Politics

Barry Goldwater, Environmentalist

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Goldwater was passionate about saving the planet.

Barry Goldwater’s views on the environment didn’t have much in common with those of the present-day conservatives who are his ideological descendants.  His 1970 book, The Conscience of a Majority, has half a chapter about the environment.  “Our job,” he said, “is to prevent that lush orb known as the Earth . . . from […]

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The Clean Power Plan — Low Cost, High Benefits

coal pollution image

Despite claims by industry and conservatives, the CPP's costs are completely manageable.

The Supreme Court’s stay of EPA’s Clean Power Plan was a surprise, and a questionable action on many grounds.  It now seems clear that the stay — along with much of the political fuss about the CPP — was based on very questionable economics. In terms of the stay, a team of economists at Resources […]

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Ronald Reagan – Environmentalist Governor

Ronald Reagan, courtesy National Archives

Reagan's record in California included major environmental achievements.

It may surprise you to learn this — it certainly surprised me. But Ronald Reagan has been called “the most environmental governor in California history — protecting wild rivers from dams, preserving a Sierra wilderness by blocking highway builders, creating an air resources board that led to the nation’s first auto smog controls.” This may […]

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Gaming Out Environmental Law: 2017-2019

2016 election

The heavens or the abyss? Or somewhere in between?

What happens after November? A lot depends on who’s the next President, but the congressional elections also matter. Basically, a Trump victory would mean at least a rollback of much of Obama’s environmental legacy, and perhaps passage of the current House deregulatory agenda into law. A Clinton victory would be likely to preserve or strengthen the […]

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Trump, Clinton, and the Environment

(Photos: Courtesy GOP.org, Democrats.org)

Your Handy Guide to the Differences

Here’s a handy chart comparing Trump and Clinton on environmental and energy issues. I’ve assembled the relevant statements by the candidates below the summary table. Issue Clinton  Trump Is climate change real? Yes, an urgent threat.  No, it’s a hoax. Support Clean Power Plan?  Yes.  No. Support Keystone XL pipeline?  No.  Yes. Drill in Arctic? […]

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Trump’s 2009 Call for Serious Climate Action

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No, I'm not making this up.

On the eve of the Copenhagen conference, business leaders published an open letter demanding urgent climate action. The letter was  signed by Donald Trump along with Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric.  Here’s some of the language of the letter: “We support your effort to ensure meaningful and effective measures to control climate change, an immediate […]

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Bush, Nader, and the Lost Years of Climate Policy

Nader

Actions by these two very different men set climate policy back eight years.

From 2001 to 2009, the US sat on its hands while the atmosphere filled with carbon. Much of that carbon came from the US itself, at six billion tons per year up to the 2008 crash. The story of how this came to pass is yet to be fully written. It is, in part, a […]

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This April Was the Cruelest Month (Or at Least the Hottest)

April 2016

Once again, a global temperature record is broken.

For the seventh month in a row, the average global temperature set a new monthly record going back at least 136 years.  Rutherford Hayes was President back then, the first electric street light was turned on, and Gladstone beat Disraeli.  We’ve had 24 Presidents since then.  In other words, that was a long time ago. As you […]

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The Misleading Argument Against Delegation

epa-logo

Agency rulemaking is limited in ways that are far different from legislative lawmaking.

It’s commonplace to say that agencies engage in lawmaking when they issue rules. Conservatives denounce this as a violation of the constitutional scheme; liberals celebrate it as an instrument of modern government.  Both sides agree that in reality, though not in legal form, Congress has delegated its lawmaking power to agencies.  But this is mistaking […]

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A Floor Price for Gasoline

gasprices

A floor price would encourage energy efficient cars and generate revenue.

The price of gasoline fluctuates like crazy, tracking the price of oil.  In a recent blog post and an earlier paper, my colleagues at the business school have put forward a really innovative proposal: a minimum price for gasoline.  When oil costs go below a certain level, gas prices would stay stuck at that point. […]

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