The news from Beijing this week that the U.S. and China are committing to ambitious goals on climate change is, we think, monumental. No two countries are more important to tackling the problem than the largest carbon emitter over the past two centuries, the U.S., and the largest current emitter, China. While many observers are […]
Most people find statistics off-putting — who wants to look at a bunch of numbers? And Statistics courses, which are required for students in many majors, are usually viewed as a painful box to check. But when you put aside the numbers and the technicalities, statisticians also have some simple yet powerful concepts. One of […]
Environmental issues have been surprisingly visible in this campaign – nearly every Senate candidate gives them prominent attention. The New York Times reports that they are also the third most common topic for political ads in this cycle. The evidence they report shows, not surprisingly, that coal and oil are big issues in key states: […]
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, […]
Some politicians encourage panic about a small outbreak in Texas, while thousands in Africa are dying.
The National Lampoon once put out a mock edition of a newspaper from the fictional city of Dacron, Ohio. There was a screaming headline reading: TWO DACRON WOMEN MISSING. A much smaller subheading read: Japan destroyed by tidal wave. We are now seeing something similar in the U.S. reaction to Ebola. So far, only three cases […]
What are the major deadlines for local groundwater management agencies, and when can—or must—state agencies act?
Many (including Legal Planet’s own Rick Frank) have examined the pros and cons of California’s new locally-focused groundwater management law. Such analyses will continue to be critically important as state and local players move forward with the nitty-gritty of actual implementation, and the legislation’s practical, on-the-ground (and under-the-ground) implications become clearer. In this post, however, my goal […]
Ebola’s natural reservoirs are animals, if only because human hosts die to too quickly. Outbreaks tend to occur in locations where changes in landscapes have brought animals and humans into closer contact. Thus, there is considerable speculation about whether ecological factors might be related to the current outbreak. (See here). At this point, at least, we […]
One company says that photovoltaics with battery storage are cost-competitive for some businesses now.
A battery company called Coda Energy says that a combination of solar photovoltaics and onsite storage can be cost-competitive with utility electric service for some larger customers. That is according to an online article on greentechgrid. Solar is still a more expensive option for power production than fuels such as natural gas, and various energy […]
Other Single-Use Shopping Bags Also Restricted Under New Law
California has become the first state in the nation to ban major retail stores from providing single-use carryout plastic bags to their customers. The new legislation similarly prohibits stores from selling or distributing recycled paper bags unless the store makes such bags available for purchase for no less than 10 cents per bag. The new law, […]
Australia — or at least Australia’s current government — downplays the danger of climate change. But, as a famous physicist once said, “reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.” Last summer in Australia (corresponding to the winter months up here) broke many, many records. it was the hottest summer on record, […]