Politics

Is Texas Cleaning Up Its Act?

renewables in texas

Carbon emissions are set in decline in Texas, with less coal and more renewables.

At a national meeting of state utility regulators, the head of the group recently said that the Clean Power Plan was basically dead, BUT this might not matter because “arguably, you’re seeing market-based decarbonization” due to technological changes.  Case in point: Texas. Market trends are pushing Republican-stronghold Texas toward a cleaner grid. ERCOT, which operates nearly all […]

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If At First You’re Blocked by Congress, Try, Try Again.

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How much does the Congressional Review Act preclude follow-up regulation?

Most people probably never heard of the Congressional Review Act before now.  This law — “CRA” to Beltway folks — is an obscure statute — previously used only once — that allows Congress to strike down an agency rule with an expedited procedure (no filibuster). The GOP is gleefully taking advantage of its control of the […]

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Predicting How Neil Gorsuch Would Rule on Environmental Issues

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If he’s ever confirmed by the U.S. Senate

Donald Trump just announced his nomination to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.  Here are some very preliminary thoughts. Assuming Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch, is confirmed by the U.S. Senate (by no means a certainty), what do we know about how he would be likely to rule on environmental questions?  As far as I can tell, he […]

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The Dangers of the New Executive Order on “Reducing Regulation”

The Order is Designed to Prevent Federal Agencies from Protecting Health, Safety, and the Environment

Dan Farber just posted an insightful, brief analysis of the executive order “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs” that was issued this morning. As Dan notes, the order is absurd and arbitrary – but more than that, it’s extraordinary in its potential for doing harm to our country and its residents. It is meant to kneecap […]

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California’s Best Investment in the Fight Against Climate Change

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Trump is on a search-and-destroy mission against climate science & energy research. We need to fill the gap.

How can California best move the ball on the climate issue? Ann Carlson and I have just published an op. ed. in the Sacramento Bee making the case for a state climate-research fund and explaining how it could be implemented. Here’s why investing in new knowledge is such an important move for California. California can […]

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California Appellate Court Hears Arguments in Cap-and-Trade Program Challenge

California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District Courthouse, Sacramento, CA.

Court of Appeal Justices Appear Inclined to Reject Industry’s Constitutional Attack on State’s Cap-and-Trade Auction System

On Tuesday, the California Court of Appeal in Sacramento heard oral arguments in the most formidable legal challenge to the State of California’s ambitious, multifaceted efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That challenge takes the form of two cases, consolidated on appeal: California Chamber of Commerce v. California Air Resources Board and Morning Star Packing v. California Air […]

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President Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee & Murr-murs of Behind-the-Scenes Supreme Court Intrigue

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Will Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Prompt Long-Awaited Decision in Key Property Rights Case?

In his wide-ranging, long-awaited and (to put it mildly) colorful press conference last week, President Trump promised to announce his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court within two weeks of taking the oath of office.  On this pledge, at least, I believe him.  Indeed, I’ll be surprised if he waits that long. Senate Republicans refused to […]

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Scott Pruitt, Senator Harris and the California Question

Pruitthearing

California leadership in peril?

Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, elided many questions yesterday and made some somewhat surprising commitments to appease Senate Democrats in response to others (acknowledging that humans are at least partially responsible for climate change; saying he’ll use the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases).  But his response to […]

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Willful Ignorance

Vaccination

As with climate science, Trump is in denial about public health issues.

Anti-vaxxers are a lot like the climate denial crowd, but with two differences. First, there hasn’t been any corporate money fomenting skepticism about vaccines, unlike climate denial. Second, anti-vaxxers are sprinkled across the ideological spectrum. Still, the similarities between these two forms of anti-scientism are greater. One big similarity: both anti-science views have the support […]

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The Owls in the Vineyard

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It’s smart to take precautions against climate change. More can be done, even in the Trump era.

At night, you can hear the hooting of owls in the vineyard.   The owners have deployed owls and falcons to control the pests that threaten the Kendall Jackson vineyards due to milder winters.  But birds of prey aren’t the only things flying above the vineyard.  There are also drones, which are used to observe small differences […]

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