Politics

Referendum Politics: California’s Pioneering Plastic Bag Ban on Hold

Plastic bag ban

Out-of-State Bag Manufacturers Succeed in Qualifying Referendum Measure for 2016 Ballot

California’s recently-legislated ban on disposable plastic bans–the first in the nation–will not take effect on July 1, 2015 as the new law mandates.  That’s because industry opponents of the legislation have  qualified for the November 2016 election a referendum measure that seeks to repeal the new law. Last fall I wrote on this site about […]

Continue Reading

‘The Centers Cannot Hold’ . . . At Least, Not in North Carolina

North Carolina logo

Attack on academic freedom? Or misunderstood management effort?

Both the NY Times and the Washington Post have reported on a recommendation that the North Carolina Board of Governors close several university centers. [Update: the recommendations were adopted by the Board a week later.] There are strong allegations that this is part of a conservative attack on the university system. There are certainly grounds to suspect […]

Continue Reading

Tea Party Support for Cutting Greenhouse Gases?

Capitol + smokestack

Surprising New Poll Results

The NY Times reports some very interesting poll results regarding climate change. The poll shows that Americans are more likely to support a candidate who favors action on climate change, less likely to favor a candidate who takes the “I am not a scientist” line, and much less likely to favor one who calls climate […]

Continue Reading

Celebrating Four Decades of Energy Innovation: The California Energy Commission at 40

How California & the Commission Launched Their Acclaimed Energy Policy--& the Challenges That Lie Ahead

This month marks the 40th anniversary of California’s landmark Warren-Alquist Act, which created the state Energy Commission and triggered a transformation of energy policy in California, across the U.S., and abroad. This week an impressive group of energy policymakers, political leaders, energy scholars and Energy Commission alumni gathered at events in Sacramento and at the U.C. Davis […]

Continue Reading

Public Opinion and Energy Politics

support for alternative energy graph

Pew published some intriguing polling results on energy issues just before Christmas. Americans have clearly noticed falling prices at the gas pump, but only half realize that U.S. oil and gas production has soared.  So far, the changes haven’t affected policy views: a large majority favors expanding use of alternative energy, but solid majorities continue […]

Continue Reading

California Finally Breaks Ground On High Speed Rail Today

cahsr2

Six years and many lawsuits and political compromises after voters approved it

It’s been over six years since California voters approved a bond measure to fund a two-hour-and-forty-minute Los Angeles to San Francisco high speed rail system. Today groundbreaking finally takes place in Fresno. In the intervening six years, lawsuits and political compromises have delayed the system and likely made the timetables promised to voters impossible to […]

Continue Reading

Governor Brown Calls For California To Achieve 50% Renewables By 2030

AP Photo by Rich Pedroncelli

Inaugural address has specifics for climate and energy policies

Jerry Brown was inaugurated today for his record fourth term as governor of California, and his address offered refreshing specifics on his environmental and climate goals: In fact, we are well on our way to meeting our AB 32 goal of reducing carbon pollution and limiting the emissions of heat-trapping gases to 431 million tons […]

Continue Reading

Looking Back at COP20: How Should We Feel?

COP20 welcome reception, Lima, Peru.

The Lima Accord lets countries name their own price to address climate change. But that doesn't mean it failed.

As you’ve probably heard by now, this year’s UN climate change conference has produced an agreement, the “Lima Accord.” The Accord invites each of the nearly 200 negotiating countries to develop an “intended nationally determined contribution” (INDC) to reduce its GHG emissions. INDCs represent some step forward from each country–in the words of the Accord, “a progression […]

Continue Reading

Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Job-Killing Regulations

Sherlock Holmes

“When the prospective client arrives, Watson, you’ll find that he’s a politician, that his electoral base is devoted to Fox News, and that he gets campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies.” “Zounds, man, how could you possibly know that?” “A calculated risk,” Holmes said.  “His joke about climate change told me his political views, his […]

Continue Reading

The Disturbing Legal Influence of the Fossil Fuel Industry

scales of justice

Coal and oil have found legal spokesmen in state houses and law schools.

The NY Times has a disturbing story this morning about the secret alliance between some state attorney generals and the fossil fuel industry.  Perhaps the most shocking is an example in which the Attorney General of Oklahoma had a draft by a coal company retyped on letterhead and submitted as his own opinion.  The industry […]

Continue Reading