Regulatory Policy

Can We Trust the Science? The Challenge of Irreproducible Results

In the peer review process, articles submitted to scientific journals are sent to experts in the field who then assess the methodology, results and conclusions. Based on their feedback, authors often revise and re-submit, publishing an improved article as a result. Peer reviewers rarely attempt the actual experiments described in the paper.  Irreproducible results are […]

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And a Child Shall Sue Them: Ambitious New Climate Lawsuit Filed Against Obama Administration

James Hansen, former head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Will This Litigation Be More Successful Than Earlier, Related "Atmospheric Trust" Lawsuits?

Late last week, attorneys representing children from around the nation filed a provocative new lawsuit in federal court, arguing that the Obama Administration is violating the children’s constitutional rights by not taking far more dramatic steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change concerns. The newly-filed complaint in the lawsuit, Juliana ex rel. […]

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CA Supreme Court Rejects California State University’s CEQA Dodge–Again

SDSU

Justices Hold CSU Can't Pass the Buck re: Environmental Mitigation Measures Tied to Campus Expansion

In an important decision issued last week, the California Supreme Court forcefully rejected the California State University’s efforts to avoid paying for mitigation measures needed to offset the adverse environmental impacts associated with CSU’s ambitious expansion plans.  That’s welcome if predictable news from a court that has in recent years been protective of the state’s bedrock […]

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California Governor Jerry Brown: Environmental Saint or Sinner?

Gov. Brown in Rome, July 2015, Associated Press

Brown's National & International Environmental Reputation Disputed by Some California Environmentalists

California Governor Jerry Brown has had a most eventful 2015, especially when it comes to environmental policy.  He started the year fresh from an overwhelming election victory last November, earning him an unprecedented fourth term as California’s chief executive.  Brown began 2015 by declaring a state drought emergency and becoming California’s “educator-in-chief,” repeatedly warning state […]

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A Case of Reverse Causation?

CO2_smoke

Tomorrow's Emission Determine Today's Social Cost of Carbon

Here’s the weird thing: the social cost of carbon today, depends significantly on the year-by-year emissions of carbon in the future, which we obviously don’t know. (Because it depends on our own future actions!)  It takes some explanation to show why that’s true and how it matters. If you know a bit about climate policy, you know […]

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Tragedy of the Commons–California Drought-Style

Garrett_Hardin

State Farmers Planting New Almond Orchards Despite Critical Water Shortages

Traveling through California’s drought-striken San Joaquin Valley repeatedly over the past year, I’ve been surprised and disheartened to see that Valley farmers continue to convert their agricultural fields to newly-planted almond orchards.  (My anecdotal observations have been confirmed by various recent press accounts.)  This development is a striking, current example of Garrett Hardin’s Tragedy of […]

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Could a Riparian Conservation Network increase the ecological resilience of public lands?

Mississippi

A new article suggests river corridors could leverage existing policies to build habitat connectivity

As we try to protect biological diversity for the future, a perpetual challenge is ensuring that the strategies we adopt today will continue to work in the face of changing conditions. How can we design conservation approaches that will be resilient in the face of environmental challenges that will only become more severe in coming years? […]

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Michigan v. EPA: Policymaking in the Guise of Statutory Interpretation

Same to you, buddy

In Michigan v. EPA, the majority followed its own policy views, not those in the statute.

The majority opinion by Justice Scalia has gotten most of the attention.  Most notably, he wrote that “[o]ne would not say that it is even rational, never mind “appropriate”, to impose billions of dollars in economic costs for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits.”  Indeed, “[n]o regulation is ‘appropriate’ if it does significantly […]

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Saving California’s Beaches

Isla Vista

New expert report offers recommendations for shoreline armoring management

As California’s beach goers and residents well know, erosion and climate change are already impacting the California coastline. Eighty percent of California’s coast is actively eroding, and the latest science projects that sea levels may rise up to 5 additional feet along much of the coast by the end of this century. Higher sea levels […]

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Interpreting Michigan v. EPA

Four Corners Coal Plant

The opinion seems likely to have very limited repercussions.

In bringing the mercury rule to the Supreme Court, industry was hoping for a ruling that EPA had to balance costs and benefits (and could only include benefits relating to mercury).  What they got was far less than that.  Here, I’d like to address some key questions about the opinion. 1.  When does EPA have […]

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