Politics

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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The California REDD+ Experience

Aerial_view_of_the_Amazon_Rainforest

The ongoing political history of California's initiative to include jurisdictional REDD+ offsets within the cap-and-trade system

Announcing the publication of The California REDD+ Experience, a report written by UCLA’s Emmett Institute faculty and published by the Center for Global Development. Six years ago in Los Angeles, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a memorandum of understanding with Governors from Brazil and Indonesia (and also Wisconsin and Illinois), to “coordinate efforts and promote collaboration” on […]

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Reaching Across the Aisle?

Washington D.C.

The safest prediction is that our Democratic President and Republican Congress will not in fact be able to work together.  Their present gestures toward cooperation may mean nothing more than a willingness to accept the other side’s surrender.  But hope springs eternal.  Are there areas where common ground exists?  That seems nearly impossible on some […]

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Some Unsolicited Advice for Tom Steyer

There were a number of efforts by wealthy individuals and/or Super PACs to affect the midterm election results. Most relevant to this blog, Tom Steyer used tens of millions of his own funds to support candidates that he felt would be more supportive of efforts to address climate change. After the election, the media portrayed […]

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Five Governor Races to Watch

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

The Senate races are getting a lot of attention this year. But what happens in statehouses also matters. Most directly, it matters for the folks who live there. But governorships are often proving grounds for politicians who later emerge on the national scene. Today, I’ll focus on a handful of races that look like they […]

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Happy Birthday, Yosemite–and California’s State Parks System

The Core of Yosemite National Park, & California's First State Park, Were Created 150 Years Ago

2014 marks the 150th anniversary of the creation of what we now know as Yosemite National Park.  It’s also the sesquicentennial anniversary of California’s State Parks System.  The two events are, in fact, inextricably related.  And how they occurred is a noteworthy and truly inspirational story. In 1864, in the midst of the Civil War, […]

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