General

Former Massey Energy CEO Sentenced to Prison for Actions Leading to 2010 Coal Mine Disaster

AR-141119629

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 […]

Continue Reading

Understanding Climate Skepticism

Four hypotheses to explain the endurance of climate skeptics

2015 was the warmest year on record.  Sea level rise has been accelerating in recent decades. To myself and, I suspect, most readers of this blog, human-induced climate change is undeniable in the face of such developments, posing fundamental challenges to human well-being and biodiversity around the globe and into the future. Climate change is here and […]

Continue Reading

The Rise of “Cli-Fi”

climate swindle

What the Humanities Can Teach us About Climate Change Narratives

Over the past decade, an entire genre of climate skeptic literature has emerged. As many readers of this blog may well have experienced firsthand in personal conversations, climate skeptics are often very intelligent and may well hold advanced degrees. Dan Kahan’s work has made clear that climate skepticism derives as much from deeply-held values as […]

Continue Reading

Solving The Energy Efficiency Puzzle

Powering the Savings MARCH 2016 Cover

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, […]

Continue Reading

Mitigating the Climate Impacts of Aliso Canyon

Equipment and machinery is seen on a ridge above a natural gas well known as SS25 in Southern California Gas Company's vast Aliso Canyon facility. Pressure on the company has been mounting as residents of nearby Porter Ranch deal with the odor resulting from a leak at the well which was discovered on October 23. 12/14/2015

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 […]

Continue Reading

Labor Mobility and Environmental Regulation

unemployment rate

Net job loss is small, but the effects of regulation might leave some workers stranded.

Regulators should give some thought to issues of labor mobility, which may be smaller than economists have assumed. Recent studies show that people who lost manufacturing jobs due to competition from China often failed to get new jobs in other places or sectors of the economy.  Regulation can also cause some individual to lose their […]

Continue Reading

A Sea Change in Climate Politics

sea level rise

Something strange has happened in Florida: Rising seas have changed GOP views.

There was a surprise question about climate change at the last Republican debate.  What was surprising wasn’t the question itself.  Instead, it was the source of the question: Tomás Regalado, the Republican mayor of Miami. It turns out that this wasn’t a fluke. Regalado and the Republican mayor of Miami Beach have spoken out in an […]

Continue Reading

Creating An Exit Strategy for Our Use of Natural Gas

Natural Gas as a Bridge Fuel

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 […]

Continue Reading

UCLA Law and Berkeley Law Are Recognized Among Top Five Environmental Law Programs in New U.S. News Rankings

Environmental Law Programs Thrive in California's Public Universities

I’m pleased to report that the environmental law programs at both UCLA Law and Berkeley Law are among the top five in the country, according to the new U.S. News and World Report law school specialty ranking for this year.  Berkeley is ranked #4, and UCLA is ranked #5.  (Technically, there are six top-five schools, […]

Continue Reading

Judge Garland Has a Strong Record of Environmental Protection

Merrick_Garland

If Ever Confirmed, He's a Good Bet to Uphold the Clean Power Plan

President Obama’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland, has a record on the D.C. Circuit Court  that environmentalists should celebrate. He is almost always deferential to agency interpretations of statutes, including environmental ones (SCOTUSblog has a good summary of his record through 2010 on agency deference). When he has not deferred to […]

Continue Reading