulatory policy. […]

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Obsolete Arguments Against Climate Action

Conservatives keep repeating the same arguments, even though the world has changed.

There used to be some fairly plausible arguments against fighting climate change. I don’t mean crackpot theories about hoaxes or the “I’m not a scientist” hokum. Instead, the arguments I have in mind could be made with a straight face by serious people. I don’t think these arguments were ever truly persuasive, but they weren’t […]

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