The latest Conference of the Parties (COP) in Warsaw didn’t make headlines — more like footnotes. Two things have become clear. First, the formal UN negotiations are only part of the transnational development of climate policy. And second, the UN negotiations are moving slowly and fitfully, but they are making progress. Neither of these things […]
In the short run, limiting the filibuster will strengthen the hands of environmental regulators. What about the long run effects?
The filibuster arguably served a useful function when it allowed the minority to block action in extraordinary cases where its views were especially intense. It became no longer tolerable when it became a routine barrier to Senate action. Last week, the Senate abolished filibusters for nominations (except the Supreme Court). What does this mean for environmental […]
Joint law school report will be discussed at a lunchtime forum today at UCLA Law
California is among the world’s leaders in deploying renewable energy, with the state on pace to meet its target of achieving 33% of its energy from renewable sources like the sun and the wind by 2020. But the success may ironically be contributing to a stalled in-state market for more renewable power. Given the amount […]
I’ve spent a lot of time and energy talking about the need to adapt to climate change, but I’ve also become increasingly uneasy about “adaptation” as a way to think about the situation. One of the things I don’t like about the term “adaptation” is that it suggests that we actually can, at some expense, […]
Low Impact Development (LID) or green infrastructure can be used to improve water quality in urban environments through the use of swales, bioretention basins, permeable pavement, and other approaches to managing stormwater. However, there can be challenges to actually putting green infrastructure in place. Max Gomberg and I recently published an Op-Ed in the San […]
EPA has issued rules that will essentially require new coal plants to use carbon capture and sequestration, a technology that has not been implemented at full scale yet. No doubt that coal industry and utilities will try to challenge the rules in court. But they probably lack standing to do so for a simple reason: […]
Private flood control is no substitute for government action.
Last week, the NY Times had a story about Verizon’s new flood barrier for its Wall Street building, which is a designated landmark. On one level, it’s a pretty cool project — a portable barrier designed to keep out the water during a hundred-year storm (plus 2-feet for storm surge plus an extra foot to […]
Congress conference committee considers Farm Bill, including numerous provisions with serious environmental consequences
Finally. There is a Farm Bill conference committee, and it began meeting last week. The Farm Bill is the vehicle for our major federal farm and food policy, including commodity subsidies, crop insurance, food assistance, and farm conservation. Congress let the 2008 Farm Bill expire on September 30, 2012, and we have been living on extensions ever since. Although the most […]
Looking at the Catalonian path to sustainability
Flying into Barcelona, it becomes immediately obvious that this is a city with its eye on a sustainable future. Right along the waterfront is a large photovoltaic array, perched on four giant supports. It is emblematic of a broader set of initiatives that, for a short time, placed Spain at the forefront of renewable energy […]
Recent Ninth Circuit Decision Likely to Spell the End of Much Citizen Suit Litigation Over Climate Change in Federal Courts
In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court’s famously ruled in Massachusetts v. USEPA that petitioners in that case had standing to sue the Environmental Protection Agency in federal court to challenge EPA’s failure to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. Observers then could have been forgiven for thinking that this ruling flung open […]