Politics

Culture Wars at the Supreme Court

Cannon book

A new book examines the roots of judicial conflict in environmental law.

Views on environmental issues are related to broader culture differences.  According to social scientists, environmentalists tend to be egalitarian, believe in harmony with nature, and stress responsibility over autonomy.  Their opponents, who are skeptical about regulation, tend to favor traditional hierarchies, believe in human mastery of nature, and stress autonomy over responsibility. Jon Cannon’s new book, Environment […]

Continue Reading

Carbon Vouchers: A Small-Government Approach to Climate Action

How to limit climate change without giving the Feds enforcement powers or revenue.

What I’m going to sketch here isn’t a zero government approach. But the government’s role is very limited: federal agencies don’t do any enforcement and the government doesn’t touch any revenue from the scheme. So this approach deals with the concern that a carbon tax or something similar would either expand EPA’s ability to abuse […]

Continue Reading

Climate Gag Rules and the First Amendment

gag-tape-silence-censor-630

Are climate gag rules constitutional? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

There have been recent reports about state agencies that forbid employees from discussing climate change.  Since this is obviously a restriction on speech, it’s natural to wonder what the First Amendment has to say on the subject.  The answer depends in large part on the kind of employee speech at issue. Let’s being with a ban […]

Continue Reading

The Case Against Sulking

Let's Destroy the Environment!

States will only lose out if they refuse to cooperate with the Clean Power Plan.

Mitch McConnell has urged states to refuse to submit plans if the Clean Power Plan is upheld by the Court.  He has been accused of inciting lawless behavior on the part of state governments.  Let me come to his defense on this.  (How often do I get to do that??) The states are under no legal obligation […]

Continue Reading

Are California’s New Mandatory Water Restrictions an April Fool’s Day Joke?

Yippee! We win again!

It's Time to Pressure Alfalfa Growers to Stop Wasting Water

Now that Governor Brown has ordered the state’s first mandatory water restrictions, it’s important to keep one number in mind: one-sixth. That is the amount of California water that goes to one crop: alfalfa. It’s a pretty low value crop. And it is not even for human consumption directly; it is used for cattle feed. It […]

Continue Reading

Should the WTO Run International Climate Policy?

WTO Logo

William Nordhaus' New Paper Implies That It Should

Last Thursday, Ethan explained the difficulties with attempting to craft a new international climate treaty, and suggested biting off more snackable chunks to work on the problem piece-by-piece (a recommendation I have also made). Now, hot off the presses, the new American Economic Review features a lead article by William Nordhaus suggesting climate clubs as […]

Continue Reading

News from a Warming World

climate change

Coal versus wind power; China's air; poll results; Ted Cruz; arctic ice.

There’s been a lot of interesting environmental news recently, much of which seems to have gotten little notice. The topics range from U.S. wind power (growing) to U.S. coal power and Arctic sea ice (both shrinking), with a bit of Ted Cruz to spice things up. Here’s the round-up: Out with coal, in with wind. The […]

Continue Reading

Shut Up, Texas

i-messed-with-texas

Environmental Factors Smack Down Another Right-Wing Meme

If like me you are tired of Texans gloating about their supposed “miracle,” today’s post from Kevin Drum brings some good news: For years, business lobbyists complained about what they derided as “job killer” laws that drive employers out of California. Rival state governors, notably former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, made highly publicized visits to […]

Continue Reading

The Unreasonable Risk of TSCA Reform

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is no doubt generating significant conflict, including claims of undue industry influence, competing bills from prominent members of the same party, consternation among states, and divisions among health and environmental groups.  And it may also be the closest we have gotten to TSCA reform—ever.  […]

Continue Reading

Could California Supreme Court Review Of San Diego’s Transportation Plan Soon Be Moot?

Legislature may act this year to enshrine the 2050 greenhouse gas goals at issue in the case

As Rick blogged last week, the California Supreme Court on Wednesday granted review of San Diego’s weak transportation plan. I detail the history here, but basically San Diego’s regional transportation agency delivered a plan in 2011 that was supposed to comply with SB 375 (Steinberg, 2008), a landmark law linking transportation spending with long-term greenhouse […]

Continue Reading