Federal Climate Policy

Scott Pruitt: “What, me worry?”

The right question about greenhouse gas emissions is not whether there is an “ideal” global temperature regime, but what problems rapid regime shifts produce

(Readers of a certain age will understand the reference, and see the resemblance. If that’s not you, never mind. But read on for a little less snark and a little more analysis.) According to the Washington Post, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wondered in a television interview Tuesday whether global warming “necessarily is a bad thing,” […]

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The Story Behind a Political Breakthrough

Congress passed a 2017 law recognizing climate change as a serious threat. How did THAT happen?

Last month, Congress passed and Trump signed a provision in the Defense Authorization Act that designates climate change a serious threat to national security. That was a historic first. I blogged about the bill last month, but it seemed worthwhile to investigate this surprising development further. Although there’s no direct evidence, there are strong indications […]

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What’s Ahead in 2018? The Top Five Things to Watch For.

2018 will be a big year for environmental law, either for good or for bad.

2016 was a huge year in environmental law, with big achievements like the Paris Agreement and huge disappointments like the presidential election.  By contrast, 2017 was pretty predictable: Trump did just what he promised during the campaign.  The year ahead of us will have some big events to watch out for.  Here are my nominations […]

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The Off-Switch is Inside the Fenceline

Pruitt’s argument for repealing the Clean Power Plan has a logical flaw.

The Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan would require utilities to improve efficiency at coal-fired power plants and reduce the use of those plants in favor of generators using natural gas or renewables. Head of EPA Scott Pruitt claims EPA can only require CO2 cuts that can be accomplished by utilities “inside the fenceline” of a […]

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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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The Roots of Regulatory Robustness

What makes regulations politically robust or fragile when Administrations change?

We’ve seen a lot of regulatory innovations in the past decade. Many are under attack, and that underscores the importance of understanding what makes some innovations more robust than others. I don’t have a general theory to offer about what gives some regulations more ability than others to withstand adverse political shifts. But it’s instructive […]

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Republican Tax Bill Would Devastate Renewable Energy & Affordable Housing

Proposed tax code changes would destroy the market for tax credit financing

Donald Trump’s electoral college win a year ago certainly promised a lot of setbacks for the environmental movement. True to form, his administration’s attempts this year to roll back environmental protections, under-staff key agencies enforcing our environmental laws, and prop up dirty energy industries have all taken their toll. However, until the tax bill passed […]

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The Top 10 Things to Be Thankful For (Environmental Version)

It hasn’t been a good year, to say the least. But there are some things to be thankful for.

Overall, it’s been a pretty lousy year since last Thanksgiving.  If you care about the environment, there are a lot of things NOT to be thankful for, or rather one big thing in the form of He Who Must Not Be Named. But there are also some  things for which we should feel thankful, many  of […]

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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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Hot Off the Presses: An Intro to Climate Change Law and Policy

The Paris Agreement. The Clean Power Plan. Geo-Engineering. Trump. And there’s more!

I’m really excited to announce the publication of Climate Change Law: Concepts & Insights (Foundation Press 2017), by Cinnamon Carlarne and me. There are lots of great scholarly tomes on the subject — either monographs or collected volumes.  But there really hasn’t been anything that provides a comprehensive introduction to climate law as a whole, […]

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