Environmental Science

Global market for ecosystem services surges to $36 billion in annual transactions

New article in Nature Sustainability tracks global payments for ecosystems services

In the early 1990s, New York City began paying for land management in the Catskills watershed to ensure safe drinking water for the city, avoiding the cost of building an expensive water treatment plant. New York City provides just one example of a growing number of programs – called payments for ecosystem services (PES) – […]

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Progress on California water data

Michael Kiparsky and Alida Cantor

Water data has become quite a hot topic in California, and rightly so: throughout the state, decision-makers desperately need better information to guide their efforts to better manage this resource. Recent legislation has gotten us to the starting line, but how well new data platforms ultimately serve water management will depend on clear thinking and […]

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Cities are suing oil companies for climate change harms. Could they win?

Join UCLA Law Emmett Institute and Union of Concerned Scientists for January 25 evening talk on new climate lawsuits

Who should pay for the significant costs that cities and other local governments incur in responding to climate change? Los Angeles is the most recent city to explore the idea of suing fossil fuel companies for these harms, following in the footsteps of San Francisco, San Mateo County and a growing cohort of other jurisdictions […]

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The science of the Anthropocene

Human impacts on global natural systems are large and diverse

Climate change is well known now as a major impact of humans on the planet.  But climate change is only one of a wide range of ways in which humans are dramatically changing natural systems at the regional, continental and planetary levels. For instance, greenhouse gas emissions are the driver of anthropogenic climate change.  But […]

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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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