Surveying Climate Change Law


In only 25 years, a dynamic new field of law has taken root.

Climate Change Law, the first volume of Elgar’s Encyclopedia of Environmental Law has just appeared.  There are a number of excellent edited collections about aspects of climate change law. What distinguishes this one is that breadth of the coverage, including both international and domestic aspects of carbon reduction and adaptation to climate change. The book confirms how quickly climate change […]

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A Darker Shade of Green

green party

Jill Stein and her party call for a 40% cut in U.S. carbon emissions in the next four years.

Although the Green Party  doesn’t seem to be pulling a lot of voters at this point, it seems only fair to include them in the roundup of the parties’ environmental positions.  As you could infer from the name, the Green Party puts a very high priority on environmental quality. Interestingly, the current party platform is dated […]

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The Case for Farmed Fish


Aquaculture could help save wild fisheries from devastation.

It’s time to take a second look at fish farms. Environmentalists, not to mention foodies, tend to turn up their noses at fish farms.  It’s true that badly managed fish farms can be a source of water pollution and other environmental problems.  But sustainable fish farming would have major environmental benefits. To begin with, fish […]

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Reflections on the Coastal Commission’s Implosion

The Implications of the Decision to Fire Charles Lester – and the Decision Not to Explain It

As Rick Frank insightfully discussed earlier this week, the California Coastal Commission has fired its former executive director, Charles Lester. Readers interested in more background information and analysis should read Rick’s post, as well as the excellent reporting by Tony Barboza and others from the LA Times. (And anyone who wants to hear about it […]

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California Coastal Commissioners Fire Executive Director Charles Lester

Personnel Dispute is Commission’s Biggest Political Controversy in Over a Decade

Following months of public controversy and a marathon 10 1/2 hour hearing Wednesday in Morro Bay, a closely-divided California Coastal Commission voted to fire its Executive Director, Charles Lester.  The Commission vote to remove Lester was 7-5. Lester, who as Executive Director has led the Commission staff for the past 4 1/2 years, is the […]

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Top 10 Environmental News Stories of 2015

Paris fireworks

More goods than bad, but some of each.

Here are the top ten stories, at least as I see them: A Warming World. 2015 will almost certainly be the warmest year on record. This is one more confirmation of recent studies indicating that either there was no climate hiatus or it has ended. Saving Wetlands and Water Bodies. EPA and the Army Corp […]

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Attack of the Killer Blob


A weird patch of warm weather is killing sea lions and poisoning crabs.

There’s a weird area of warm water, which has come to be known as the Blob, sitting offshore of the West Coast.  That doesn’t sound too significant, except perhaps in terms of making things more pleasant for swimmers.  But actually, it’s causing a whole cascade of impacts on wildlife and humans. As the Chronicle explains: “The […]

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Saving California’s Beaches

Isla Vista

New expert report offers recommendations for shoreline armoring management

As California’s beach goers and residents well know, erosion and climate change are already impacting the California coastline. Eighty percent of California’s coast is actively eroding, and the latest science projects that sea levels may rise up to 5 additional feet along much of the coast by the end of this century. Higher sea levels […]

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Legal Responses to the Santa Barbara Refugio Oil Spill


Exploring potential penalties and damages

Last Tuesday, a 24-inch underground oil pipeline on the beautiful Santa Barbara County coastline burst for reasons as of yet unknown. Over the course of several hours, an estimated 101,000 gallons of crude oil spilled down a storm drain, on the shoreline, and into the Pacific Ocean. As of late last week, oil had spread […]

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Tracking Coastal Adaptation


Implementing CA’s Innovative Sea Level Rise Planning Database

Higher sea levels are already affecting California’s 3400 miles of coastline, millions of coastal residents, economy, buildings, and critical infrastructure. Yet, oddly enough for a state that is a worldwide leader in climate change mitigation, California has only recently begun to focus seriously on sea level rise adaptation. Recent reports have cited a lack of preparedness […]

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