Federal Climate Policy

Scott Pruitt, Senator Harris and the California Question

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California leadership in peril?

Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, elided many questions yesterday and made some somewhat surprising commitments to appease Senate Democrats in response to others (acknowledging that humans are at least partially responsible for climate change; saying he’ll use the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases).  But his response to […]

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Rex Tillerson Disappoints

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The nominee gave vague, canned answers on climate change

Today’s confirmation hearing of Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, has concluded. During the day, there were two impassioned exchanges about climate change, during which Tillerson revealed how naive environmentalists were that he might be able to sway Trump on the issue. First, Senator Tim Kaine (our almost-VP) excoriated Tillerson on ExxonMobil’s record […]

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Obama’s Final Words on Climate Change

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Final words as President, that is.

In his Farewell Address, President Obama had this to say about climate change: “Take the challenge of climate change.  In just eight years, we’ve halved our dependence on foreign oil, doubled our renewable energy, and led the world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet.  But without bolder action, our children […]

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Guest Blogger David Spence: Another Take on the Tillerson Nomination

Hearings on the nomination of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be President-elect Donald Trump’s Secretary of State are scheduled to begin on January 11th.  The nomination puts Tillerson and his company at the vortex of a whirlwind of public grievances about ExxonMobil’s positions on climate science and Russian influence over American politics and policy.  While […]

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2016: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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“But except for that, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?” It’s an old joke, for all I know going back to 1865. That was 2016,too, in a way. Like Mrs. Lincoln’s evening at Ford’s Theater, 2016 contained a lot of good things, some bad things, and then disaster. Here’s a list of each. The […]

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Update on the Litigation Over EPA’s Rule Controlling Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New Power Plants

Xcel Energy's Sherburne County (Sherco) Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant, near Becker, Minnesota, Tony Webster.  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

UCLA Faculty File Amicus Brief on Behalf of Technological Innovation Experts

Late in 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency issued New Source Performance Standards to control greenhouse gas emissions from new and modified fossil-fuel-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act. This regulation is a companion to the more-often-discussed Clean Power Plan rule, which addresses greenhouse gas emissions from existing sources in the power generation sector. Last […]

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Legal Mandates to Consider the Social Cost of Climate Change

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Considering climate impacts isn’t just a good idea. It’s the law.

Many people seem to think that considering climate impacts and the social cost of carbon was just a policy decision by the Obama Administration, which Trump if he doesn’t buy the reality of climate change. But it’s not that easy.  But there are strong arguments that considering climate change is mandatory. First, the whole idea of considering […]

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Trump Has Thrown Down the Gauntlet

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Trump’s latest cabinet appointment confirms the pattern: he plans to govern from the far Right.

Given that Trump has shifted his positions so often, there’s always been at least a faint hope that he would rethink his vehement opposition to environmental protection. True, he had called climate change a Chinese hoax, but he later said he had an open mind about the Paris Agreement and then he had an apparently […]

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And the EPA Pick Is…

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

According to reports this morning, the EPA pick will be Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. We’ll hear more about him in the coming days.  For me, the story that sticks out most about him is this one – revealing his history of copying and pasting letters written by fossil fuel lobbyists and sending them under […]

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Gone, Baby, Gone: The Death of Appalachian Coal

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It’s not just cheap natural gas. Even a coal industry revival wouldn’t help Appalachia.

Trump has promised to end the “war on coal” and bring the industry roaring back. The NY Times appropriately called this a “cruel promise,” because cheap natural gas has driven coal to its knees economically.  That won’t change under Trump, who has promised even more fracking and gas production.  But, as it turns out, even […]

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